Many countries have a legal ban on smacking children. Physical punishment is known to escalate to abuse and research has shown that children who are physically punished can suffer from depression, anxiety and substance abuse later on in life. Many parents smack out of frustration or desperation and does not work in the long run. It only builds resentment in children, something we don’t want.
What are the alternatives?
1. Time out is designed to give children the chance to think about their behavior or to give a break to a poor pattern of behavior. It may not work on all children, but is definitely a better alternative to smacking. Time out can take place in a bedroom, or even a chair or mat near you.
2. Parents also need time out at times. If you think you are going to lose control, make sure your child is safe and take some time out to collect yourself.
3. A threat of consequences almost always works. If your child misbehaves in public, tell them that they will lose their TV time. If they hurt a sibling, they have to forgo play time and read a book instead. Things like this make a difference to negative behavior.
4. As parents, we can predict our children’s behavior most of the time, if not always. Try to think ahead and prepare your kids if you know they act up in public. Talk to them about what to expect if you are going to be out all day. This way, they know what to expect and are less likely to act up and frustrate you in turn.
Discipline is a teaching process that requires some explanation, the setting of limits and boundaries and action. It requires you as parents to be a strong backbone, have a compassionate heart and lots of patience; but never a firm hand.