Apr 2, 2019

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Feb 5, 2018
*NEW* Child Care Change Report form now available on our website.
Oct 13, 2017
The Family and Individual Services Unit has been renamed Public Assistance in order to be more aligned with the services provided to the public
Aug 21, 2017

Kenynia Howard was indicted by a Sandusky County Grand Jury and pled guilty to theft and Medicaid eligibility fraud.           

Jul 22, 2015

The Sandusky County Department of Job and Family Services along with the eight counties listed below implemented a call center know as COLLABOR8. These nine (9) JFS Departments share a telephone and imaging system between counties to service public assistance consumers.

Nov 7, 2012
Child Support Web Portal Now Available

Disciplining Your Child

Being able to effectively discipline your child in a positive way is an extremely important skill for all parents. There are a variety of techniques that parents can choose from when disciplining their child. Sandusky County Children Services offers the following suggestions for your use with the understanding that not all suggestions are appropriate for your family and some suggestions may work better than others with your child. Be patient if the first time you use one of the suggestions it does not work out the way you want. Trying different techniques will help you to learn what is most effective with your child and will hopefully make your family closer.

It is also very important to remember that the occurrence of undesired behavior can be decreased by encouraging good behavior. That is to say, recognizing and rewarding children when they do behave in the desired manner. However, when discipline is necessary, please keep the following in mind:

  • Never use any of these suggestions in excess. Always try the least severe first.
  • Be consistent and follow through on what you say. Don't tell the child they can't watch TV because they haven't finished their homework and then give in when they start whining.
  • The consequences should be natural (if your child throws a toy, they can't play with it) and logical (if they break a window, they must pay for it to be fixed).
  • Make discipline appropriate to your child's age and developmental level.
  • Be fair. Don't ground your child for 3 weeks because they didn't put their dirty clothes in the hamper.
  • Lastly, try to delegate the discipline as soon as possible after the inappropriate behavior occurs. However, take the time first to calm down and think about which form of discipline is best for that situation.

Here are some specific techniques you can use depending on the age and developmental level of your child.

Newborns (approximately 0-6 months)
Children of this young age should never be disciplined. When they cry or become agitated, they are expressing, in the only way they can, a "need" for something. They may be hungry, need a diaper change or just want to be held. The parent should respond by giving the child what they need. Responding immediately to your newborn's needs will not result in a spoiled child.

Infants (approximately 6-12 months)
At this stage, children are becoming more aware of their surrounding and will soon have the mobility to explore. They don't, however, understand safety issues or the possible frustration their curiosity causes the parent. Therefore, close supervision, distracting the infant from whatever has caught their attention or removing the object completely are the most effective ways to keep them safe. As the child develops and begins to comprehend more, the parent may need to begin to use other forms of positive and loving discipline.

Toddlers (approximately 12-36 months)
From about 12-18 months, toddlers can follow very simple instructions. They are beginning to understand the meaning of the word "no", but do not have the ability to understand which behaviors will illicit that response. Most children will begin walking during this time so constant supervision is required.

From about 18-24 months, your child will, for the most part, still be unable to remember rules even though their understanding of "good" versus "bad" behaviors is developing. They are beginning to have a greater appreciation for what is expected of them. They are not always able to control their impulses, and therefore, still need constant supervision and limit setting. Distracting your child or removing the object of their fascination are still very effective forms of discipline for the 12-24 month old age group. Furthermore, as they get older, constant reminders of your expectations in very simple terms can be helpful.

From about 2-3 years old, your child's understanding of appropriate behavior has grown. They are still not always able to control their impulses, but are more aware of your expectations for them. At this stage, they are able to accept suggestions and can follow simple directions. Effective discipline techniques for a child in this stage include taking away a favorite toy or activity and time outs. If time outs are used, it is recommended that the child be given one minute for each year of life (three minutes of time out for a three year old child). Furthermore, there should be a specific place (chair in living room, child's bed) that the child knows they must go to and sit quietly when the time out is utilized. You can use a kitchen timer to track the length of the time out. This technique allows both the parent and the child time to calm down and think about what has happened. Please note that a child should never be made to stand or sit in uncomfortable positions or be required to hold heavy objects when using this technique.

Preschoolers (approximately 3-5 years)
During this stage, your child is able to understand and obey simple rules most of the time. They have also further progressed in their understanding of "right" and "wrong" and should be better able to control impulses. Children in this age group like to make decisions and begin taking more risks. Effective discipline techniques for these children include taking away a favorite toy or activity and time outs. Also, since these children like to have some control and understand consequences better, explaining your expectations to them and what will happen if they misbehave can also work (if you sit quietly in the grocery cart, you can pick out your favorite cereal.) For the older children in this group, instructing them to complete a simple specific task as punishment (pick up the toys in their bedroom) may also be effective.

School Age Children (approximately 6-11 years)
Children from 6-8 years old are able to distinguish between "right" and "wrong" much more distinctly. However, they do have a difficult time seeing anything in between. They very much want to do the right thing and strive to please their parent(s). Their ability to problem solve is also progressing during this stage. As these children should be better able to understand and remember rules, it is appropriate, at this time, to have the expectation that these children will control their impulses more consistently.

From about 9-11 years old, children enjoy planning and organizing activities and are much more goal oriented. They have a fairly sound understanding of "right" and "wrong," but still do not fully understand the complex concept of a "middle ground." They very often have wonderful intentions, but may not always be capable of following through.

Planning ahead is very effective with school age children due to their increased emotional and intellectual abilities. Their ability to control impulses and understand consequences allows for them to be able to agree to specific desired behaviors and comprehend what will occur if they don't live up to their end of the deal. Also, you should continue to use logical and natural consequences like taking away a favorite toy/activity/privilege, assigning extra age appropriate chores for them to do and time outs.

Preteen/Teenager(approximately 12-17 years)
The child who is 12-14 years old has an increased ability to think abstractly. They are able to analyze different situations and often question the rules they are to follow. They understand what is expected of them, however, they may choose a different course of action.

From about 14-17 years old, your child has developed advanced reasoning skills. They are able to consider multiple options in a logical manner. The ability to use abstract thinking has continued which aids in their ability to develop their own belief system.

The important thing to remember with this age group is that you will need to "pick your battles." That doesn't mean they don't have to face consequences for misbehavior, but as they get older, they must be given more freedom. This will allow them to further develop inner controls and use all they have learned from you as they were growing up. As a parent, you must allow your child to make some "adult" mistakes while they still have a safety net to catch them. The skills they will learn from these experiences will be invaluable to them as an adult.

Effective discipline techniques for the preteen/teenager include taking away privileges (use of phone or computer), taking away specific activities they enjoy (having a friend over, using the car), or giving them extra age appropriate chores to do (wash dishes, clean bathtub, mop kitchen floor.)

Finally, remember that misbehavior is normal, can't be prevented completely and will not go away over night. However, if you are consistent over an extended period of time, you will eventually see a change in your child's behavior. Always remember that you are the adult and your child is learning from the example you set. Good luck as you try these techniques!

Physical Discipline
Although physical forms of discipline like spanking are legal, Sandusky County Children Services does not recommend that they be used for the following reasons:

  • Physical discipline often increases the child's undesired behavior.
  • Physical discipline can teach our children that violence is the way to solve their problems.
  • Physical discipline does notteach our children inner self control.
  • When physical discipline is done out of anger, revenge or while the parent is out of control, it can lead to CHILD ABUSE, which is illegal.