One of the hardest tasks stay at home parents have is to be the disciplinarian to their children. This is because children usually see the stay home parent as the nurturer, while the parent who works outside of the home is often tasked with the role of disciplinarian. With the increase in the number of stay at home dads, the role of nurturer and disciplinarian is also reversing, but there is a lack of information on how SAHDs can make the transition from disciplinarian, when they worked outside of the home to nurturer a smooth one. This article will provide some tips on how a stay at home dad can discipline the children, yet still be the nurturer.

Shifting Role of Disciplinarian

In the traditional American home for the last half century, the mother was the stay at home parent while the father worked outside the home, and was the primary income earner. This role has been shifting slowly since 2001, when only 1.6% of homes had a stay at home father, while the mom worked outside of the home. By 2012 the number of stay at home dads had jumped to 3.4% of American homes, due to economic issues, women outpacing men in salary and more men finding work from home careers. Various discussions about the roles of a stay at home dad was largely ignored by the media until 2005, when more dads became the stay at home parent, due primarily to corporate layoffs. Yet even today, most of the articles around discipline and nurturing are still written for the female perspective as a stay at home mom, and don't address this increasing role being levied on stay at home dads.

This is critically important since men and women are wired differently, and address the same issue of out of control child differently. Without guidance in parenting magazines or blogs, stay at home dads are left to fend for themselves in this territory.

Discipline Issues

Every parent knows that disciplining the children when they misbehave is part of the job, but so being the nurturer.

Here are the lessons I learned as a Stay at Home Dad:

1. Don't lose control and get angry. I will be the first to admit this is sometimes still a hard one for me, but I have noticed a big difference in my children's behavior when I don't get angry and yell rather than when I do. When I keep calm, they see that they can't get the upper hand in the situation and begin to stop misbehaving. When I get angry and yell, things just deteriorate into screaming, yelling, fighting and crying. This ends taking so much longer and harder to diffuse the situation.

2. Stick with the punishment you say will happen if the bad behavior doesn't stop. I you waffle or don't follow through, then they know your threats of punishment are worthless. Also, don't give a punishment one time, and then give in the next time they act out. This will only confuse them, and make them push you more to see if you will actually follow through with the threat.

3. If I feel myself losing control, I walk out the room. I do some deep breathing techniques to regain my composure. Then I walk back in to the room, briefly explain what they did wrong, what my expectations are and walk out.

4. A funny lesson I learned that drives the kids crazy at first, but it really works. As they are yelling, screaming or being defiant, I just keep repeating "I love you." When they say Stop it...I just respond with "I love you." The screams of Stop it will get louder for a few times, but as I keep just repeating "I Love You," they usually just start laughing. This is where I regain control, they now hear me and I give my expectation in a calm voice and walk out.


As you continue to practice these techniques when your kids start misbehaving or are being defiant, you will start to see the triggers that the kids are starting to misbehave and you can calmly use one of the techniques to defuse the situation. As long as you keep your composure, are consistent in explaining your expectation and doling out an age-appropriate punishment for the issue, over time your kids will respect your role as both the nurturing stay-at home-dad (SAHD) and the one who lays down the law, nor just your spouce.

Author's Bio: 

Ken Weiss is a blogger and has been a Stay at Home Dad of two girls for over 5 years. Ken started a cooking blog for stay at home dads called that offers product reviews, recipes, articles to help new SAHDs around the kitchen, and stay at home dad advice.