How To Discipline Kids Without Shouting Or Spanking
Most parents are witness to major tantrum-throwing or bad behaviour by their kids, both at home and in public places. While such behaviour needs to be checked, how you do it is a test of your parenting skills. A lot of parents resort to yelling and even spanking their child in order to discipline them, but this may end up doing more harm than good to your child in the long run. Many studies suggest that aggressive and violent behaviour shown by adults are a direct result of having been subjected to excessive verbal and physical disciplining as a child by parents and other adults. Even in the short term, yelling or hitting your child is unlikely to get the desired results. All the same, if your child needs to be disciplined, you have to find out the right way of doing it.
Punishing the child should never be your first response. More often than not, your child will respond to a mild reprimand. Make the child sit with you and explain the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. If the child’s behaviour may result in bringing harm to them or to others, explain that as well.
You will be surprised by the lengths children will go to to grab your attention. Making faces, using bad words, creating a din, are all designed to make you stop what you are doing and spend time with them, even if it is spent scolding! The best strategy in such situations is to ignore the child’s behaviour and show interest elsewhere. Most children drop the act once they realise it’s not serving their purposes.
When being gentle fails, it’s time to do some tough talking. Your child needs to know you mean business and that you will not tolerate bad behaviour anymore. Follow the steps below:
- Make rules – Set clear rules of behaviour. Explain why a certain type of behaviour is unacceptable. Get the child to understand and agree to those rules.
- Explain consequences – Make sure your child understands the consequences of breaking a rule. The punishment should be commensurate with the rule that has been broken. Sometimes, the age old disciplining form of a time-out is sufficient to calm them down and let them indulge in introspection that leads to a heart-felt apology.
- Do not delay – As long as you are sure of being fair, enforce the pre-decided punishment without wasting time. For example, if your child regularly wastes food, you can have a rule that makes them miss out on dessert for that day, even if it’s their favourite. If you delay the punishment to another day, your child will not understand the cause and effect relationship that you are trying to establish between their behaviour and their punishment.
- Do not weaken; be consistent – A lot of parents make the mistake of making rules, defining the consequences of breaking those rules, and then not enforcing them. If your child sees you relenting a few times or delaying the punishment, they are not going to respect the rules. Also, when you follow the standard procedure for dealing with undesirable behaviour, you learn not to shout or hit your child.
- Apply positive parenting – Find reasons to praise your child, and also appreciate good behaviour. You can have an award system where the child earns stars everyday for good behaviour. These can then be converted to a small gift when a certain number of stars have been accumulated. You can use these techniques to motivate the child till good behaviour becomes the norm instead of the exception.
Next time your child gets on your nerves, try following these steps. They will save you from ruining your mood and feeling guilty afterwards.