University of Illinois Extension

Discipline: It's Only as Good as Your Relationship

Angela Reinhart, Family Life Educator

Discipline is only as good as the relationship upon which it is based. A strong, secure attachment is the foundation upon which the house of discipline is built. Many kinds of nurturing practices can help you build a nurturing and loving relationship with your grandchild. A few basic practices include:

  • listening to and talking with your grandchild
  • reading to your grandchild
  • playing with your grandchild
  • keeping your grandchild safe
  • making nutritious meals for your grandchild
  • respecting your grandchild
  • being patient with your grandchild
  • teaching your grandchild new skills and information
  • demonstrating interest in your grandchild's activities and work

When grandchildren love and respect you, they want to be like you and behave in ways that will make you proud. On the other hand, if grandchildren are angry and feel abandoned or rejected by you, they will want to retaliate against you and defy you.

Be an intentional grandparent, one who considers why the children act as they do. Then, act upon their behavior instead of reacting.

For tips on teaching grandchildren good behavior, see Teaching Your Children Good Behavior.