** this post is not intended to pass judgment on any parent who may resort to spanking. This is a list of alternatives to spanking, for everyone’s consideration.
The discipline without hitting thing is hard for some parents believe it or not (no judgment). It is especially hard if there’s history of growing up in a household where only one method of discipline was honored- a method usually involving corporal punishment.
For many parents, spanking may feel like the easiest and most effective way to discipline their children. Though it may work in the short term, it can have negative effects on children in the long term. Spankings/”ass whoopings” don’t correct much really, and it doesn’t stop children from doing the next thing, the next thing, AND THE NEXT THING.
MY VERY, VERY HUMBLE OPINION: I believe spanking is about the supposed loss of control if anything. It angers us when our children misbehave. Its even worse in public, when total strangers stare, shaking their heads as if we don’t know how to keep things under control or properly raise our own children. It leaves us with feelings of inadequacy and well, embarrassment. In that instance, we may feel like our only resort is to spank.
Let’s explore some alternatives to spanking so that the go to method isn’t always violence:
Alternatives to Spanking
1. TIME OUT
Time out is an effective form of discipline that gives children time on their own to calm themselves down. Many parenting experts say the amount of time a child is spend in time out should correspond with their age. e.g. 2 years old for 2 minutes, 3 years old for 3 minutes and so on.
2. THE “TAKE AWAY”
You can practice the “take away” system. It works by taking away a privilege (television, video games, favorite toy, etc.) when they misbehave. Let them know why their privilege is being taken away and for how long.
3. DON’T SWEAT IT
The small stuff that is. When it comes to attention seeking behavior such as whining or complaining, try not to give it your attention. You can pretend you don’t hear it until they settle down and are able to express themselves clearly.
4. WRITTEN/VERBAL REFLECTION
I actually started implementing this recently. I have my daughter Lei reflect (written or verbally) whenever her behavior isn’t the best. It allows for her to think about what she did, why she did it, and express how she’s feeling. We then have a discussion on how she can fix it next time.
5. DIRECT CONSEQUENCES
This helps your child learn from their mistakes and are usually tied to the specific behavioral problem. This also helps them see that their behaviors have consequences.
Example 1: If your child refuses to put away a certain toy, don’t let them play with it for the remainder of the day.
Example 2: If your child refuses to wear their mittens on a very chilly day, just let them step out without their mittens for a few seconds to get a little cold– they will most likely want to put on their mittens next time.
You can try pointing out when your child is doing something great, and reward them for their good behavior. The reward can be tangible or intangible, and helps them do what they’re supposed to do. Do beware, sometimes children may “do good” only for something in return so tread lightly with this one.
7. TRY NOT TO TAKE IT PERSONAL
Difficult as it may be, we must try not to view their behavior as a personal affront to us. It is natural for us to feel angry or embarrassed – especially when they work our nerves!
It helps to teach our children to problem solve and manage their feelings/emotions, so that they can better calm themselves. Spanking doesn’t provide much of an outlet for that. When we redirect, we show them something else they can do instead of the dangerous or inappropriate behavior.
9. SHOW RESPECT
We should try to refrain from consequences that involve shame or humiliation. So the “see, thats what you get” or “I told you so” is only bringing on more shame because kids may already feel bad about what they’ve done. They may not learn from the situation at all; just be focused on the shame they feel.
10. BE CONSISTENT AND PATIENT
(Something I always struggled with) Some parents may have a hard time being consistent with discipline because of guilt, self-doubt, or exhaustion. Sometimes we let our boundaries become less clear and we are seen as less of an authority. When children see this, they take note of it and TEST us to see what they can get away with.
11. PRACTICE REPETITION
I know, I know, I too am one of those, “I shouldn’t have to say it more than once” parents. When it comes to raising children, “stop”, “no”, put that down”, or “put it back” would probably become some of the most frequently used phrases of your vocabulary. We may not like it, but sometimes we must implement our rules over and over, and over, and over again.
When it comes to using alternatives to spanking, you may find the process a bit tedious at times. But remember, we must remind ourselves these are tiny individuals who are in a forever learning process.
What alternative discipline method(s) do YOU use?
Use methods not on this list? Add your alternatives to spanking below.
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