Tuesday, October 16

The Alternatives to Spanking: A Synopsis of Child Discipline

by Adriana Blake

What alternatives are there to spanking? 

Doling out natural consequences is optimal. Cause and effect!

When my two year-old flung a chicken drumstick over his head in a restaurant, he received a stern reprimand and was taken to apologize to the woman it landed on. I could have apologized for him, but what would that teach him?

Time-outs, one minute per year of age are effective. The timer should restart if the child gets up. It should be in a consistent place, where there’s no opportunity to play or watch television. Time-outs are also very helpful to parents, to avoid lashing out when they feel anger building. 

Grounding is a time-honored tradition for older children. It restricts the child’s activities for a reasonable time, relative to the offense and the child’s age. Pick a few things the child values to curtail, for example:

  • television
  • video games
  • a planned fun outing

Keep in mind that taking everything away is punitive and will breed more difficulties than it solves.  

Restriction can be used with younger children, too. With a five year-old, you might take away a beloved activity for a day, for a three year-old, a few hours.  Withholding privileges is similar but more limited. If a child acts up in a store, and a treat was scheduled, the treat should be withheld if a warning about the impending loss was first given, and the child persisted anyhow.  

Fairness should be the litmus test. 

Guest Blogger Adriana Blake is the author of the children's book Benjamin Bear's Naughtiest Night Ever. To learn more of her parenting tips visit her website or follow her on Twitter at @Adriana_Blake.

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