There are probably as many notions about disciplining a child as there are parents. Physical discipline, spanking, is still used by over 80% of parents even though there is a lot of evidence that it is not particularly effective and recent evidence that excessive physical discipline actually leads to behavioral problems over time. One of the major problems with physical discipline is that it is often done out of anger or frustration.
A major goal of parenting is to help your child learn to be a responsible and caring adult. Discipline, then, is not done because the parent is annoyed or angry, but is done to promote better behavior, more responsible behavior. There is never anything wrong in showing emotion and showing that you are upset but the actual consequences for the wrongful behavior or action should be done to teach and not only to punish.
If discipline is seen as teaching the reality that there are always consequences to our actions, then there is the hope that the child will learn new internal ways to cope with his or her world. There are both natural consequences of our actions and logical consequences.
Natural consequences are the ways that our society deals with undesirable actions. If we as adults are always late for work we will be reprimanded or fired; if we are nasty to others, we won't have many friends. Such could be the case with our children also. If a child or teen is never up on time and the parent has push and prod and then drive the child to school because the school bus was missed--what was the lesson learned? If the child had to deal with the principle each time and let the school set the consequences, then the child does learn a lesson. Otherwise the parent is just enabling the bad behavior.
Logical consequences are parsed out based on the issue. Rather than time in the room or toys taken away or being grounded, the consequences relate directly to the actual behavior. Thus a teen who never puts gas in the car doesn;t get to drive; the child who never feeds the animals when it is clearly his responsibility, doesn't get to eat until the animals are fed; a child who acts out everytime they are brought to the supermarket doesn't go to the supermarket the next one or two times.
These sorts of consequences should be done showing respect and love for the child but concern for the behavior. The consequences should be given out with firmness but also with kindness. Less talk and more action is usually a good idea. Threats that never pan out only promote the behavior by rewarding the bad behavior with more attention by the parent.
It is always better if both parents agree to the parenting approach and support each other. Children always know how to get what they want or need. And lastly, parenting should be fun. If you dread the day or fear for the next explosion then you are walking on eggshells. There are better ways.
Last thoughts- it is never too early to try to let your child to think through the consequences. For young children , give them two or three alternatives , all of which you support, and let them choose. Ask older children and teens what they think the consequence should be. Often you will be surprised that their answer is more stringent than what you would have offered.