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:
- 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.