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Discipline; Spanking Or Time-Outs?

Apr 18, 2008
In the past, spanking was the order of the day. Our parents and grandparents believed in the old saying "spare the rod, spoil the child." In today's society, however physical punishment is discouraged and can even lead to criminal prosecution by the law. Spanking can also lead the child to believe that hitting is alright, not exactly the idea that as a parent you want to instill. There are several alternative forms of punishment that may be more effective and beneficial than spanking.

For younger children, time-outs are considered to be an effective form of punishment. This method can include making a child stand in a corner or placing him in his room for a determined amount of time. For very young children, ten minutes is usually enough. Any longer amount of time and the child will forget what it is that he is being punished for. You should also punish them right after they have misbehaved for this same reason. After these younger children have been punished, you should give them a hug to assure them that you still love them.

For school-age children, taking away privileges is an effective discipline tool. If they misbehave, you should take away their favorite activity, such watching television or playing video games. Most children take these activities for granted and by removing them, you can help your child to realize that these pleasures are privileges and that there are consequences to their actions. The amount of time that these privileges should be withdrawn depends on the age of the child and the severity of their infraction. You also need to stand your ground when determining a time limit. If you say that there will be no TV for a week and then give it back in a day, it will confuse your child and may cause him to begin to mistrust what you say.

When putting either of these methods of punishment into use, you should also make sure that you discuss the punishment and explain the reason that their behavior is wrong. You should keep an even temper. Raising your voice and yelling at them will only cause them to withdraw and to stop paying attention to what you are saying and to focus on how you are saying it. As tempting as it, saying the words 'because I said so" do not satisfy your child anymore than it satisfied you at their age. Be specific and explain the reasons behind the punishment, reassuring them that you love them and are only doing the punishment for their own good.

When all else fails, experts feel that spanking is a reasonable alternative, but only when all else has failed. Spanking should only be done with an open hand and only across the buttocks. You should never strike a child with any object or on any other part of the body and you should spank them no more than a couple times. You should also never attempt to spank your child when you are really angry as this may lead you to get carried away and spank too hard or too many times.

Instilling discipline is one of the hardest tasks that a parent has to perform. By choosing the proper disciplining methods, you can ensure that your child learns the most from his mistakes.
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