Alternatives to Spanking, Part 2
Experts at The University of Texas (Austin) and the University of Michigan looked at five decades of research on spanking. They looked at research that defined spanking as “an open-handed hit on the behind or extremities” and excluded harsher forms of discipline in an effort to “weed out” abuse. The findings suggested “the more children are spanked, the more likely they are to defy their parents and to experience increased anti-social behavior, aggression, mental health problems, and cognitive difficulties.” (Read more @ The Strong Evidence Against Spanking, Spanking & Child Development, Risks of Harm from Spanking). These studies do not say spanking causes these negative outcomes, but spanking is strongly associated with these negative outcomes. Even so, these studies do suggest that spanking does not have the intended results of improved behavior. If spanking is ineffective, how can a parent promote positive behavior? I’m glad you asked. Here are a baker’s dozen of ideas you can use. Part 1 offered an initial baker’s dozen; read Alternatives to Spanking, Part 1. Try them out. I think you’ll like them.
- Of course, rules are important in discipline. They help define expectations and provide safety. However, too many rules can backfire. Read Family Rules: The Guardrails of Safety for 5 tips of creating effective family rules. While you’re at it, check out Because I Said So to learn the importance of have an age appropriate explanation for the rules as well. And, How to Raise Happy, Wealthy, & Moral Children will explain the dangers of too many or harsh rules.
- Parents will have to tell their children “no.” In fact, telling our children “no” will benefit them for a lifetime. But how can we say it and make it stick? Prelude, Fugue, & Variation in “NO!” will provide you some ideas.
- Psychologists describe a particularly effective type of parenting called “inductive parenting.” Read Dunkin’ Donuts & a Better Behaved Child for a great example of this style of parenting. And, 3 Steps To Teach Children to Behave describes a similar process, step by step.
- Effective discipline requires a parent look beyond the misbehavior to address the motivation of the misbehavior, the why of misbehavior. Why Do Children Misbehave describes 4 reasons children might misbehave and how to respond to each. Misbehavior: A Call for Love explains a few other reasons a child might misbehave and how to respond.
- Parents who discipline effectively don’t get caught up in their own emotions and feelings about their children’s behavior. But, they do use their feelings to better understand the behavior and to know the best way to respond to that behavior. Read A Back Door To Your Child’s Heart to learn more.
- Parents who discipline effectively also understand that a child’s development can impact their behavior. A toddler behaves differently than a teen, for instance. Here’s an example of development in My Daughter Saved Mr. Potato Head that can help you think about how discipline will be different for a child depending on their developmental level. Think Like a Child to Discipline Well will add to your knowledge about development, thinking, and discipline.
- One of the goals of discipline is for our children to internalize appropriate values so they can make wise decisions independently. Help Your Child Internalize Great Values gives 4 Do’s and 4 Don’ts to help to your child internalize positive values.
- Time out has become a popular discipline tool. Unfortunately, it is often misused and becomes ineffective as a result. Discipline with Time Out or Tune In redefines time out as tuning in and suggests 7 steps to make work.
- Of course, praise can be a great tool in discipline…or a real disaster. Learn how praise can undermine your discipline in The Dark Side of Praise and How to Ruin Your Child with Praise. Then read 4 Simple Guidelines for Praising Your Child to learn how you can use praise to discipline effectively.
- Parents do not discipline well by bailing their children out of troubles…or by pouncing on them for misbehavior. Instead, we need to let them suffer the consequences of their misbehavior. Doing so demands that parents respect their child and practice self-control. Read Parents, Do You Bail, Pounce, or Let ’em Suffer to learn more.
- Parents who discipline effectively have learned the art of allowing “natural consequences” and giving “logical consequences.” Read Fix It, Clean It, Replace It, or Lose It to discover how this art can help you discipline well.
- You can encourage positive behaviors and positive growth in your children (and isn’t that what we really want) by taking verbal snapshots of various moments in their life. Verbal snapshots are powerful. Read about them in Taking Verbal Snapshots of Our Children’s Lives.
- I saved it for last, but it’s really the first step in effective discipline. Improve your relationship with your children’s other parent. Read the First Step in Effective Discipline to learn how important this is.