What are some effective alternatives to punishment?

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Answered by: Amy, An Expert in the Discipline and Behavior Category
Are you searching for effective alternatives to punishment? While spanking has been used for many years, there is concern now that it teaches violence.

Spanking is a method of punishment that has been used by many for years. However, it is being questioned now. People are beginning to wonder if spanking children teaches them to be violent, especially when parents teach children not to be violent. So how does spanking (hitting) teach children not to hit others? Does that not confuse the child? Especially with younger children that may not be able to differentiate the difference.

Before beginning to punish your child, it is important to know why they are misbehaving. Sometimes children act out for specific reasons, like to get attention. In their heads, getting any attention, even if negative is good. A lot of times children act out just to get their parents' attention. So it is vital that a child is always told and shown how much they are loved. Effective alternatives to punishment include knowing why your child is acting out by talking to them and discussing their feelings. Getting to the root of the problem can eliminate bad behavior.

There are many different ways to deal with punishing a child. One method is by putting a child in time out, giving them time to think about what they did. When their time out is over, discuss why they were placed in time out and what can be done next time instead of the bad behavior they exhibited. Another alternative is to give the child choices, which will help the child feel that they are important. Feeling unimportant can cause a child to misbehave.

It is important when speaking to your children that you do not yell. Breathe and count to ten before approaching your child to deal with the bad behavior. It is important to be calm, this also ensures that you do not belittle them, which can happen when you are upset. Talk it over with the child, issue a warning and let them know that if the behavior happens again then privileges will be lost.

Punishment can be dependent on the child's age and what the behavior is that is warranting punishment. For example, a two year old's temper tantrum may just require turning a deaf ear, while a thirteen year old missing curfew would require taking privileges for a week. Younger children can be put in a time out chair for the number of minutes equal to their age. Older children can lose television, phone and internet privileges.

Raising children is the greatest joy, but children can test your limits. Trying other effective alternatives to punishment can make your bond with your children stronger. Sometimes it takes patience and counting to ten before you approach your child to initiate the discipline. This is vital, as you never want to discipline while you are angry. Otherwise, your discipline techniques may be more harsh. Remember you are the adult and you have to set the example.

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