8 Things To Do instead of Spanking Your Child

man standing beside his wife teaching their child how to ride bicycle
Photo by Agung Pandit Wiguna on Pexels.com

 

 

 

family sitting on grass near building

Spanking as a form of discipline has been shown to  teach and perpetuate violence,  rather than helping children to make better choices.  Children who are spanked are also more likely  to  have low self-esteem, depression, substance abuse and incarceration.  Contrary to the belief of many people, spanking your child will not keep them out of jail and most people who are in prison have been physically disciplined.

I’ve complied 8 suggestions which hopefully will be helpful to parents who want to learn ways to discipline without physical punishment

1 – Get Calm

First, if you feel angry and out of control and you want to spank or slap your child, try to leave the situation.  . Calm down and get quiet. In that quiet time you will often find an alternative or solution to the problem. Sometimes parents lose it because they are under a lot of stress. Dinner is boiling over, the kids are fighting, the phone is ringing and your child drops the can of peas and you lose it. If you can’t leave the situation, then try to step back and count to ten.

2 – Take Time for Yourself

Parents are more prone to use spanking when they haven’t had any time to themselves and they feel depleted and hurried.  It is important for parents to take some time for themselves.  Some examples of things to do would be taking a walk, reading or exercising..

3 – Be Kind but Firm

Another frustrating situation where parents tend to spank is when your child hasn’t listened to your repeated requests to behave. Finally, you spank to get your child to act appropriately. Another solution in these situations is to get down on your child’s level, make eye contact, touch him gently  and tell him, in a short, kind but firm phrase, what it is you want him to do. For example, “I want you to play quietly.”

4 – Give Choices

Giving your child a choice is an effective alternative to spanking. If she is playing with her food at the table ask, Would you like to stop playing with your food or would you like to leave the table?” If the child continues to play with her food, you use kind but firm action by helping her down from the table. Then tell her that she can return to the table when she is ready to eat her food without playing in it.

5 – Use Logical Consequences

Consequences  that are logically related to the behavior help teach children responsibility. For example, your child breaks a neighbor’s window and you punish him by spanking him. What does he learn about the situation? He may learn to never do that again, but he also learns that he needs to hide his mistakes, blame it on someone else, lie, or simply not get caught. He may decide that he is bad or feel anger and revenge toward the parent who spanked him. When you spank a child, he may behave because he is afraid to get hit again. However, do you want your child to behave because he is afraid of you or because he respects you?

Compare that situation to a child who breaks a neighbor’s window and his parent says, “I see you’ve broken the window, what will you do to repair it?” using a kind but firm tone of voice. The child decides to mow the neighbor’s lawn and wash his car several times to repay the cost of breaking the window. What does the child learn in this situation? That mistakes are an inevitable part of life and it isn’t so important that he made the mistake but that he takes responsibility to repair the mistake. The focus is taken off the mistake and put on taking responsibility for repairing it. The child feels no anger or revenge toward his parent. And most importantly the child’s self-esteem is not damaged.

6 – Withdraw from Conflict

Children who talk  back to  parents may provoke a parent to want to hit them. In this situation, it is best if you withdraw from the situation immediately. Do not leave the room in anger. Calmly say, “I’ll be in the next room when you want to talk more respectfully.”

7 – Use kind but firm action

Instead of  hitting an infant’s hand or bottom when she touches something she isn’t supposed to, kindly but firmly pick her up and take her to the next room. Offer her a toy or another item to distract her and say, “You can try again later.” You may have to take her out several times if she is persistent.

8 – Inform Children Ahead of Time

A child’s temper tantrum can easily set a parent off. Children frequently throw tantrums when they feel uninformed or powerless in a situation. Instead of telling your child he has to leave his friend’s house right before you have to leave, tell him that you will be leaving in five minutes. This allows the child to complete what he was in the process of doing.

Aggression is a form of perpetuating violence in society. A

form of this is spanking because it takes it’s toll on a child’s self-esteem, this often causes the child to be rebellious and uncooperative. Consider for a moment the vision of a family that knows how to win cooperation and creatively solve their problems without using force or violence. The alternatives are limitless and the results are calmer parents and happier more well adjusted children.

Talking About Hate and Violence With Your Children

 

 

photo of boy hugging his mom
Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

It seems like on an almost daily basis a new major  tragic event takes place in the world.  Remember children are aware of what is happening in the world around them, parents shouldn’t assume that children are unaffected by global events. When frightening and violent incidents occur, such as school shootings, both children and adults may experience a range of emotions including fear, confusion, sadness and anger.

To counteract fear and give reassurance, parents, teachers and day care providers can provide opportunities for children to express how they feel and channel their feelings into positive actions.

. Prepare

In order to provide the reassurance and guidance children need, adults should first come to terms with their own feelings. Explore and discuss with other adults your own feelings and perceptions. You should also  recognize that your past experiences may influence how you look at current situations.

