How to discipline your kids without physical punishment

Edited by Anonymous, Neo Mann, Charmed, Lynn and 5 others

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Why not parent by spanking and hitting your child? The answer is simple. When they are young physical discipline works because it feeds into our most basic learning mechanism. "Don't do that because it hurts." While that level of training is good at a very early age (in the opinion of this middle-aged dad of four, with the oldest being 18), it is not effective to teach and guide a child as they get older. You can't spank a 20-year-old child So what do you do?

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  1. 1
    Understand what motivates a child -- I once asked my pastor why all of his children turned out so well.
    I wanted to know his secret. He and his wife explained that they blessed their children every day before they left for school. That was a great practice that I took on and still do it to this day. If you're not religious, please don't check out on me. The next point is key. Then my pastor said a phrase that stuck with me. He said, "They don't want to cross me, but they really don't want to disappoint their mother." They went on to tell me story after story how the children always wanted to please their mom and how disappointing her was something they never wanted to do.
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  2. 2
    Why approval means more than anything to a child -- Children, and even ourselves if we are honest, are motivated by approval.
    We want to get the approval of our neighbors, co-workers, and friends. How much more do we want to get the approval of our parents, the most powerful role models in our lives? If you can tap into this desire and foster it, you will have a key to successful children, provided you teach them the right things of course.
    A parents approval helps a child overcome negative labels and promotes inner growth and confidence.
    A parents approval helps a child overcome negative labels and promotes inner growth and confidence.
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  3. 3
    How to foster and tap into your child's desire for approval -- Your child may not show it but he/she most wants to please you and have you approve.
    What makes a child happier than when a parent genuinely praises them for the accomplishments? Start small: Give them a small chore and when they are done, congratulate them. Tell them you're proud of what they just did. They may not even register it externally at first, but internally they love it. Encouraging words are like a drug. Every time a child receives encouragement, they love it a bit more. If they are not used to it, they won't let on any signs its working, but keep at it and after a month or two, they will melt inside and begin to respond.
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  4. 4
    Story Telling ...
    The lost art
    -- Even rebellious children will quiet down when you tell them a story about your life. We are programmed at our very core to listen and learn from the experiences of our parents and others. A good story can have more guidance to avoid drugs than 1000 reprimands, but start early. The more stories you feed into your child, the more they will value and model them. The stories are key. Tell them all the things that happened to you when you were a kid that caused you learn right from wrong. Use this golden opportunity to feed your life experience into them. Remember the reason you do the "right thing" is because you learned through life lessons. Instead of filling them full of rules and consequences, skip the problem from the start by sharing your experiences.
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  5. 5
    Make good habits a family tradition -- Do the dishes together after dinner.
    If you make doing the dishes (or loading them into the dishwasher) into something everyone does together over time, your kids will come to love it. What? How? Make that story time, or play high-low (See the next step).
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  6. 6
    Take an interest in your child ...
    Play High-Low
    -- What is high-low? It is a game best played around the dinner table. Each person takes a turn to tell the best and worst thing that happened to them that day. This is a great way to start discussing issues. If your child opens up to you be SURE not to crush them with correction. LISTEN to your child. This game overcomes the problem of Q: "So what did you do today?" A: "Nothing"
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  7. 7
    Fix stuff together -- Overcoming adversity together can be a huge bonding experience.
    Our kids often disconnect from us emotionally as they grow up because they didn't spend the time early in life learning to overcome challenges together. Stuff can be a broken alarm clock or a broken friendship at school. Listen carefully when your children play high-low. Make sure the game isn't just high-high, or just low-low!
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  8. 8
    Be a role model for your children.
    "Walking the walk" is more important that than "talking the talk". Being a model for your child is far more effective in training long term behaviour. If your kids see how much you love and respect your wife (their mom); if they see you doing household chores which were reserved in yesteryears for women only but you are not embarrassed to do; if you stick to your word like when you promise your daughter that you will be present at her school play; if you promise your son you will take him to the basket ball game and in spite of "something coming up" you still honour your word and take him; if you lose a harmless bet with your 7 year old kiddo and you actually wash the dishes as promised - your actions will influence their minds and hearts in a way no talking could ever do.
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  • Don't lead by rule. Lead by example.
  • Bond with your child on a level that they can learn from you and your experiences.
  • Let them look up to you so they are motivated by wanting to please and wanting your approval.
  • Do your part to give approval when it's warranted.
  • Create opportunities for your child to do the right thing and get your approval. No matter how small you have to start, you can then work up to larger and larger issues.

Questions and Answers

List of successful child punishments?

Punishing a child does not need to be physical. Here are some forms of punishments that you can implement without the use of the rod or the hands:

  • Make them do simple chores at home should they do something bad.
  • Make them go to bed a little earlier and make them miss their nightly bedtime story or favorite TV program.
  • Make them skip the weekly sleepover with their friends.
  • Ground them for a few weekends.
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When you deprive them of things that they enjoy doing, this will help them learn not to make the same mistakes again.


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Categories : Parenting

Recent edits by: Doug Collins, Maria Sharon Ubando, Jonathan

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