Spanking. Is there anything more controversial these days? Spanking used to be the norm for punishing your children decades ago, and a lot of parents still do so. However, studies have shown that spanking doesn’t always work in regards to discipline and can lead to violence and depression later in life - while many others will state that they have none of these issues and were spanked as a child.
Regardless of your opinion on spanking, we can all agree that times are changing and often with it, so should we. So if you ever feel the need to hit your child, here are 12 things you can do instead
12 CALM. DOWN.
Alright, your little one is being its utmost annoying self and you’ve never thought you’d feel this kind of anger towards your child, or anyone’s child for that matter. Well, take a step back, take a big deep breath in and realize that you’ve been dealing with a small child that resembles a drunk adult for hours on end.
Pull yourself together and take a minute to reflect. You wouldn’t just scream at your boss because he pissed you off, would you? You’d excuse yourself, take a few minutes, and put yourself together, and come back professionally polished. Do the same here.
11 Take Care of Yourself
Have you ever come back home from a trip to the spa, or just spent a relaxing night of reading and wine while snuggled in your bed? And how do you feel after that? Pretty relaxed, calm and centered, right?
Nothing feels like it can affect your mood at that point and you can handle incidents in a much calmer manner than before. If you’re taking care of yourself and making sure you have time for yourself to relax and get back to who you were before becoming a mother (even if it’s just for an hour here or there), you won’t be as susceptible to getting rashly angry at your child.
Because when you relax, your frustrations, anger and all such negative emotions really just melt away!
10 Teach ‘em!
Contrary to what you believe, children aren’t stupid. They learn very quickly and can be taught so many things early on! Teaching may be a slow process in making sure that your children behave themselves, but teaching what to do and what not to do is a proactive way to stay away from punishment.
Today, they may not be old enough to understand the rules or what they’re doing, but eventually, they will learn.
9 Be Specific
Be specific in what you’re telling them to do. Instead of just yelling at them what not to do, try letting them know what they should be doing. Maybe they don’t understand why they’re being told not to do something that they've already done before.
Example: Your toddler is standing on a chair. He may have been told not to stand, but he hasn’t yet fully learned not to. Telling him to sit down instead of yelling at him to get off the chair or to stop standing on the chair will resonate clearer with your child.
Children take things very specifically and don’t yet know how to read between the lines. Being specific with your child can help them better understand what you do and do not want them to do.
8 Take it Away
If your toddler (we’ve all been there while they stare directly into your soul while simultaneously pouring out/throwing away whatever they screamed for right onto the floor) is acting up with what they wanted, take it away.
Hitting the pet? Throwing the toys? Remove pet from the situation (before they, too, get annoyed and fire back) and take away the toys.
7 Set a Precedent for Them
You know, children are like sponges. They absorb a lot of things very quickly. So if they see you (or their siblings) doing something that you’re teaching them not to, they will learn by sight and memory and keep doing it.
This is why, before you can fully teach your child not to do something, make sure that when they’re in the room you’re not guilty of doing the same thing.
6 Take the Child Out of the Situation
Much like a time-out and removing their toys, taking your child out of the situation will be a type of punishment that you can use instead of spanking. Try not to use their crib, or playpens, as they can associate the doing of wrong to that specific area.
Encourage them to do something creative like art, reading, playing with clay etc. Or if your child’s throwing a fit in a public place, threaten them with leaving. Your child will automatically start to associate acting out with the inability to enjoy activities.
5 Start Using the Word “No”
Use the same words repeatedly when speaking to your child about why you disapprove. Using the word ’no’, or ‘do not touch’, over and over again will let your child associate those words with doing wrong. They’re children, yes, and won’t fully understand what you mean for awhile, but by starting young, they will eventually get it – hopefully saving you headaches down the road.
4 Train ‘em!
Keep training them! It’s going to be hard, and you’re going to want to punish them for a lot of things, but by slowly training them on what’s wrong and right, they will eventually learn and (hopefully) won’t continue to act out. At least until they’re teenagers.
3 Be Consistent
Maintain consistency in everything you do. Sure, you may be tired and maybe want to just give in to their crying and let them sleep in your bed, or hold them until they’re asleep, but using crying to get what they want – especially if you’re trying to teach them not to – will just make matters worse.
If they’re playing with something they’re not supposed to, and you let them a few times, how will they learn? If your boss told you that you could only have two weeks off for holidays, then gives you three, then reprimands you for taking that extra week, you’d be confused too, right?
2 Lower Your Expectations
If you are constantly frustrated with your child, then you need to make sure you’re not expecting more out of your little one then you should be. After all, they’re children, and some learn at different levels.
A lot of what they’re doing wrong is just learning and exploring their surroundings much like you would do if you were in an unfamiliar environment. So just go easy on them
If all else fails, and you’re still frustrated with your child 24/7 – or more than you should be in that given day – hand them over to a sitter for a few hours and get yourself out of that house. Maybe you just need to take a break, even if for half an hour or so.
Taking care of a child is stressful as you’re always on guard and always need to be watching and teaching them. Zoning out and ignoring your kids is one thing, but taking an hour here or there to collect your thoughts and allow yourself to be your own person is another trick that can greatly help you keep your cool.