More and more parents are opting to not spank their children when they are misbehaving. We agree with this decision as there are many other healthier disciplinary options to teach your child right from wrong without having to cause physical pain, as minor as it may be. Continue reading to learn how to raise well-behaved children without having to spank or hit. Sometimes, children are looking for attention and will misbehave to get it. Yes, this may not make any sense to adults, but if a child is feeling that they aren’t being given attention, they will resort to negative attention to get it. We recommend explaining to your child that you do not condone the behavior and then ignoring them for a short time while they are seeking negative attention; i.e. whining or throwing a tantrum. If your child is trying to cause harm to his or herself or someone else to get attention, of course we recommend not ignoring that behavior. If your child continues to throw a tantrum, we recommend putting him or her in a short timeout in an area of the home that they won’t be distracted by toys or other people. You can have them sit in a corner of a room on a chair or something like that. We do advise keeping the same place as the “official timeout zone” so your child knows the disciplinary action/routine when they misbehave. It’s also important to note that timeouts are best utilized when your child is causing harm to others by hitting, biting, or intentionally causing mayhem by a tantrum or another means. Timeouts are meant to help your child calm back down and relax. Ask them before the timeout is up if they have learned the lesson and ask them to apologize. Then make sure you as the parent say, “I forgive you,” to acknowledge their apology.
Correlate the Response to the Behavior
Simply put, this means temporarily taking away the privilege or fun that relates to the inappropriate behavior. If your child won’t share his or her toys or intentionally breaks or damages the toys, take away toy privileges for a few hours or for the day. If your child is arguing over what shows to watch, take away television privileges for a certain length of time. If your child makes a huge intentional mess of craft time or play time, have them clean up the mess made. Don’t extend the punishment too long or your child may forget the lesson they are meant to learn. JFH uses a one minute per age level as a guide.
- Redirect Behavior. For example, if you find your child writing on furniture or walls, explain that it’s not allowed and give them paper to show them that it’s only okay to draw and write on designated paper and such. If you catch your child cutting another child’s hair with craft scissors, explain that this is not okay and redirect them to explain that scissors are only allowed to cut paper and crafting materials.
- Use “when/then.” For example, when you clean up your mess, then you can have a snack.
- Keep organized and simple. Keep areas of the home designated for children’s play easy-to-clean and keep maintained. Store toys in baskets for easy cleanup, utilize bins for crafting to store quickly and efficiently, and provide children their own table and chairs to play and do crafting.