Research has shown that punishing children will create more misbehaviour from your child. Punishment typically will cause your child to become more angry and defensive, which will increase his or her adrenalin and other hormones, and subsequently will turn off the reasoning and cooperative parts of your child’s brain.
Your child will immediately forget what “bad” behaviour caused them to be punished, because they are now engaged in defending himself or herself. Simply put, punishment will teach your child the wrong lesson.
So how do you discipline your child and make them understand the difference between right and wrong? Remember that children learn most of their habits and behaviours from watching and modelling those that are around them consistently. Therefore, the most effective way to teach your child proper behaviours and the difference between right and wrong is to be a good role model. Treating your child with compassion and understanding is more productive and produces lasting results, where spanking, punishing, or yelling will teach your child to act aggressively in these situations.
Take a timeout for example, this teaches and gives your child the feeling of abandonment. Just when they need you the most to explain and help process his or her feelings. You should create a feeling of safety and encourage responsibility by setting limits. You do not need to punish to teach a lesson. Here are some ways in which you can do so:
- Remember you are the role model, by managing and regulating your emotions, you will teach your child to do the same. Take a deep breath and wait until you are calm to address the situation.
- Remember that in the heat of the moment, your child’s adrenalin will be heightened and it will be impossible for your child at that moment to learn. Instead of lecturing, stay with your child and remain calm. This gives you and your child an opportunity to calm down and at that moment you can then discuss the event.
- Remember when setting limits for your child to have empathy. Of course you need to set rules and even insist on some, but discuss these rules with your child and acknowledge his or her perspective. If you are able to compromise, great. If not, make sure your child understands why. This will make your child understand the rule and are more acceptable of the limit.
- Many times misbehavior is often due to another underlying problem. If your child is “acting out” perhaps you need to look deeper into the real reason – lack of sleep, improper nutrition, bullying at school, or many other reasons. Tackle the underlying reason for the misbehavior and you will clear up the problem.
While there are many other ways to disciple your child without punishment, these are a great start. You will find other ways you can use to correct your child and set them on a great path without the harsh punishments.