Through positive modeling and discipline adults teach children how to become well-adjusted members of society. When children are treated with respect and are able to have some control, they learn to respect and listen to their parents.
Spanking continues to be used as a form of discipline because many parents believe spanking will stop misbehavior quickly. While spanking may relieve a parent’s frustration momentarily, research has shown that parents who spank their children teach them that aggression and violence are acceptable ways to solve problems. Research shows that children who are spanked tend to experience more depression, low self-esteem, and accept lower paying jobs as adults.
Young children are not able to understand consequences and danger:
- Set up a safe space to reduce the number of times you need to say No.
- Childproof your home.
- Put all potential hazards, such as cleaning supplies and breakables out of reach.
- When danger is present, grab the child’s hand instead of slapping.
Tips to teach through discipline:
If you become angry and feel like spanking or slapping your child, step away. Calm down and get quiet. Give yourself time to think of alternatives to the problem. If you can’t leave the situation, mentally step back and count to ten. Being mindful when parenting is important to getting the outcome you want.
Be firm but kind
Sometimes parents become frustrated when their children do not mind after repeated requests. Instead of resorting to spanking to get compliance, try this:
- Get down to your child’s level.
- Make eye contact and touch him gently.
- Explain in a kind but firm manner exactly what you would like him to do.
If a child is displaying inapproptriate behavior, redirect to a postive activity. For example, give them a toy or book that is allowable.
- Children as young as one year old can benefit from a time out. Time-outs are a good tool for young children to learn to calm down and reflect on their behavior.
- Time-ins emphasize the opportunity to take time to calm down, connect with an adult and address whatever behavior change needs to be made.
- Either way, make sure the tool is effective in reducing the problematic behavior.
Giving choices is an effective alternative to spanking. Example: “You may either turn the TV down or play outside. It’s your choice.”
Consequences that relate to the behavior help to teach responsibility. Example: “I can’t vacuum your room if toys laying on the floor. Either pick them up or I’ll put them in bags for a week..” As you can see, logical consequences places the responsibility for the behavior on the child and gives them the opportunity to decide what their consequence will be.
As your child gets older provide opportunities for make-ups
Instead of punishing children when they break agreements, give them opportunities to strengthen integrity and show good will. Example: Your son has a curfew of 9:30 and he doesn’t get home until 10:00. Rather than grounding him, discuss the importance of keeping his word. The purpose is to encourage him to make responsible choices, not force him into submission. Suggest he come up with ways to regain your trust by putting the responsibility back on him. This way the child helps decide his own consequence, so in effect he’s learning to be responsible for his own actions. This is one of the greatest skills a parent can teach his child. Example: doing yard work or cleaning out the garage. If the misbehavior is repeated, then grounding the child is an effective punishment.