8 Ways to Discipline Your Child Without Spanking

Discipline strategies that are effective in managing behavior problems

Spanking is one of the most widely debated parenting topics. While most pediatricians and parenting experts don't recommend spanking, the vast majority of parents around the world report they do spank their children.

For many parents, spanking can seem like the best discipline option. And it often does work in the short-term. But, studies show corporal punishment has long-term consequences for kids.

If you're looking for alternative ways to discipline your child, here are eight effective ways to discipline kids without using physical punishment.

1
Time-Out

There are lots of ways to discipline kids without spanking them.
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If you hit your child because he becomes aggressive, it gives a mixed message. Instead of spanking, put him in time-out.

Time-out can be an excellent way to teach kids how to calm themselves down, which is a useful life skill. But in order for time-out to be effective, kids need to have plenty of positive time-in with their parents.

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2
Take Away Privileges

Although a spanking only stings for a minute or two, taking away a privilege hurts longer. Take away the TV, video games, his favorite toy or a fun activity for the day and he’ll have a reminder not to repeat that mistake.

When you take away privileges, make it clear when the privileges can be earned back. Usually, 24 hours is long enough to teach your child to learn from his mistake.

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3
Ignore Mild Misbehavior

Sometimes parents spank out of anger because they are annoyed by their child’s behavior. Ignoring can actually be more effective than spanking.

This doesn’t mean you should look the other way if your child is doing something dangerous or inappropriate. But, you can ignore  attention-seeking behavior.

When your child tries to get attention by whining or complaining, don’t give it to him. Instead, show him that polite behavior attracts your attention. 

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4
Teach New Skills

One of the main problems with spanking is that it doesn’t teach your child what to do instead. For example, if your child hits his brother and you spank him, he hasn’t learned how to resolve conflict.

Kids benefit from learning how to problem-solve, manage their emotions and compromise. When parents teach these skills it can greatly reduce behavior problems. Use discipline that is aimed at teaching, not punishing. 

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5
Logical Consequences

Logical consequences are a great way to help kids who are struggling with specific behavior problems. For example, if your child doesn’t eat his dinner, don’t let him have a bedtime snack.

Or if he refuses to pick up his trucks, don’t allow him to play with them for the rest of the day. This can help kids to understand that there is a direct link between their behavior and the consequence.

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6
Natural Consequences

Natural consequences can be an excellent teacher in certain circumstances.  For example, if your child says he's not going to wear a jacket, let him go outside and get cold (as long as it's safe to do so). 

Use natural consequences when you think your child will learn from his own mistake. It's important for you to monitor the situation to ensure that your child won't experience any real danger.

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7
Reward Systems

Instead of spanking a child for misbehavior, reward him for good behavior. For example, if your child fights with his siblings often, set up a reward system to motivate him to get along better with them.

Providing an incentive to behave can turn around misbehavior fast. Rewards help kids to focus on what they are supposed to do instead of keeping the focus on their misbehavior.

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8
Praise

Catch your child being good and you'll prevent a lot of behavior problems. For example, when he’s playing nicely with his siblings, point it out. Say, “You are doing such a good job sharing and taking turns today.”

When there are several children in the room, give the most attention and praise to the children who are following the rules and behaving well. Then, when the other child begins to behave, give him praise and attention as well.

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