The methods of the past are no longer acceptable and some are completely wrong. Physical punishment, long considered an effective means of raising children, is a predictor of negative developmental outcomes. Existing research strongly suggests that physical punishment is associated with increased child aggression, antisocial behavior, lower intellectual achievement, poor parent–child relationships, and mental health problems.
Spanking Children is Not The Right Way
A study published in 2011, in Child Abuse and Neglect, revealed an inter-generational cycle of violence in homes where physical punishment was used. Researchers interviewed parents and children, ages 3 to 7, from more than 100 families. Children who were physically punished were more likely to endorse hitting as a means of resolving their conflicts with peers and siblings. Parents who had experienced frequent physical punishment during their childhood were more likely to believe it was acceptable, and they frequently spanked their own children. In turn, their children often believed spanking was an appropriate disciplinary method.
A better approach: Use a two-step approach by communicating to your child your expectations and follow through with an action to enforce this. Remove a privilege temporarily or use the time out method consistently.
Yelling is Counterproductive
Yelling at children or using words of intimidation to discipline children into behaving well is also wrong. Parents who yell at their kids out of frustration will fail to get them to listen in the long run. The end result is a very unhealthy relationship between parent and child.
A better approach: Talk using a calm and normal yet firm voice. Use positive communication to express your expectations.
Making Mistakes isn’t the End of the World
Mistakes are a part of growing up and learning. When a child makes a mistake or misbehaves, a traditional response from older generations may have been to yell or scold a child. We have learned from numerous studies that there are more appropriate options than resorting to aggression and physical punishment.
A better approach: Calmly explain to the child that a mistake has been made and provide one or two alternative solutions that can be used to avoid the mistake in the future. The child will appreciate this type of positive reaction and respond more positively.
Name Calling is Not Okay
The use of demeaning and derogatory words will do a lifetime of damage to your child’s self-image, self-worth, and self-confidence. Beware when you do this and avoid it at all costs. Name calling is considered emotional abuse and is just as harmful as physical abuse.
A better approach: Separate the behavior from the child. Stop the name calling and address the unacceptable behavior.
Children Learn by Observing
Kids observe how you behave around them, and they will put these impressions into practice. To provide the best guidance for your kids, be a model through your own actions. If you yell at them, chances are they will yell back as they are learning what is acceptable from you. If you are an avid smoker, don’t preach to your kids the dangers of smoking and expect them to be non-smokers. If you are a smoker, there’s a higher likelihood they may decide to smoke one day. This see-then-do method works for everything your kids see you doing.
A better approach: Use positive parenting techniques that include praise and reward kids for positive behavior. This will help create a loving and healthy relationship between you and your kids. Remember, negative parenting techniques will create distance and defiance.
Here are seven points to keep in mind while disciplining your children:
- Set reasonable expectations.
- Respect your child and treat them like you want to be treated.
- Do not discipline your child when you are angry as you will most likely use negative methods. Wait until you calm down.
- Always respond to unwanted behavior with positive discipline methods, and be consistent.
- Address the unacceptable behavior and not the child.
- Listen to your child when they talk to you and they will do the same for you.
- Use positive disciplining techniques that reward your child after a desired behavior.
The State of Research on the Effects of Physical Punishment, Ministry of Social Development, https://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/journals-and-magazines/social-policy-journal/spj27/the-state-of-research-on-effects-of-physical-punishment-27-pages114-127.html. Retrieved on 8/2/2019.
The case against spanking, American Psychological Association, Monitor on Psychology https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/04/spanking . Retrieved on 8/2/2019.
Parental Discipline Styles: A Study of Its Effects on the Development of Young Adults at the University Level https://scholarworks.boisestate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1088