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Alternatives to Spanking?

Posted by on Dec. 13, 2016 at 3:18 AM
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Change the Environment

Before your kid messes with the liquor cabinet, lock the door. If the kids are tussling over a toy, take the toy. Many times, changing the surroundings will change behavior. It’ll also squelch the need for more serious punishment.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Bring toys if you’re going somewhere your small child may act out. Take a snack if you think hunger may make him cranky. If sleepiness might bring trouble, think about a nap before you head out. It’s always better to nip the bad behavior before it happens than to try to deal with it in the moment.

Lay Down the Law

You have to have rules. The more everyone understands them -- and what happens if they aren’t followed -- the better off the family will be. Flexibility is OK, especially with older kids. But reasonable rules -- and punishments -- are needed. Think about posting rules and their consequences somewhere in the house. It’ll help with consistency.

Be Consistent

If house rules say that your kids must wash their hands before dinner, make sure it’s done every time. Rules don’t work if they’re selectively enforced. Kids need to know that they aren’t changing -- and the consequences of not following them aren’t either.

Truth in Consequences

Everyone needs to know bad behavior comes with consequences. Whether it’s no TV, no cellphone, or more yard work, kids need to know that breaking the rules has a cost. You don’t need to hammer on it. Let the punishments show them. Be firm -- and consistent.

Turn a Deaf Ear

Yes, ignoring bad behavior is an option to spanking. It can work very well, especially with younger kids. With kids craving attention, sometimes no action is the best action. If a hissy fit does no harm -- if it’s just annoying -- some selective deafness can say, “Hey. That’s not gonna work.”

Give Them a Time-out

It’s a useful, effective tool. A good rule is a minute for each year of your child’s age. He or she should keep quiet in a corner or chair. Don’t interact with the kid while he’s in the pokey. That’s a big part of the punishment. When it’s over, other than maybe an apology from the child, that’s it. Don’t bring it up again.

Take Your Own Time-out

If you’re about to blow your top, don’t. Hand off to another adult. Call a friend. Count to 10. Take a bath. Take enough time to get calm so you know what to do next time. Humor can break the tension, too.

Look Over There!

A good way to set a misbehaving kid straight is to turn his attention. He wants a toy someone else has? Look at this cool toy! If he’s grabbing or hitting, it might take a trip outside or to another room.

Be the Bigger Person

When the kids act out, it’s up to you to be the adult. That means control the urge to hit. Be calm. Be cool. Avoid the lifelong problems spanking can bring your child by staying under control.

Be Compassionate

A Stanford study showed that middle school teachers who took an “empathetic mind-set” toward wayward students gave half as many suspensions as those who didn’t. That can work at home, too. Talk to your misbehaving kid calmly, clearly, and with understanding.

Give ‘Em a Hug

Kids misbehave. They’re kids. And good parents discipline them for it. But the give-and-take doesn’t have to be negative. Use it as a teaching moment to promote good behavior. After all is said and done, a little hug shows kids they’re still loved.

Make Sure You’re Understood

When you’re disciplining, be clear. Look your child in the eye. Be calm and measured. Tell the kid what to do (“Eat your spinach”) not what NOT to do (“Don’t play with your spinach”). If they still misbehave, explain the consequences. Follow through swiftly and consistently, too.

It’s OK to Negotiate

Especially with older children, being flexible enough to negotiate discipline and punishments can help everyone. Involving kids in making decisions adds to their moral judgment. It won’t work with an angry toddler, though.

by on Dec. 13, 2016 at 3:18 AM
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by Silver Member on Dec. 13, 2016 at 7:27 AM
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I totally agree with every single point made in this original post.  I use it daily and it works - often!

by Bronze Member on Dec. 13, 2016 at 10:49 AM

I never spanked an Elementary school child by the time they reach school age in my opinion they're too old any longer and consequences work far better. 

by on Dec. 13, 2016 at 11:34 AM

This is great. Spanking really should be a last resort. I really like "time in" as well. When I find one of my children acting out, it is usually because they need attention, they need to be heard. So I practice "time in" by putting down whatever I am doing, sitting down with them with a smile on my face and really listening well to what they have to say. 

They should never be allowed to have "bad behavior" but so often it is more complicated that we think at first.

Thanks for the tips!

by Silver Member on Dec. 15, 2016 at 7:43 AM
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Here are some more good alternatives to spanking.

by Member on Dec. 15, 2016 at 8:14 AM
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I found the book, "Magic 1-2-3" to be an effective resource. Consistency is key!

by Silver Member on Dec. 15, 2016 at 9:20 AM

1-2-3 Magic is very good.  I have been using it for three or four years now.  I don't follow it exactly, but the process made me aware of the decision making process for children and it gave me the awareness to make sure my girls understood what behaviour is acceptable and clear rewards and consequences for their decisions, all the while giving them opportunities to reflect on where they are heading.

Quoting Calamity4e:

I found the book, "Magic 1-2-3" to be an effective resource. Consistency is key!

by Member on Dec. 15, 2016 at 5:40 PM
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Those are all great. I've never hit any of my kids, and can't imagine ever doing so, for any reason.
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