Rather than resort to spanking when your
child is out-of-control, experts say to consider these options:
Get calm. Quiet down, and think of a solution to the problem. If stress
is causing you to react physically rather than thoughtfully, either
leave the situation or mentally step back and count to 10.
Take time for yourself. Parents are more prone to spanking when they
haven't had any time for themselves, and so feel hurried. Make sure
you leave yourself time to read, exercise, take a walk, pray or meditate.
Be kind but firm. It's frustrating when your child doesn't listen
to you, but spanking them is unlikely to cause them to behave appropriately.
Get down to your child's level, make eye contact, and tell them what
you want them to do.
Give choices. Giving your child a choice can be an effective alternative
to spanking. For example, allow a choice between "don't play with
your food or leave the table." If this doesn't work, follow with
firm action by removing them from the table, telling them they may return
when they're ready to eat.
Use logical consequences. Consequences that are logically connected
to behavior help to teach responsibility. If you spank your child every
time he or she does something wrong, they'll learn to blame someone
else when they "mess up." Teach the responsibility of fixing
mistakes without damaging your child's self-esteem.
Do make-ups. When children break agreements, parents tend to punish.
An alternative is allowing your child to do a make-up. A make-up is
something people do to put themselves back into integrity with the person
they have offended or broken an agreement with. Allow for a way to reestablish
good feeling and trust.
Withdraw from conflict. If your child sasses you, resist the urge
to slap them. It's always best to withdraw from an angry situation immediately,
but don't leave the room in anger or defeat. Offer a distraction (like
a toy), and say "you can try again later."
Inform children ahead of time. Temper tantrums can be truly unnerving.
Children usually resort to tantrums when they feel the most powerless
or ineffective. Let your child know what plans are ahead of time, like
when you're leaving their friend's house, when playtime is over, when
you have work to do.