Some people choose to spank their kids and some don’t. My husband and I don’t, but we also make it a point not to judge others when they make the decision to spank their own children – provided they are not physically abusing their children in a way that exceeds a gentle swat on the bottom. We take the American Academy of Pediatrician’s viewpoint on spanking, which is that it isn’t worth it. Here are three really great alternatives to spanking for those of you who decide to take a different approach to parenting.
Redirecting your children means removing them from one poor behavioral setting to a more appropriate one. For example, say your child is drawing on the table in her room and you want her to stop. Instead of telling her to stop, put a positive spin on it by offering her a coloring book or paper and letting her know that while you love her love of art, she is only allowed to color in a coloring book or on a piece of paper. This lets her know her behavior is unacceptable without making her feel as if she is being punished.
One thing that works really well, particularly with older children who understand, is the loss of a privilege. If you make it a point to tell your children what type of behavior you expect and let them know that not behaving the way they are required will result in the loss of their favorite toy/game/book/activity/play date at a friend’s house, they’re more likely to behave. Additionally, losing something they really love is going to give them the knowledge that you mean business, which might make them think twice in the future.
Sometimes you don’t even need to discipline your kids for their poor behavior because their poor behavior disciplines them for you. For example, if your kids insist on leaving her snack within reach of her younger sibling despite the fact that you’ve asked her repeatedly not to, she’ll learn through experience when he grabs it and spills it or finishes eating it that not listening to your rules comes with consequences.