Wednesday, July 24, 2013

7 suggestions to avoid discipling via spanking.

Growing up I was often spanked by my parents, and my teachers with a thin flexible bamboo sticks over the knuckles of my fingers (not the palm where where there are plenty of meat to soften the blow, but the bone part of knuckles on the back of the hand). In case you're curious, yes, it's quite painful.

I don't have a problem with spanking. In political speak, i'll "consider all options". However, I do think that escalation to the point of disciplining by spanking is failure on my part where I have lost control of the situation.

The most important thing I learned so far is that with some planning and care, I can avoid situation where I need to discipline by spanking. 

1) give enough attention. I definitely notice when I spend more time with my children. They doesn't act out nearly as much.

2) give enough time. Don't expect immediate response, be patient and firm. Plan extra time in advance before activities that involves the children. 

3) Keep rules to the minimal. The rules gotta be really important, something that I care to maintain even at the end of the day when I'm super tired. In fact, in our family, we try to only focus on 2 or 3 behavior improvement per year. 

4) Apply the rules consistently - make sure everyone from spouse, grandparents, nanny, play dates all know about the rules.

5) Avoid situation where disciplining is necessary. I don't want kids to eat candy, so I don't have any candy in the house. Don't want to get the argument of why, who, when, how much, etc over candy. It's a lose-lose situation any way you slice it. 

6) Make allowance for special situations in advance. There always has to be occasional special exception, otherwise, life is just too boring. If we going out to eat, I make it clear that candy is allowed but only if dinner is finished and they are on they best behavior the whole time. Reach a common understanding before going out.

7) Discipline the action not the attitude. Kids can have bad days just like adults and they don't have the emotional maturity to keep their emotions in check. It's hard but I let the kids know that the attitude is not helpful and it puts everyone in a bad mood. Or on my good days, I try to use humor to distract the kid. Either ways, i don't believe that spanking for show of attitude is appropriate. 

That is it. 7 ways to keep things simple so as parent we can reduce the need to discipline young children. At least discipline in a more fair and consistent way.