A recent study was published in the May issue of Pediatrics, that showed children who are spanked when they are 3 (or older) are more likely to be more aggressive in kindergarten and throughout life than those children who are not spanked. While many of us that are currently parents grew up getting spanked and turned out okay, a poll done on how parents feel about spanking showed that more ten 80% feel it is appropriate, the National Pediatric Association disagrees.
Personally, I think that there is a time for a child to be spanked, though it is only ever a last resort and it is in response to a child putting themselves or someone else in harm’s way. I also believe that there are better options that we as parents have to not only discipline our children but teach them as to why what they did was wrong.
Parenting Tip One: Remain Calm
If you are angry it is going to be difficult for you to remain calm to explain to your child what it is they did wrong and why they are in trouble. Believe it or not, children don’t always know or understand why they are in trouble. So you need to be calm enough to explain it to them.
Tip Two: Make Sure You Have “Me Time”
As silly as this sound, parents who don’t have the opportunity to take time for themselves tend to be quick to react to a tense situation by spanking your child. I know as a mother of 3 (ages 15 to 16 months, wife, and home based business owner) that life can sometimes get in the way of us taking time for ourselves. You don’t need a day… or even hours… one hour or 15 minutes where all you do are focus on you. Listen to music… drink a cup of coffee really slowly… take a hot shower. It will help you put things in perspective.
Tip Three: Kind… but Firm
Parents also tend to spank when their child hasn’t listened to them after repeatedly telling their child not to do a particular thing. Next time you are in this situation consider getting down to your child’s eye level, put your hand gently on his or her shoulder and tell him or her what it is you want them to do in a kind but firm tone. Look sometimes it isn’t that they aren’t listening to you, they don’t know what else to do. Dr. Michele Borba recommends teaching your child an alternative to the behavior you want them to stop.
Tip Four: Offer Choices
As I said in the above tip, sometimes it is really a matter of not knowing what else to do that lands a child in trouble and on the verge of getting a spanking. So offer them options, for example, if you are at the dinner table and your child is playing with their food you can say, “Would you like to stop playing with your food and eat dinner or would you prefer to go to bed hungry?” Empower your child to make the decision… and then explore the consequences of their choice.
Tip Five: Make Sure the Consequences are Logical
This is important if you really want to change a particular behavior and teach your child responsibility. Let’s say that your child breaks the car light on the neighbor’s car while playing baseball in the cul-de-sac… you spank him/her… exactly what is your child learning from that? I know, you are thinking that he will learn not to do it again. Yes he probably will, but he will also learn that if he doesn’t want to get hit when he makes a mistake, he needs to hide that mistake. Instead say to your child, “I see that you broke the tail light on the neighbor’s car… what are you doing to do to repair it?”
Tip Six: Make Agreements with Your Child
If you and your child have an agreement and your child breaks that agreement, give them the chance to get back in your good graces with a “make-up” instead of punishing them.
Tip Seven: Step Away from the Conflict
It is normal for a child to sass back to a certain extent. There are times though when that sass can cause you to react with a slap. Instead of engaging in the behavior by arguing with your child, turn and look at your son or daughter and say, “I will be in the next room when you are ready to talk to me respectfully… until then you can stay in your room.”
Parenting is one of the biggest challenges you will ever face, but you need to know that it is also one of the most rewarding. All parents try to do their best raising their children and sometimes we need a little help looking for better options.
Be sure to check out: 7 Strategies for Effective Time Outs
Jennifer Shakeel is a writer and former nurse with over 12 years medical experience. As a mother of two incredible children with one on the way, I am here to share with you what I have learned about parenting and the joys and changes that take place during pregnancy. Together we can laugh and cry and rejoice in the fact that we are moms!
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