8 Alternatives to Using Punishing Discipline with Your Child

We all lose our cool and have our limits. Our children will inevitably push us to those edges, where we are tempted to react, say or do something that we later regret, try one of these instead...

  1. Take a pause yourself: disengage yourself, sit down, feel your feet on the floor, take 5 deep breaths and try again. No good will come from us in 'react mode' with our nervous system in fight, flight.

  2. Use Humour: sometimes you can completely shift the energy by using humour. Stamp your feet and yell 'I'm so mad'....your child will probably laugh, and so will you!

  3. Connect before you redirect: instead of saying, 'put on your shoes were going right now', come join them in their space, see what it is they are doing, take a moment with that, make a comment about it and then redirect their attention to the next task. You'll be much more likely to get cooperation.

  4. Find a way to say yes: 'you can't play with the bath toys in the toilet, but we can use a bucket in the sink and take those dinosaurs for a swim'.

  5. Don't sweat the small stuff: Is it really a big deal if they don't wear their socks in their boots for that errand to the store? the natural consequence of that is possibly a blister, which will naturally teach them to perhaps not do that in the future!

  6. Be specific about our requests: if we say clean your room, sometimes that's overwhelming to a child, but saying 'I want you to pick up all your blocks and put them back in that bucket', that can help them to wrap their head around clean-up.

  7. Acknowledge feelings: if your child is frustrated and not cooperating, rather than bypassing their feeling and trying to barrel ahead with the task, name and acknowledge the feeling. 'It looks like you're really frustrated right now Sam, can mommy help you tie your shoe?'

  8. Make whatever you are doing a game: kids respond to fun and games. Made up songs can make clean-up or leaving the house fun, using a stopwatch for older kids for clean-up can make it a game and fun, 'who can put the lego back the fastest'.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you tried something new and it worked!