Most 21st century parents try to avoid spanking. In fact, 99% of them think that spanking signifies weakness and doesn’t solve the problem of misbehaving kids at home or at school. However, there are still a few parents who are sitting on top of the one-per cent opposition stating that their moms and dads spanked them, and it in no way prevented them from growing up perfectly normal.
Parents who think that spanking, slapping or any other physical action is the only effective way to discipline a kid in reality show their helplessness: they have no idea what else might work. However, if parents who believe in the effectiveness of spanking remembered how they felt while they were being spanked (frightened, confused, angry), they’d probably change their judgments. So how to discipline a child who misbehaves? Let’s start with the reasons why children misbehave.
Why kids misbehave: belonging and significance
It is natural for all kids to crave belonging and significance. In fact, adults have these needs too. Belonging is the need for emotional bonding and positive attention all people tend to exchange. Significance is the need to think autonomously, feel important and operate independently. If the golden section between these two needs isn’t found, your kid may start screaming and throwing tantrums all over without the obvious reason.
Possible reasons why children misbehave:
- they want your positive attention: and they will display their negative attention-craving behaviours until you do something about it
- they want power: yes, feeling important, significant (positive power) is another natural kids’ need which if not met causes tantrums and talking back
In order to know exactly how to discipline your misbehaving kid most effectively, you first need to know the root cause of the misbehaviour and then your own personality style. If your personality is non-conflicting and overall pleasing you may skip the issue to avoid shouting. If you are quite controlling, you may start ordering and strictly telling a kid what to do, how and when to do it. Neither of these ‘techniques’ is effective.
The Time Out strategy is not the best either, despite being considered great for correcting behaviour by some parents. ‘Time Out’ is when you send a child to their room or a specific ‘time out place’ where they should think about their behaviour and learn a lesson for the future. Unfortunately, Time Out doesn’t work when it’s about reaching these noble behaviour-correcting goals. Time Out only leads to further power struggle when your kid starts acting out again trying to prove you’re not their boss. So what to do then?
Positive child discipline techniques
There are solutions that show better effectiveness than ‘Time Out’ let alone spanking. What many psychologists and pediatricians recommend nowadays is the so-called strategy of effective consequences. It’s a complex of positive discipline techniques for misbehaving kids that teach your child to make better choices within the situation.
For consequences to work well and preserve respect for you in your kid they should focus on:
- learning your kid instead of hurting them: while disciplining your child learning is the key strategy; inflicting pain or shame causes self-defense
- relating your consequences (the choices you give to your child) directly to the act of misbehaviour: ‘if you throw around your toys, you will lose the benefit of playing with them for 24 hours’
- making the consequences adequate in terms of the child’s age
- letting the kid know about the consequences beforehand
- ensuring that your kid repeats the consequence for not following the rule back to you
Now that everything is clear and you even have an agreement, it’s up to your child whether to choose following the rules or living with the consequence. Even if your misbehaving kid chooses the non-appealing consequence and loses the possibility to play their toys for a day, don’t shout or get angry. Collect yourself and tell your kiddo calmly: “Looks like you’ve chosen to forget about your favourite toys today. You’ll have the opportunity to change your mind tomorrow”.