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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Pamela - posted on 06/19/2011

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It sounds like you've already got your mommy confidence. I always listen to mine, and it doesnt let me down. I think...how would I want to be treated here? For example, I swore when I broke my foot. I would have been mad at my husband if he got me in trouble for it when I was in so much pain. But I did talk to my kids about my poor language later. I find talking to my kids after the heat of the argument helpful. I find feeding my kids or putting them to sleep when they are grumpy extremely helpful. I realize your baby is 7 months old, but restorative justice is all the rage in Ontario right now. I prefer it to time out. For example, let's say your child was mean to grandma. With time out you just sit them on the naughty chair for 3 minutes. With restorative justice you take them to the kitchen table, sit down with a card and write a picture to grandma telling her things you love about her. Talk about how the meanness made grandma feel. Talk about if the nice card will make her feel good etc. Restorative justice is more for school age kids, but that's "babying" it down for the little ones. I'll be curious to see other ideas oon this post....

User - posted on 02/22/2009

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Hi Melissa



I was beaten as a child and feel strongly about even smacking my two boys.  I have used lots of methods, but time out works best.  Even from a toddler age, I would place my boy at the bottom of the stairs, and like supernanny suggests, leave them for their age in minutes (so a 2 year old, leave for 2 minutes, 5 year old for 5 minutes)  The stairs is a great place as it is central to our house so I can keep an eye on them, but there is nothing stimulating for them there (eg no telly, books, pictures)  I still use this method now on the extremely rare occasion I feel it necessary to punish my boys, and they're 11 and 8.  I haven't used it on the 11 year old for about 2 years, and the 8 year old for about 3 months.  This is my "extreme" punishment when I just want to scream and pull my hair out!!



One of my pet hates is needless lying, I cant help it, it just bugs me.  It probably wasnt the best punishment I could think of, but with both boys, on separate occasions, I washed their mouth out with soap.  I did this once with my eldest (and one more time for swearing) and twice with my youngest.  It was effective.



Now, I tend to find threatening to take the fuse out of their bedroom plugs works (for the tv, dvd, wii etc) I've never had to do it thank goodness, but the threat always makes them think twice.



Nowadays, the most effective punishment for my youngest is telling him I'm disappointed in him.  He hates it!! I make a big deal out of praising my boys regulary, so they get used to the idea of mum being happy with them.  I have always praised them for doing the right thing, even little things I try and catch, just to let them know their small efforts are appreciated (eg: putting a toy away, taking their plates out after dinner, turning of the tv once they've finished watching it)  I have also perfected "the look" which is great, especially if we're out in public!!



A friend of mine who had a teenage girl going through the rebellious stage (bunking school etc) unscrewed her bedroom door and left it off for a couple of weeks.  The parents told the girl it was because they couldnt trust her to behave when they werent looking, so they would keep the door off so they could keep an eye on her all the time at home.  It was a ingenious idea and very effective too!



As a single parent, I could never do the "wait til your father gets home" thing, but my mother used to do this on me, and it wasn't great for making you miss your dad while he was at work!



I suppose they're all for when your daughter is older.  At such a young age, I used to just remove the child from the situation with a firm no, and then distract him from by playing with his toys with him.



I think I sound pretty harsh in what I've typed, I can only tell you what worked for me, and I'd rather choose these options than smack my child.

User - posted on 02/22/2009

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Hi Melissa



I was beaten as a child and feel strongly about even smacking my two boys.  I have used lots of methods, but time out works best.  Even from a toddler age, I would place my boy at the bottom of the stairs, and like supernanny suggests, leave them for their age in minutes (so a 2 year old, leave for 2 minutes, 5 year old for 5 minutes)  The stairs is a great place as it is central to our house so I can keep an eye on them, but there is nothing stimulating for them there (eg no telly, books, pictures)  I still use this method now on the extremely rare occasion I feel it necessary to punish my boys, and they're 11 and 8.  I haven't used it on the 11 year old for about 2 years, and the 8 year old for about 3 months.  This is my "extreme" punishment when I just want to scream and pull my hair out!!



One of my pet hates is needless lying, I cant help it, it just bugs me.  It probably wasnt the best punishment I could think of, but with both boys, on separate occasions, I washed their mouth out with soap.  I did this once with my eldest (and one more time for swearing) and twice with my youngest.  It was effective.



Now, I tend to find threatening to take the fuse out of their bedroom plugs works (for the tv, dvd, wii etc) I've never had to do it thank goodness, but the threat always makes them think twice.



Nowadays, the most effective punishment for my youngest is telling him I'm disappointed in him.  He hates it!! I make a big deal out of praising my boys regulary, so they get used to the idea of mum being happy with them.  I have always praised them for doing the right thing, even little things I try and catch, just to let them know their small efforts are appreciated (eg: putting a toy away, taking their plates out after dinner, turning of the tv once they've finished watching it)  I have also perfected "the look" which is great, especially if we're out in public!!



A friend of mine who had a teenage girl going through the rebellious stage (bunking school etc) unscrewed her bedroom door and left it off for a couple of weeks.  The parents told the girl it was because they couldnt trust her to behave when they werent looking, so they would keep the door off so they could keep an eye on her all the time at home.  It was a ingenious idea and very effective too!



