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Positive Parenting Ideas: Alternatives To Spanking Your Child

Apr 14, 2008
What is the best way to handle difficult behavior in children? What is the best method of child discipline? What are the most successful parenting ideas. The opinions are endless. The expert advice is vast. The proof is scarce. Many sources of parenting advice are based on the opinions, values and observations of men who spend much of their time in offices. Although we may agree with many of these professionals, they probably have no idea what your life is really like. Most of these authors have not spent one day facing the challenges that we, as moms, face day after day, after day. I do not intend to discredit these people and their many good parenting ideas. I just want you to keep in mind, as you read from the huge stockpile of parenting advice, that the real expert is you!

Spanking is an emotional issue for most moms (and dads) and we all have strong feelings about it. I will not debate the merits or the evils of spanking here, because these arguments are usually not productive. In my experience, however, every mom, I have ever met, hates spanking her children. It is usually done, only when a mom can think of no other way to solve the problem.

That is the reason for this discussion. I am offering alternatives to spanking because it makes moms feel lousy and that is not good for you or you children. It may be helpful to know that most of the research on child discipline indicates that occasional, mild spankings are not harmful, but not helpful either. Here is list of some positive parenting ideas and alternatives to spanking, recommended by professional and other moms.

**Keep in mind that what children want most of all is their parent's attention, and they will work very hard to get it. Whatever behavior (positive or negative) gets your child the most attention (positive or negative) is the behavior that you will probably see again and again.

** Use A "Time Out" (effectively and consistently). Try these websites:

For instructions from Center For Effective Parenting http://www.parenting-ed.org/html/html/timeout.htm

For instructions from C.S. Mott Children's Hospital http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/pa/pa_timeout1_hhg.htm

** Allow natural consequences--The child dawdles in the morning; the child is late for school. Don't rescue the child from the natural consequences, such writing an excuse note for the tardy.

** Impose logical consequences--The child makes a mess; the child must clean it up before playing, TV, etc. If your child is slow or uncooperative in the morning, impose an earlier bedtime.

The success of this techniques, requires that we, as mom's, stay strong and impose the logical consequence--no rescuing.

** You can use incentives such as tokens or fake money. The child is given tokens for positive behavior and charged tokens for negative behavior. The tokens or fake money can then be used to buy extra privileges around the house.

** Yucky behavior, yucky job. What is a job that you hate and your kids hate? This can be used as a consequence for rudeness and or unacceptable words.

** No sweets in a dirty mouth. Use this as a consequence for rude or unkind words; no dessert, cookies, etc for a day.

** If your child is irritable or in a bad mood, perhaps no discipline is in order. Sometimes just listening and giving your child the chance to express his feelings is all that is needed.

You may want to check out one of these books for parenting ideas to see if it fits with your particular "mom style".

** Parenting with Love and Logic, by Foster W. Cline and Jim Fay

** Discipline Without Shouting or Spanking, by Jerry Wyckoff and Barbara C. Unell

** 1-2-3 Magic, by Thomas W. Phelan

** Children: The Challenge, by Rudolph Dreikurs. Written in the 1960's, it is classic, regarded by many as one of the best parenting books available. A few of his ideas are probably outdated, but it is highly recommended by most people who have read it.

Remember that you know your child and your family better than anyone else does. You know what type of environment will best nurture you children.
About the Author
Linda Rolufs is the mother of five children and a practicing Marriage and Family Therapist. Visit her website - AMothersMinute.com - a place that celebrates the experience of motherhood and affirms each mother's own unique wisdom. You will find great parenting ideas for moms, year round family fun and women's health topics.
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