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Disciplining Children

Disciplining ChildrenPhysical punishment (like spanking, slapping, and paddling) and verbal abuse are not acceptable forms of punishment. Yes, spanking has been a popular form of punishment in the past, but these days it is looked down upon. So, what can you do?

It does not matter that you may not spank hard enough to cause physical harm: by using a physical means of punishment, you are showing that violence is an acceptable way to deal with problems while not necessarily solving any future problems. These are just a few reasons why you should avoid such punishments. Yes, perhaps your parents spanked you as a child and you turned out perfectly fine – know that there are better ways to discipline your child.

So, if you should not discipline your children with physical or verbal punishment, how can you? Note that the discipline you use should depend on the age and maturity of your children as well as the misbehavior. Here are some suggestions:

Boundaries – make sure that you state boundaries your child must follow, and state them a clear yet simple way. If you have too long of a list, your child will not be able to remember it.
Stick to it – stick to the rules that you have. Do not flip-flop in your decisions (instead, make sure that your decisions are well-thought out in the first place – do not give out a punishment when you are angry). Do not let your children bargain or negotiate. If the rules are open to change, do not change them right after your child has broken them, but during a calm time afterwards.
Be serious and direct – all of your instructions should be delivered both calmly and directly. Make it clear what you want and don’t want, and make sure your child knows that you are serious. Make the consequences clear.
Respect and listening – respect your children and listen to them. If you do not, how can you expect them to respect and listen to you?
Be reasonable – do not overreact. Also, make rules that the child can understand. While it is important that your child obeys you, do not simply say “because I said so” whenever your child asks why he or she must do something. Instead, explain why it is important for your child to stay out of the street.
Actions have consequences – it is not only negative actions that have consequences, but positive ones as well. Teach your children this and reward them when they deserve it.
Be a good example – do not be hypocritical. Teach them to be good and moral by displaying such goodness and morality yourself.
Make sure that your child understand exactly why he or she is being punished or rewarded.
Rewarding is not the same as bribing!
Timeout – have your child go to a chair or corner or other spot that is away from the interesting activities going on elsewhere. Timeout is good for helping your child manage his or her anger and regain control. It is not simply a means of making your child suffer! Tell your children how they can regain their self-control and calm down. Allow them to play if it helps them calm down. When your child is calm and ready, he or she can come back – do not use a timer.

Be sure to not only teach children what not to do, but also what they should do. Good discipline is teaching. The best discipline teaches your children right from wrong.

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