As a single parent, I could never do the "wait til your father gets home" thing, but my mother used to do this on me, and it wasn't great for making you miss your dad while he was at work!



I suppose they're all for when your daughter is older.  At such a young age, I used to just remove the child from the situation with a firm no, and then distract him from by playing with his toys with him.



I think I sound pretty harsh in what I've typed, I can only tell you what worked for me, and I'd rather choose these options than smack my child.

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I think it really depends of what kids of behavior you are experiencing. With my two year old I send her to her room and tell her when she is feeling better and wants to listen she can come back out. She goes in and throws her tantrum or cries for a minute or two and comes back out and says I'm feeling better now! That has been working for me lately... unfortunately they change and so our methods have to change with them. I hope you find some good advice that works for you. Remember that not everything works on every child but never disregard anyones advice because you might not need it now but it could work in the future! Good luck!

Jennifer - posted on 02/22/2009

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I agree with the time out comments you've gotten so far.  Something else that has worked for me, now that my daughter is 3 1/2 and can understand it, is a little technique I use at school with some of my especially naughty third graders.  My daughter started this nasty habit of getting out of bed 10 times before she'd actually go to sleep.  Time-outs were ineffective here, because it was prolonging bedtime; exactly what she wanted.  So, I gave her two "tickets" (I used old credit cards).  She was allowed out of bed if she needed to, but she'd have to give up a ticket.  Once she was out of tickets, she figured there was just no way to get out of bed again.  Then I started rewarding her.  She gets one penny for each ticket she has left in the morning.  It's worked like a charm!  You can mold this technique to pretty much any behavior that you see on a consistent basis. 



By the way, we didn't start time outs until she was about 18 months old.  Before that, they don't really understand them.  Until then, redirection is key.  Good luck!

Danielle - posted on 02/22/2009

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YOU SHOULD WATCH SUPER NANNY. SHE HAS GREAT TECHNIQUES. I KNOW I WAS SMACKED AND SPANKED AS A CHILD AND MY DAUGHTER IS 8MONTHS OLD NOW AND I WOULD NEVER HIT HER !! ALL THAT DOES IS TEAR DOWN HER SPIRIT AND CREATE CONFUSION AS TO WHY THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN HER LIFE WOULD HIT HER. PLUS I DONT AGREE WITH TEACHING YOUNG CHILDREN VIOLENCE . YOU CAN ALWAYS USE A CALM AND STRICT VOICE WHEN CONFRONTING YOUR CHILD ABOUT IMPROPER BEHAVIOR. TIME OUT, REDIRECTION, AND STUFF LIKE THAT WORKS JUST FINE.

Tessa - posted on 02/22/2009

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Hi Melissa

I have a black out temper so when I was pregnant my husband and I decided "no smacking". Unfortunately I must admit that each child did get the occasional wallop, but only if I had been unwise enough to say "If you do that again, I'm going to smack you' and then when the child did it again, I had to even though it wasn't that hard - otherwise they wouldn't believe any threat again.

One of the methods that worked for me was counting to 10...

Your daughter is very young, so that won't work to start with. What does work with very young children is swoop down and move them away from what they are doing - the sudden change and the firm explanation given afterwards gives them a little fright but doesn't hurt them.

Every mother usually senses what will work for her child and each child will respond differently :-) Enjoy your daughter :-)

User - posted on 02/22/2009

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We have two boys and have used the time out technique. It has worked for us, it takes patience and strength to be consistant because sometimes a time out is needed in a public place. It allows everyone (mom included) a moment to step away from the issue. When an issue arises that is larger that a time out we have taken away prized toys or videos or games sometimes for a week. Again this requires patience because you will have to explain a million times why they can't have their toy back but in the end this action continues to drive home the fact that the behavior in question is unacceptable. Our boys are nine and five and each have only been spanked once - when it seemed necessary (we do not love the idea of spanking) but I'll tell you that using that technique only in the VERY few times it seems necessary it makes a powerful statement. When you spank regularly and a larger issue arises - how do you raise the bar???

Regan - posted on 02/22/2009

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Melissa,

Hi! New to Circle of moms myself but your question caught my attention. Smacking, hitting and any sort of bullying a child makes me cringe under my skin so I'm not afraid to say where I stand on that. I think it is our responsibility as parents to "teach" our children, not "discipline" them. They learn EXACTLY what they see and unfortunately that is not always what they are told. At your daughters age and for the next several years, re-direction, re-direction, re-direction. I have an almost 4 year old and a 9 month old and they are both very well behaved children. The key is to remember that they are children. It sounds like you are going to do just great!

Another thing that comes to mind is the method they use at my daughters preschool. I wasn't so convinced at first but after watching the kids for the past two years I am on the wagon with their method. It's called the HighScope Ciriculum. Here's the link if you're interested http://www.highscope.org/ . Basically you only bring attention to the "good" behavior. If they are throwing a shoe you could hand them a soft ball and say "if you want to throw something, here is what we throw". Hope at least something here was helpful to you. Goodluck! She's a cutie!

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