Objective: To determine how discipline practices changed over time for young children.
Methods: A cohort of parents with young children were interviewed in clinic about a broad array of disciplinary practices at two points in time.
Results: A total of 182 parents were interviewed at Time 1, and 94 were interviewed at Time 1 and 2. Mean age of the child was 16.2 months at Time 1 and 35.8 months at Time 2. Monitoring, verbal communication, and distracting were the most common types of discipline when the children were one year old. Corporal punishment (P < 0.05), verbal communication (P < 0.001), timeout (< 0.0001), removing privileges (< 0.0001), negative demeanor (< 0.0001), and sternness (< 0.0001) increased significantly from Time 1 to Time 2. Distracting (< 0.001) decreased significantly and positive demeanor also decreased.
Conclusions: Most discipline practices increased in frequency over the 20 months of this study. The increase in parental negative demeanor seems particularly important and worthy of further study.