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Disciplining a child with a bleeding disorder is essentially no different than disciplining a child without a bleeding disorder. Discipline is a process of working with children so they understand the limits that are set for them and the consequences that evolve from exceeding those limits.

A parent's responsibility is to set up and maintain what is expected of their child and what behavior is acceptable. When your child exceeds those acceptable limits you need to have an established punishment in place. Reprimand right away so that your child knows what behavior is unacceptable. Do not use physical punishment, as that may cause a bleed. Other punishments are just as effective, such as a time out or withholding privileges. Don't forget to reward good behavior, as well. Rewards are a very successful form of maintaining discipline.

Here are some dos and don'ts when disciplining a child with a bleeding disorder:

  • Never punish your child for having a bleed!
  • Praise your child when he or she reports a bleed.
  • Stress that having a bleeding disorder and needing treatment is not a punishment.
  • Openly discuss risky behavior and activities.
    • Talk about ways to stop these behaviors and ways to decrease the negative consequences if he or she wishes to continue to try those activities, including following rules you have put in place for safety.

The Discipline Dilemma

  • Consistent reinforcement of a behavior increases it. Showing appreciation for a child taking care of his/her own needs increases the likelihood that the child will continue the behavior, creating a positive move towards independence.
  • When you consistently take away an important privilege for breaking a rule, the rule breaking decreases.
  • Children model their behavior on what they see and will imitate and repeat what they see you and other family members do.
  • Shift your focus on increasing good and healthy behavior; show approval for good behavior.
  • Do not spank your child! Studies show that children who were spanked regularly were more likely to cheat, lie, be disobedient at school, have lower self-esteem, and have a higher incidence of depression overtime.
  • Do not discipline children with bleeding disorders any differently than their sibling(s).
  • Be consistent and remember to be patient.