So you find your defiant child cursing or yelling at you regularly and you quickly realize that you’ve got to understand how to discipline your child before things get any worse. Is there a solution to your problem? Let me help you with that.

I’ve spent many years understanding both parent and child behaviors to see how each interact with each other. The key to applying appropriate discipline is using consequences and using them effectively.

Many parents assume that they can change child behavior with strict punishment. And when that doesn’t work, punish them even more. But that risks the child becoming resentful and even worse.

Applying discipline through consequences to change your child’s behavior is the best solution. How does this work? A consequence is something that the child knows will happen if they behave in a certain way. As opposed to a punishment that might be randomly given, a consequence is a predetermined result of his actions.

Let’s use the example of your kid cursing at you when you ask him to take the garbage out. The consequence of this and any cursing would be that he needs to spend some quality time with himself alone in his bedroom thinking about his actions. It’s not a punishment because he knew what would happen beforehand.

I’ve created a video that explains how to use consequences the right way. It will show you the most important step in getting your child back on track.

That may sound strange, but cursing is a learned behavior. Maybe your son saw a friend cursing which got him to the front of the line. Or maybe your son was angry when someone tripped him and cursing got him an apology. In either case, the situation was resolved successfully in his favor.

And once he saw how his actions worked for him, he probably tried it other times, again with good results for himself. So now he has added another weapon in his arsenal of behaviors and you find your kid curses at you. You’ve got to take action before you find yourself with a bully on your hands.

Anthony Kane, MD is a physician, an international lecturer, and director of special education. He is the author of a book, numerous articles, and a number of online programs dealing with ADHD treatment, ODD, child behavior issues, and education.