Be Alert

Be alert to signs of upset in children. These signs may include withdrawal, lack of interest, acting out, fear of school or other activities, or anything that is different  from the child’s usual behavior.

Listen

  • Listen carefully in order to learn what  your children know and are thinking.
  • Treat all children’s questions with respect and seriousness; do not ignore or dismiss children.
  • Clarify children’s questions so that you can understand what is being asked, what has led to the question and how much information a child wants. A child who asks: “Why were those people  attacked?”  may be asking, “Could I or someone I love be hurt in an attack?” A good way to clarify what a child wants to know is to repeat the question to the child; for example, “You’ve been thinking about what happened to those people and why they were attacked? In this way a child can say, “Yes, that is what I’ve been thinking,” or can correct what you said in order to redirect the conversation to something he or she wants to discuss.
  • Sometimes, without repeating the exact words, it is helpful to reflect what you think a child is feeling, as a way of giving a child the opportunity to confirm that you have understood, or to clarify. For example, you can say: “It sounds as if you’re afraid that something like this might happen again.”

Reassure

  • Review the facts of what actually happened.
  • Reassure children in age-appropriate ways that they are safe. When talking to toddlers, responses can be simple and direct: “I love you and I will always do everything I can to make you safe.”
  • Let children know that many people and organizations are working to make us safe.
  • Reassure children that while there are people who do things that are hard to understand,  the vast majority of the time, we are safe.

Be Honest

  • Answer questions as clearly and honestly as you can, using developmentally appropriate language and definitions. If you don’t know the answer to a child’s question, say so and make a plan to try to find out.
  • Correct yourself if you give incomplete or inaccurate information. Don’t be afraid of making a mistake; when we admit our mistakes, adults model for children how to admit their own mistakes. Be direct about acknowledging mistakes and avoid defensiveness; say, “I made a mistake.”
  • Acknowledge that there are people who hate other people, and that hateful actions can be threatening.

Share Your Perceptions

  • Share your perceptions and feelings but try to avoid conveying hopelessness. Without diminishing the seriousness of a situation, it is important to keep perspective and convey it to children.
  • Avoid giving young children more specific detail than necessary. Be careful not to frighten children. Limit children’s exposure to media coverage of violent events.

Take Action

  • Children need to know that people are not powerless in the face of hate; there are many things children and adults can do.
  • Have regular discussions about ways people can address hate. Brainstorm ways to address these concerns at home, in school and in the community. Examples include speaking out against name-calling, making friends with people who are different from you, learning about many cultural groups and exploring ways to increase intergroup understanding. Discuss specific steps to make these things happen.
  • Help children understand that if hateful words go unchallenged, they can escalate to acts of physical violence. Discuss how hate behaviors usually begin with unkind words. Discuss and practice ways children can challenge name-calling and bullying. Even preschool children can learn to say, “Don’t call him that; that’s not his name!” or “Don’t call her that; she doesn’t like that!” or “Don’t call me that; it’s not fair!”
  • Help children understand that sometimes it might not be safe for them to intervene; teach children to seek adult assistance when someone is being harassed or bullied.
  • Help your children feel good about themselves so that they learn to see themselves as people who can contribute to creating a better world.

Talking About Race With Your Children

On August 11,  White nationalists marched on the campus of the University of Virginia in protest of the removal of a Confederate statue of Robert E. Lee.  This led to violence and the death of a young woman and also a resurgence of discussing race relations in the United States.

Some people say  that “racism doesn’t exists anymore” or “All Lives Matter” however continued evidence is provided to show that this is a myth.    Segregation is technically over however our society continues to have overt and covert examples of discrimination and racism.  I have recently witnessed some disturbing comments and views from people who are therapists about race, racism and discrimination which has shown me that we have a very long way to go.  For most parents in particular Black parents, this brings concerns about the safety of their family and when should they  have a conversation about racial differences and discrimination..

For most parents of color, talking about race is a natural progression of being a parent  in America.  These conversations are often difficult for both the parent and the child.  It’s important to discuss the differences in racial identity with your children and do not fall into the belief that “we don’t see color ” or “we’re all the same”.  These statements are not helpful or factual.  We all see color and we’re not all the same.    It’s important for  parents to discuss with their children that they need to treat others with respect and also explain to their children about racism and discrimination.  Parents of color should also discuss with their children how to react in racist situations or when confronted with micro aggressions.  Speaking about race with our children has many positive effects such as children are more respectful of other racial and ethnic groups and they will recognize and respond to racism and discrimination.  When talking to your children, it’s important to recognize your own views on racial issues and also be ready to manage your emotions in order to help your child.  It is also helpful to share your experiences with racial discrimination and prejudice.    While this is a difficult topic, it is very important that we discuss it with our children.