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How To Apply Discipline Techniques While Not at Home


We are putting into practice a number of parenting techniques mentioned on this site. And overall things are working well when we are in the home. How do I use the "three strikes" method with "kick out of the garden" when we are away from home? For example: traveling in the car for long period, in a shopping center, at a friend's or family's house? In these environments, we don't always have a way to quickly address the behavior issue as we can at home and we feel we are failing. The behaviors we are trying to change are obeying the first time we say something and respecting other people's bodies. Any advice? Our son is almost 5 years old.


Hello dear mom and thank you for your question,

It is nice to hear that you want your child to listen to you. That is exactly what we must expect from our little ones.

In order to have your child listen to you the first time you say something is to use “The Alpha Speech” according to John Rosemond. You do not ask your child to do something, but you tell him what has to be done. Instead of saying: “Can you stop playing so roughly?” you say, “I want you to stop doing that!”

Bad behavior always has to be addressed, even when traveling in the car for long period, in a shopping center, or at a friend's or family's house. As your child is almost 5, he has already developed long term memory, so the consequences for bad behavior can be delivered later on. When you leave home, to go to the mall, for instance, talk to your son saying: “I want you to listen to me the first time I talk to you.” He will probably not.

When you come back home you have a second talk: “As you did not listen to me the first time I talked to you, you got three strikes!” He will be very surprised and he will tell you this is not fair, but you are going to keep it and apply the consequences for 3 strikes. I suggest you go to the mall one day only for that purpose so you can take each step very calmly and confidently. The calmer you are, the more he believes you do not doubt what you are doing. Just remember one thing: no second chances!

For long rides in the car, for instance, you can give him 3 tickets made out of construction paper. Tell him in a few words which behavior is not acceptable in the car and every time he cannot control himself, he gives you back a ticket. When he has no more tickets, there comes the consequence. You can be really creative about that.

John Rosemond tells us he did it once with his children while going to the beach and the consequence for not having at least one ticket would be not getting into the ocean on the first day. He says that when each child had only one ticket left you would not tell there were children in the car! I highly recommend you read “The Well Behaved Child – discipline that really works” by John Rosemond. It would be life-changing for you.

Hang in There!
Denise Rohrer
Certified Leadership Parenting Coach

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