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Forget all the "new-age" parenting advice and go with the tried-and-true discipline techniques.
Up to 2 years: Your child is still learning your language. This means that he or she might not understand what you are saying or comprehend that there will be a consequence. The best discipline at this age is to say, "NO!" in a firm voice with a frown on your face and remove the child from the situation, or redirect him to something more appropriate.
2-3 years: By this time your child shoud understand what you are saying, however he will exercise his independence by choosing not to obey. If you ignore this behavior, you can expect your child to continue to obey only when he feels like it or only if you will reward him in some way. You must be consistent in your response. When he chooses not to obey, you can try putting him in time-out or sending him to his room for 2-3 minutes. For more serious infractions, he may need a small spank on his bare bottom. Always hug him afterwards and explain the reason for the spanking. Never spank in anger.
3-4 years: You can continue to use time-outs and spanking for this age, but now you may also include removing privileges (no TV, iPad, etc.) or sending him to bed early.
4-5 years: Removing privileges, early bedtime, and adding extra chores can be an effective discipine at this age. Save spankings as a last resort for the most serious of infractions (lying, disrespect, defiance).