If you are one of my regular readers you know that I am working to end physical punishment of children in Canada. I am clear that hitting is assault, spanking is hitting, therefore, spanking is assault.
Often when I am speaking with parents they will agree with me that children do not ever need to be hit. They agree that discipline, not punishment is the answer but will then describe a discipline technique which is not the answer. I have written a lot about discipline and punishment and positive discipline methods. But today I want us to look at some non-violent discipline methods that are not effective.
Negative Discipline Methods – An Overview
Time Out has become a mainstay of child discipline. And it has its place when a child needs to sit quietly with you and calm down but when it is a threat, “You settle down or I am going to send you to time-out” it is simply a way of punishing the child. Read more about effective and ineffective time-out here:
Yelling is another method although I would guess that no-one would purposefully list this as a healthy choice. But we do it. The kids are driving us nuts, the noise level is rising and we find ourselves yelling at them. Two points I will make about this. When the kids noise level is rising the most effective way to get their attention is to speak in your regular voice and soon they will quieten down to hear what you’re saying. On the other hand, it is sometimes appropriate to raise your voice. For example, your child kicks you in the shin. If you say in a calm and quiet voice, “that hurts” your words and the reality are not in sync. If it hurts, you say, “Hey, that really hurts!” in an appropriately loud voice. If you’re hurt or angry, sound hurt or angry or else it’s just plain confusing.
Counting to Three is not as popular as it once was because it is so ineffective. When we count to three our children quickly learn that they can do anything they want the first two times because nothing is going to happen. They learn to ignore their parents until they are ready to do something which is when they reach three. When a child breaks a known rule, parents need to act immediately. Parents who count often first remind, talk, request and then start counting. But if a child knows that as soon as they break the rule, there will be a consequence, they will learn to behave.
Bribery is sometimes a quick and easy way to get short-term compliance particularly when you are out in public. But it is never a positive discipline strategy. It teaches your kids they don’t behave well because it’s the right thing to but because they get a reward. As they get older, bribed kids simply ask for bigger gifts for the simple act of following rules and behaving in a civil manner.
Depriving a child of something they love is often mentioned. We take away their favourite toy or activity. This is based on the belief that if we make them suffer, they will shape up. And they might, but not because it’s the right thing but because they want their lap-top back. And it we can’t come up with something they want more than they want to misbehave it is ineffective.
These are only some of the more typical mistakes I hear from parents working to raise healthy, happy and successful children. Remember, discipline is about teaching, guiding and training. When we discipline children, we are teaching them the difference between right and wrong. We’re helping them to learn about the consequences of their actions.
Digital Books Make Parenting Information More Accessible.
My parenting books will help you develop a positive and effective parenting plan. Two books started as print versions but the third is only digital. The first two are now also in digital format.
For busy parents, digital is often much more convenient. You can pull out your phone on transit, in a waiting room or while holding a sleeping baby.
When we are raising children, we know that we need to give them roots and wings. Then we need to consider their particular and unique temperament.
Who’s in Charge Anyway? talks about roots. It provides a clear road map for parent to focus on the tough but rewarding job of raising children to be responsible, self-disciplined adults. But Nobody Told Me I’d Ever Have to Leave Home talks about raising children to become capable young men and women. And Vive la Differénce looks at different temperaments of children and what that means for child raising.
All three are readily available on my website.
How Can I Bring Kathy to My Community?
I offer keynotes and workshops, have written books and have ongoing newspaper columns, books, blogs and newsletters.
And, no matter what the actual topic, they all share a basic value that I call:
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
I look forward to working with you for your professional development, workplace wellness or parenting education event.