Disciplining Children Without Spanking

Author: Anne D. Walling
Date: Nov 15, 2000

(Canada--Canadian Family Physician, May 2000, p. 1119.) Pediatric experts now believe that spanking and other physical forms of disciplining children are undesirable. This has led many parents to ask family physicians to recommend effective, alternative forms of discipline. When punishing inappropriate behavior, the child, the parents and the context of the problem should be considered. The punishment should be appropriate to the behavior and understandable to the child. Preventing or discouraging bad behavior is also more effective than punishing the child. Preventive measures include avoiding situations that may cause trouble, distracting the child with positive activities, ignoring minor transgressions that have few consequences and rewarding good behavior. Placing children in "time out" is the most effective way to manage disruptive behavior once it has occurred. Parents should be consistent and fair in their interactions with children and should invest in "time in," i.e., special time each day devoted to the relationship.

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