Do you end up punishing your child for poor behaviour? What do you use? Is it taking away their iPad? Is it sending your child to their room? Is it stopping them from watching their favourite programme? A quick smack?

If punishing worked, you’d never need to punish your child twice. If punishing worked, the behaviour you don’t like would have stopped.

So is it working? I’m guessing, it isn’t! Because you’ve read this far!

When you think about it if punishing worked our prisons would be empty!

As a parent, you’re the person who should be there to love and protect your child, not hurt them. When you punish, your child is confused and resentful, and it damages the bond you have. Just think, how would you like your boss at work to punish you if you made a mistake?

The word discipline comes from the word ‘to teach.’ You discipline your child not to control them, but to help them learn how to control and manage their own behaviour.

So why do we end up punishing children? Because our parents punished us! Because fear makes children behave in the short-term. And sometimes, when our buttons get pushed, we don’t know what else to do.

Many parents come to me, as a parenting coach, to help them change how their children behave. Perhaps to tackle an angry child, siblings fighting, or perhaps a child hitting. A lot of what I cover during the sessions is to show parents how to prevent a child misbehaving in the first place. And we cover 14 alternative ways to discipline children when they test the boundaries.

Here’s one of the 14 methods:

Alternative to punishing: The ‘Learning from Mistakes’ method.

  1. You need to stay calm, and let your child time to calm down so he or she can deal with the mistake. That could be 20 minutes or a few hours.
  2. Your child needs to admit what happened and that it was a mistake. It’s ok. We all make mistakes!
  3. They need to do something nice for the person they upset to make amends. That could be a sorry note or picture or doing something helpful such as washing the kitchen floor or giving you a neck massage.
  4. Then you ask your child: ‘What can you learn from this? What would you do differently next time?’ This is the most important bit, so help them explore what they need to do if that situation happened again.
  5. Then you’re done. It’s a clean slate. You can move on. The matter is now over, and you make sure you don’t mention it again. Finito!

Remember if you want your child to learn from the mistakes they make, next time you’re tempted to punish your child, try this instead. Should you never punish your child?

child behavioural expert
The author:

Elizabeth O’Shea is a parenting specialist child behaviour expert and one of the leading parenting experts in the UK.

Need help now? Ready to explore whether investing in some tailor-made parenting sessions would be right for you and your family? Book your FREE 20-minute call with Elizabeth here

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