Studies show spanking can be harmful to kids. Check out these five punishment alternatives.Ask many people from the older (and often wiser) generation of their attitude towards spanking, and many of them will champion it. "Spanking never did me any harm!" they may proclaim, and they may be right. However, physical discipline can easily turn into abuse, and the effects it can have on a child are vast, varied and can be extremely damaging. Not to mention the fact that it does not always work, either. Also Read: Do You Practice Enmeshed Parenting?
The truth is, there is no perfect way to parent, and often, methods of discipline will be based heavily on a parent's past experiences with discipline themselves, particularly when they were children. There are alternative ways to discipline a child, with some being more popular than others, that do not require physical harm:
1. Time Out. This is a very common method used, designed to allow the child time to think about his/her actions. Placing your child in an area away from distraction can calm them down and, regarding you don't send them away for too long, it can be a very effective form of punishment.
2. Grounding. Particularly used on older children, limiting a child's free time as punishment is a great way to teach them that there are responsibilities for bad behavior that will negatively affect them. This will help decrease the chance of the child misbehaving a second time.
3. Education. A great technique for older children who have a better understanding of the world, disciplining your child with education can be a powerful deterrent for bad behavior. For example, if your child has been drinking alcohol, a visit to an AA meeting can be just what is needed to show the child the dire consequences that could be in store for him/her if their habit gets out of control. Also Read: 10 Parenting Secrets To Empower Kids
4. Confiscating precious items. A tired father who had previously used spanking as his only form of punishment, grew so tired of his children damaging furniture and ruining expensive things that he marched into his son's room, took his favorite toy and smashed it to pieces. His son could not stop crying, and after that day, he never ruined any house furniture again. Though extreme and quite aggressive, this proved to be a powerful way of teaching the child the value of other's people's property. Instead of damaging your child's belongings, simply confiscating them as punishment can teach a child respect.
5. Cause and Effect. A child deliberately spills their cup of juice. Your motherly instinct tells you to sigh, moan and refill it. Stop right there. Often, it can be a good lesson to teach your child about the effects of such an action. If they deliberately spill their drink, don't refill it when they ask for a drink. Teach them that when something is empty, it can't always be refilled easily. This should teach them the value of finite resources. Also Read: Anxious Parenting: Are You Guilty Of It?
Discipline and punishment should always be varied according to the 'crime' in question, but often, the best form of discipline is making your child understand the gravity of their error. Communicate with them in such a way that they will not want to repeat that behavior again. And remember: make sure you behave the way you want your children to behave.
Written by Natasha Ngonyama for YourTango.com.
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