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How to Discipline Your Child Without Yelling or Spanking

spanking-childMany desperate parents resort to yelling or spanking to control their children’s unruly behavior. However, Barbara Unell and Jerry Wyckoff, Ph.D., authors of “Discipline without Shouting or Spanking,” say that these forms of discipline can reinforce the kind of behavior parents seek to correct. Shouting or smacking reflects a lack of control and teaches children that aggression is an appropriate means of expressing frustration. Parents should remember that discipline isn’t to merely punish but to teach children appropriate behavior. Effective discipline begins with acting in a manner consistent with the values you want to impart.

Step 1

Set clear rules. Give your child a fair opportunity to follow your rules by stating the rules clearly and making sure that your child understands them. Be sure to explain to your child why these rules are important. You may find that you have less need for discipline when your child understands why certain behaviors are appropriate or inappropriate.

Inform child of consequences of misbehavior. Your child also should understand what happens if he breaks your rules. This way, he will learn that his choices and actions bring consequences. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) notes that consequences should be reasonable and relate to the rule that is broken. For example, if the rule is “no television before finishing your homework,” the consequence of a child for an infraction might be a 1-day suspension of television privileges. You should calmly and clearly state the consequences for misbehavior before an infraction occurs. The AACAP suggests that when children are old enough, you can decide on the consequences for inappropriate behavior–or rewards for good behavior–together.

Step 3

Enforce consequences immediately. When a child doesn’t follow the rules, you should enforce the consequences immediately. If there is too much of a lag time between the act and the consequence, children will fail to associate the consequence with the misbehavior. Moreover, if you wait to execute the consequences, you may be more likely to lose your temper and be tempted to yell and spank if the infraction occurs a second time.

Step 4

Be consistent. Once you set these rules and consequences, be consistent in enforcing them. HealthyPlace.com advises parents not to be swayed by crying or pleading on the child’s part when an infraction occurs. Inconsistent behavior on your part will simply confuse the child or she won’t take the rules seriously. When she has no doubt that you will enforce the consequences, she will be more likely to follow the rules.

Step 5

Praise good behavior. Kids should be praised, thanked or otherwise encouraged for good behavior. Unell and Dr. Wyckoff say that you should praise the child’s behavior more than the child himself. For example, you might say, “That’s really great that you finished your homework before turning on the television. Good job.” This type of encouragement is a positive way of restating the rule and reminding children of your expectations for them.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com

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Smart ways to discipline your child at every age

The boring old ways do not work on our kids anymore. Training and disciplining your kid is more challenging than ever, and special tactics are needed at every age. Read on for unique ways to putting your defiant little one in his place.

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It was impossible to think about your precious newborn ever turning into a sassy, defiant toddler, but we all know it happens-even to the sweetest, most congenial children. Hey-we all have our off days, right?

When your toddler begins this type of behavior, you may as well resign yourself that you are in for these episodes every now and again until they reach the age of… being out on their own. And then they still won’t listen to you all the time (take it from a mom who knows). Don’t despair, though. There are effective and age-appropriate ways to handle their misbehavior in such a way that they will think twice before repeating the offence. Okay, so maybe it will take a third, fourth or fifth ‘think’ before they catch on. The point is that they do eventually catch on… as long as you handle their discipline/punishment appropriately.

Toddlers

First of all, a baby under the age of 10-12 months should never be disciplined beyond the repeated ‘no’ and slap on the hands to teach them the necessity of not touching breakables, things that can burn or harm them in other ways and not putting things in their mouth that could possibly choke them or be poisonous.

Once they reach that toddler stage, however, you will need to be prepared to discipline your child. You need to remember, though, that a toddler’s defiance is usually the result of another problem. They may be scared, ill or simply not understand what is expected of them. They may also feel overwhelmed at their surroundings. And then, yes, there are those who are simply testing their boundaries because that’ what they feel needs to be done.

For whatever reason, the first step toward discipline needs to be deflection. Try to deflect them away from the situation by drawing their attention to something positive. This will work much of the time, but when it doesn’t try one of the following:

  • Remove the toddler from the situation
  • Gently, but firmly holding them on your lap; speaking to them calmly, reassuringly but firmly stating what is expected of them
  • Short periods of ‘time out’-one minute for every year old they are
  • Taking away the item (toy, book, etc.) that is causing the problem

Preschoolers

Once your children reach their preschool years, they are more aware of right vs. wrong and can be held accountable for their actions. Again, the discipline should be age-appropriate and fit the ‘crime’.

It is also important to remember that children this age are eager to copy your actions and will often times do things like mummy and daddy (putting on makeup, going through the tool box, cooking, mopping the floor, etc.) to be helpful (or so they think). At times like this, it is better not to discipline or punish. They honestly didn’t see any wrong-doing in their actions.

The behaviors of a preschooler that need disciplinary action include:

  • Hitting
  • Not sharing
  • Bullying
  • Lying, cheating
  • Sassing and arguing
  • Disobedience

Proper discipline for a preschooler’s misdeeds includes:

  • Talking with your child about their misdeeds; why it was wrong, what they need to do to make retribution and not repeating the offense
  • Time out
  • Removing your child from the situation
  • Withholding a favorite toy, television time or another privilege for their misbehavior

Elementary aged children

  • Elementary aged children are at an age when they are beginning to think for themselves more and more. And with this thinking for themselves comes a fight for independence.

It’s important to allow them a certain amount of independence, but at the same time, you need to teach independence within boundaries and with respect for those boundaries and authority. This is done by allowing them to spread their wings a bit via overnights with friends, earning an allowance and allowing them to spend part of it as they choose, making choices in regards to what they wear, what activities they participate in (within reason) and to pursue a hobby of their choosing.

When your child does act out, however, the appropriate disciplinary measures include:

  • Loss of privileges
  • An act of kindness for every act of unkindness or disrespect
  • Additional chores
  • Verbally expressing their acknowledgement of their wrong doing and asking forgiveness

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Older Children

As your children grow and mature, their need and desire for independence, expressing their own thoughts, feelings and discovering who they are is both natural and important. But this time of discovery, like every other phase of their life, needs to be handled with lots of firm but gentle love and care.

It is important that you allow your children to grow their own passions and interests, that they are allowed to grow and mature at their own pace-as long as it is within the boundaries and expectations of your household.

If they do-no, when they do need discipline, the most acceptable forms of discipline include:

  • Loss of privileges
  • Loss of allowance
  • Extra household chores
  • An act of kindness for every act of unkindness
  • Loss of items that are near and dear to them; IPOD, computer, etc.

Remember what discipline is

Discipline is meant to teach appropriate behaviour and to instill the fact that for every action there is a consequence. Discipline is not meant to humiliate, cause pain nor is it to be used as ‘payback’. In other words, discipline in firm and gentle love and with the intention of teaching your child how life is to be lived rather than using it as a control mechanism.