I am the first to admit that while I love my kids, it is not always easy to keep my cool when they misbehave. It is especially hard not to give into the temptations of raising my voice at them or give them a good smack to teach them a lesson. The argument of whether it is ever ok to smack your child as a form of discipline is an old one. Studies have found connections between spanking and development of “mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse/ dependence, and personality disorder” later on in life.
Before you give into the temptation of spanking your kids next time, give the following alternative methods a try:
Give your kid time-out
It’s an old one but promise to work wonders. When your child misbehaves, giving them time-out has been proven to be an effective way for them to cool off and learn to self reflects on bad behaviours from a young age. The key is for parents to ‘disengage’ during time-out. If parents end up spending the whole time putting their kids in and out of time-out, then it defeats the purpose.
- Give yourself time-out
At the same time, make sure you give yourself time-out to have a moment to cool off and revisit the situation at a later time when you’re feeling less frustrated – even if it’s only 5 to 10 minutes. Sometimes all it takes is a short trip to the kitchen to make yourself a cup of tea or coffee to help you cool off. A good alternative is to go to a different environment with your child. Sometimes being in a different environment can help to ease the tension - try something relaxing such as playtime in parks for kids.
- Give choices instead of threats
When your kid misbehaves, give them choices as to how they can correct the situation. When my children refuse to help clear the table after family dinner, I give them the options to either help clear the table or help with another household duty later on. By giving your kids options, they will feel less threatened to get things done and feel that they get to contribute to the end decision.
- Help them to get started
I’m sure you’ve been in the situation where you’ve asked your kid to do something repeatedly without getting a positive response. Before you know it, you find your blood boiling and the urge to start yelling and screaming. Next time, try to offer them a helping hand towards a solution, for example: “Mommy will help you pack up this pile of toys and you can start with that pile over there, ok?”
- Try varying techniques
If you find yourself repetitively nagging your kids about the same things, perhaps it is time to try different methods that could be more effective. If your kid always struggle getting up on time for school, try making dinner time earlier and restrict TV time after dinner so that they could get their homework done faster and go to bed earlier.
If you've been struggling to get your kids to follow rules, try engaging them in kids activities that helps to put disciplines and orders into their lives such as music activities, joining a team sports such as soccer or joining the community scout.
- Use kind but firm actions
Most of the time, you’ll find that by simply using firm words and gestures when addressing your child would be enough to get their attention and listen to you. Look your child firmly in the eyes and tell them, “I don’t want you to do that again. It is unacceptable behaviour”. Repeat the message if necessary to get your point across. Most of the time, you’ll find that by simply using firm words and gestures when addressing your child would be enough to get their attention and listen to you. Look your child firmly in the eyes and tell them, “I don’t want you to do that again. It is unacceptable behaviour”. Repeat the message if necessary to get your point across.
- Be persistent about not spanking your child
Lastly, if you’re used to raising your voice and spanking your child, no-spank techniques can take time to get used to. You may even notice a worsening of bahviour before it gets better. This is normal as your children are trying to test whether you’ll spank them or not. Provided you discipline them in some other appropriate way, their behaviour will improve over time.
I know it is not always easy to keep a calm, cool face in front of cranky, misbehaving kids but resisting to spank will provide us with more long-term, positive results rather than a short-term solution. Don’t forget to visit our kids activities directory for fun kids activities suggestions.
Virginia is a busy working mother to two energetic school-aged children. With the help of her supportive husband, Virginia successfully juggles the dual roles of career woman and loving mother. Virginia is particularly passionate about health and fitness, and is always looking for new ways to keep her children happy, healthy and active. Virginia lives in Joburg and is a veteran blogger of almost 5 years.