For many parents, giving time-outs and spanking are the most common methods of discipline they know and use on their children. Not necessarily because they want to but mostly because there isn’t much else out there that’s accessible for parents to choose from and use. Furthermore, with the controversy that surrounds spanking and its borderline abusive and aggressive status that it holds, many have steered clear away from this age-old technique and have relied heavily if not completely on the ‘time out’. Discipline techniques in general are still considered ‘taboo’ to talk about with parents who seem to avoid the topic like the plague.
No one wants to seem like the bad parent and there is the constant worry about what others might think. So ‘time outs’ seem to have been pigeon-holed into the number one contender by default. Therefore parents continue to force their children back to the ‘time-out’ chair again and again, watching the clock and making sure their 2 year old sits and ponders what they have done wrong for 2 exact minutes. As an Early Childhood Consultant, I couldn’t help but wonder, how effective are these time outs and what exactly are they teaching our children?
With hope to revolutionize how we as parents communicate and discipline our children in this society, Miss Behaviour: parenting coach & consulting services has come to the rescue with a list of respectful methods to tackle toddler and preschooler’s undesirable behaviours.
- Create a plan for discipline that is effective for you and age-appropriate for your child. If you rely on just ‘winging it’, the pressure to perform and to be successful is enough to stifle any hard-working parent.
- Explain to your child that it’s your job as a parent to keep their bodies SAFE & HEALTHY and that you will be trying something new to help them learn that. This will give them fair warning that things will be changing.
- If there is an undesirable behaviour, comment how you ‘don’t like it’ or that ‘it looks like you are unable to manage yourself’. This clarifies your expectation is not being met and consequences will follow.
- When your child acts out and miss-behaves, tell them to leave the room and come back when they are ready to continue playing nicely. When they are ready, allow them another chance without causing shame or guilt. Simply just state what the expectation is and the consequence if it happens again.
- To help communicate stopping specific behaviours such as hitting, spitting or screaming, use a picture symbol along with your words to help him see and hear your message. For example, if your child is hitting, have a picture of a hand with a cross through it showing that hitting is not ok. You can create these with hand drawings or pictures off the internet.
- Remember to tell your child what is appropriate during playtime, mealtime or getting ready. For example, instead of saying “Stop fighting with your sister!” simply reverse it and say “I like it when you take care of your sister while you two play together”. If the child chooses not to comply with the expectation, then follow through with above methods.
- Offer a choice to ‘go do something else’ as your child may not want to stay and is acting out to get out of the situation. However, if they leave and decide to come back, follow through with the expectations and consequences.
Children can benefit from these methods because they are respectful approaches loaded with skill-building material. It can allow them to learn new skills in coping in social situations as well as manage their own behaviours. These methods can also encourage appropriate behaviour and understanding of expectations which is a proactive approach versus the common reactive approaches of spanking or time outs. There are other additional benefits such as it possibly aiding in language development, increase understanding of concepts and improving self -esteem. Does the time ticking away in time outs pack this much punch?
Time outs, naughty corners and spanking are methods of the past. Ditch the old and tedious habits and get on board with these new, fresh techniques from Miss Behaviour to take on the ceaseless parental responsibility of disciplining.
Julie Romanowski is an ‘Early Childhood Consultant’ at Miss Behaviour: parenting coach & consulting services. Learn more through tips, blogs & workshops at www.missbehaviour.ca
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