I would love any suggestions on alternatives to smacking?

Melissa - posted on 02/22/2009 ( 10 moms have responded )

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I'm not interested in the debate about wether it is 'right' or 'wrong' to smack your children, I simply want to find out what other creative methods people have used to guide their kids. Wether from personal experience or something you've read, I'd be really grateful for the ideas and inspiration. I have a 7mth old daughter so am new to this parenthood business. I'd love to learn what has worked for the more experienced Mums out there and what hasn't.

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Kelsey - posted on 02/25/2009

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i have worked in daycares and been a nanny and the all time best thing i can suggest is the choise method. I gotta tell you it works for some and not for others but i have had so much success with it. When you want them to do something such as putting a toy away and putting thier shoes on, you give them a choice of which they would rather do first. i had a boy in my daycare and he was almost kicked out  of the daycare because of misbehaving and not participating in clean up time. when i started giving him choices to stuff it made a world of difference. it also helped him share and be kind to others. i know it may not sound that powerful but wow it works wonders if children have choices. you just dont let them know that they have to do both eather way because if you let them choose they will automatically do both and that's the trick they will never know. they are being fooled  :)  hope this helps.

Angelique - posted on 02/25/2009

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I agree that a firm “No” work when they are very young, when my daughter was a bit older and “no” didn’t always work I would flick her hand with my finger if she didn’t listen to the “no” and still wanted to play with whatever she’s not suppose to. And then it is always also a good idea to remove most of the temptations. My husband smacks her hands and she actually started to smack back if we want to take something from her or if she is jealous on her little brother.

Beth - posted on 02/25/2009

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Every child is different however at 7 months old Im not sure physical discipline is the right answer....I tend to favor time outs for younger children if a firm NO doesnt work and for older children I find taking away their favorite belongings works atleast for a while.

Sandy - posted on 02/25/2009

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I would recommend reading the Happiest Toddler on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp. He recommends many alternatives to discipline instead of hitting.

Danielle - posted on 02/23/2009

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My daughter is 1 yr old (she is #4 for me) and altho I do smack her hands when I feel it is necessary, I find I rarely need to... a firm 'NO'  usually works, and I will replace what she can't have with something she can... ex: she loves to play with my husbands/son's video game controllers (at $50 each, this is not exceptable!) so, when she goes for them or when i catch her with one, I tell her "NO", then i get a toy or stuffed animal I know she likes, or a snack she enjoys, and take the controller and I give her the replacement. This tells her what she is NOT to touch, and also shows her what is acceptable to play with. It works for Emma... :) Good luck!!

Crystal - posted on 02/23/2009

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At a young age consistency is key. If there is something she is doing wrong simply say "NO" loud and stern if it doesn't work repeat and move her away from whatever it is, if it still doesn't work do it again and contrary to the above you can actually do a time out either by holding her or putting her in a playpen with no toys for a minute max. I've seen many parents try to explain to their little ones but in my case its never worked until they were older, only because there is no attention span. AND I have boys LOL but that aside, I do smack, I yell alot more than I smack though, but when they were young I did just do the "NO" trick and it always worked. Good luck!

Brenda - posted on 02/22/2009

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Time outs have always worked best for me.  My mother in law was a proponent of smacking hands, butts, whatever, and it just didn't seem to phase my son except make him slap me when he was mad.



At the younger agest, before they're one, misdirection and distraction really worked best for me.  Then when the twos/threes hit, time outs were most beneficial.  I started using the 321 countdowns with him, and at 1 he got a time out if he didn't stop the behavior.  This really gives them the chance to decide to correct themselves.    I've recently started instituting the "why were you in time out?" talk afterward, and if both me and my husband are home, he has to explain to the other parent what happened.  He is so conditioned by this that he'll randomly come to me and say "I'm sorry momma!"  And will then tell me what he did wrong before he even has a time out for me catching him.



I really recommend positive reinforcement when possible, and rewards for good behavior (though not every time, just a surprise, by the way you've done such a good thing, here you go).  Motivating them to do things for intrinsic value is very important and sometimes the most difficult thing to do.  My son gets very up set when I tell him he's being "bad".  He'll start to get upset and say "I don't want to be a bad boy".  Every child is different, though and some things will work for you and others won't.  Keep trying until you find the right combination for your son.  :)

Kandice - posted on 02/22/2009

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I'm a fan of time outs. But I don't think you can start giving any kind of consistent methods to guide your kids until there about 2 or 3. Under that age I think I'm just going to tell my son reasons why he should or shouldn't be doing something and consequences of his actions. I'm not sure if i've helped. Good luck.

Stasia - posted on 02/22/2009

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at 7 months it is hard because they are too young to logically ideas together like time out, but i think that is great for a little bit older kids.

my daughter is extremely sensitive to my energy (as im sure most babies are) so when she would do something like bite me or pull hair (shes only nine months, there's not much wrong she can do yet) I will stop her from what she is doing, look her in the eyes and firmly (but calmly) say No.

She really doesn't like this and will fuss or sometimes cry for a second. SHe no longer bites while breastfeeding (thankfully).

hope you find something that works for you!

Leeann - posted on 02/22/2009

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i've found that time outs work well, my son is extremely active so he hates having to sit in a chair and not play with his toys.his chair is in the hallway so he can't see any of his toys. When his time out is finished he has to sit down and talk to me about why he was on a time out, not good for a 7 month old but for an older child.

Also for an older child, i thought having a canister filled with balls when the child does some thing good, you put a ball in the seperate canister when they are bad you take one out at the end of the week if the canister is filled because they were good they get a special treat was a good idea.

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