Most people think of the word discipline and immediately think of punishment, but discipline does not translate to punishment. Instead, the definition of discipline is to instill knowledge.
If the entire purpose of discipline is to ready our children for the real world and to prepare them to navigate through the world with integrity, then corporal punishment has no place in any disciplining technique. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics highly advises against corporal punishment, which they say is not only ineffective but also very damaging to your child. Instead, they suggest using positive parenting techniques. Positive discipline techniques vary, of course, but here are some great suggestions.
1. Redirect them.
Small children have small attention spans, so it’s not hard to catch them doing something that isn’t exactly the best behavior and to redirect them. For example, if your child is pitching a fit in the store for a toy, redirect their attention back to their favorite toy that is in your diaper bag. Or, find another fun way to redirect their attention.
2. Give positive reinforcement.
Take any opportunity you can to reward GOOD behavior. By rewarding good behavior, you are encouraging more of it. This basically translates to there being less of a need for punishment anyways.
3. Be consistent.
Stay consistent, no matter what you do. This means that you only tell them once, and then you consistently use the same punishment. Don’t repeat yourself and don’t change things up.
4. Have common sense consequences.
A common sense consequence is one that will easily click with them. For example, if the color is on the wall, make them clean it. If they get a ticket driving their car, ground them from it. When you use a punishment that makes sense, it’s easier for them to remember.
5. Choose your battles.
Not every battle is going to be worth fighting. So, if your child is acting bad, but it’s not the end of the world, and it’s not worth yelling at them or punishing them, just let it go. You can’t punish every bad act, there’s just no way to remain sane and do so.
6. Call a time-out.
Time out is a really good tactic that can be used as a warning when your child is acting up. Not only that, but it allows you to take them out of the situation and gives them a few moments to calm down and think about things from outside of the situation.
Before you yell, scream or get upset, listen. Let them say what they need to say. Don’t interrupt them, because they might have something important to say.