Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Stop Spanking! Prevention Solutions

Should You Spank Your Child? Behavior Solutions

Once again, I witnessed a parent yelling at their child at the store - then their anger escalating to a child being spanked. Believe me, spanking does not work. It may temporarily stop a child's behavior - but it leaves emotional scars, humiliation and anger.

The Pediatrics journal published a study that showed children who are spanked by their parents are at greater risk for later problems in both behavior and vocabulary. The Journal of Family Psychology published findings after 50 years of research was analyzed: "A new study on spanking, considered the most complete analysis to date on the topic, finds the more children are spanked, the more likely they are to defy their parents, exhibit anti-social behaviors and experience mental health and cognitive problems."

When adults spank children to get them to mind, too much has already gone wrong and the discipline has broken down. We know a big person should not hit a smaller person. Adults must set the example for good behavior. Therefore, you do not spit when you want a child to stop spitting, you do not yell when you want a child to stop yelling, and you do not hit when you want a child to stop hitting. Emotional scarring may result when a child is mistreated by an adult, whether verbally or physically.

Should You Spank Your Child
photo from The Golden Gleam


Here are some suggestions on how to create an environment where good behavior is the norm and expected.· 

  • Rules at home are necessary with rewards and consequences. A simple weekly behavior chart, or monthly calendar, can work wonders. Let your child make a happy or sad face indicating their behavior at the end of every day. Or they could place a sticker on the well-behaved days. When they have accumulated a predetermined number of happy faces or stickers, they will have earned a reward. Money is not necessarily the best ingredient for a reward. Children want praise and one-on-one special time with a parent such as going to the park or library, reading a book together, baking cookies, or playing a game outside. I was humbled when my daughter’s kindergarten teacher told me that Sarah’s favorite thing to do with me was to play with her dollhouse. No gasoline or extra money was needed. 
  • Observe children and anticipate problems before they escalate. Young children need to be supervised.
  • Ignore misbehavior if appropriate. Perhaps an unhappy look from you is all that is necessary.
  • Warn children of transitions such as the end of play time or going to another location.
  • Concentrate on shaping positive behavior. Compliment and use lavish praise when children have good behavior and actions.
  • Use your voice, hands, facial expressions, and actions as tools to maintain control and to prevent problems. When things are going well, your voice can be soft, natural, and casual. When you sense a need for more control, your voice can be firm and say, “Take it easy now. Slow down.”
  • Help children use words instead of force: “Tell her what you want.” “Think about what you are doing.” “Be careful. We don’t want anyone to get hurt.”
  • Limit time children spend in front of electronic gadgets. Real back-and-forth communication and interaction is necessary for growth in vocabulary, expression, comprehension, and social skills. Pre-approve electronic games checking for violence, disrespectful attitudes, or words and actions that you do not want your child to imitate.
  • Structure the environment to support appropriate behavior. Young children need action. They need time for hard physical play to release stress, learn social skills, develop motor skills, and to just be a kid. Children learn from using blocks, paint, crayons, scissors, glue, Playdough, water, sand, puzzles, swings, and natural outdoor materials. Young children need activities that are just right for their age. The goal is for children to accomplish what they can do. Hands-on discovery, using the five senses, enhances the joy and meaning of learning and extends the learning time.
  • Treat children with unconditional love. It is the behavior that is unacceptable—the child is loved no matter what has happened.
  •  Allow children to experience logical consequences. Consequences should be established before problems occur. Be firm and stick with the plan. They will become better prepared to make the right choices when you are not around.

photo from The Golden Gleam


Children learn by their actions, including responsibility. Consequences do not need to be dehumanizing, demeaning, humiliating, or full of nagging and scolding. Three questions to ask when delivering a consequence are:

  • Is it justified?
  • Is it respectful?
  • Is it reasonable?


“No means no. I don’t argue with children. I’m the adult.” The more this is repeated, the better it works. I used this phrase often as a teacher and can tell you it works. You can use empathy, but stick to your plan. Perhaps the child is mature enough to understand the reasons why you have said no such as weather, money, time, or health concerns. Regardless, they need to know that you mean what you say. If your child has opportunities for many fun, educational, interesting, and engaging activities, they will have fewer behavior problems. Remember this phrase too: Every day, tell your child that you love them and you will hear the most precious words in the world, “I wuv you too, Mom.” 

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Would you like a glimpse into Kindergarten? See Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents. Moms of Preschoolers - let Mommy with Selective Memory and me help save your sanity, one project at a time with the child development explanations with The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn. Both are bestsellers and also available on Barnes & Noble and Kobo. The ebooks are only $3.99.

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