The phrase, “spare the rod, and spoil the child” has become so popular in this part of the world. Sometimes, it is effective. The fear of pain caused by physical impact is a proven way to deter misbehaviour. Other times, however, for more reasons than one, you need to learn new ways to discipline your child without spanking.
Why? It’s quite simple. Beyond instilling fear to stay away from mischief temporarily, it doesn’t always drive home the lesson. Sometimes, you want to teach the child that stealing is wrong. But, through spanking, all the child learns is that stealing from you would get him beaten. As such, you need to employ alternative methods.
How do you discipline your child without spanking?
There are several different ways to discipline your child without spanking. However, you must consider the uniqueness of the given situation before employing them. Nevertheless, here are four different ways you can teach your kid a lesson without necessarily pulling out the proverbial rod.
1. Use the timeout method
This method involves taking away all the attention from your little boy or girl. During the timeout period you’ll leave the child alone. If you wish, you could include the silent treatment. The period spent alone would force the child to reconsider their actions and actually think of changing. However, it would be entirely ineffective if your child is ignored on a normal day. If the child doesn’t get parental attention under normal circumstances, the timeout would just be another extra thirty minutes (or more) of normalcy. Also, keep in mind that this works much better for younger children. Teenagers might need more work.
2. Allow them to learn by themselves
As in the case of a child learning not to touch a hot stove after getting scalded, experience is the best teacher. While it is not advisable to let your kids get burned, you can always let them learn from their mistakes. For example, if s/he refuses to use a duvet during a particularly chilly night, let them get a feel of the cold. When they get discomforted, hand them the duvet and turn it into a teaching moment.
3. Be logical
Usually, the reason the child does not learn from mistakes is because s/he does not see the connection between the wrong action and the punishment. So, employ logic in disciplining your child. For instance, when they refuse to clean up their mess, make them use their TV time to clean it up. For this to work, you have to make it clear that s/he is suffering those consequences because of the actions.
4. Reward Good Behaviour
Compared to its negative counterpart, positive reinforcement can work wonders. So, next time your child does something particularly nice, don’t let it go unnoticed. Give them an extra cup of ice-cream. You can buy him/her that new Disney cartoon everyone’s watching. Reward their good behaviour so s/he can continue to repeat it.
Perhaps the phrase “spare the rod and spoil the child” is more metaphorical than literal. Perhaps the person who coined it simply meant you should guide your child in the right direction. Regardless, beating your child at every turn might not be the best idea. You should try employing the methods suggested here. Above all, remain patient.