There are different schools of thought on spanking your child. Some radically oppose any form of corporal punishment, while others believe in the adage 'Spare the rod, spoil the child.' While it is true that children need to be disciplined and spanking does help achieve that end, studies have proven that children who have been subjected to corporal punishment have low self-esteem and grow into insecure individuals.
Spanking is the means to an end - which is discipline. So wouldn't you rather find a way to discipline your child without resorting to 'the rod'? Here are 7 alternatives.
Think a step ahead
If you're going to be standing for a long time in a queue, it's downright unfair for you to expect your child to stand quietly by your side. Anticipate situations that may lead to tantrums, and try and prevent them. Carry a colouring book and some crayons so your child will be otherwise occupied as you go about your work, and she doesn't keep pulling at your arms begging you to leave.
Instead of giving threats, give your child choices
If your child is misbehaving at the dinner table - banging her spoon on the plate or some such thing, instead of saying something like "The next time you do that, I'll send you to your bedroom," ask your child if she would like to eat in her room, where she could bang her plate all she wants, or with everyone else in the dining room, where she would have to stop misbehaving.
Teach your child to learn from mistakes
If you just spank your child when he does something wrong, he may stop doing it, but that's only because he's afraid of you. On the other hand, if you teach your child account for his mistakes and to learn from them, it would stand him in greater stead. For example, if your child wreaks havoc on your neighbour's garden, you could take out your checkbook, pay the damages and proceed to give your child a spanking, or you could ask your child to apologise and to make up for his mistake by tending to the garden for a few months. Better still, you could ask your child what he could do to make up for the damages and help him come up with solutions. This way he learns accountability for his mistakes, and can help make them better.
Prepare your child for the outcome
If you want your child to switch off the television, don't barge into the room and demand that he turn it off immediately. Give him some notice. It's easier on his little system. Similarly, if he's playing in the park, warn him a little in advance before it's time to leave.
Give your child reasons
One of the more unfair lines parents dole out to their children is "Because I said so." Your children should be made to understand the reasoning of your decisions. Even if they don't agree with it, it's more satisfying if an explanation is forthcoming."
Instead of punishing your child by yelling at her or grounding her, let her do something by way of atoning for her wrong. First, explain why what she did was wrong, and then come up with a chore the two of you could do together. For example, make her clean out her cupboard, and sit with her helping her fold her clothes as she takes them out and places them neatly again in the cupboard.
Analyse your personality
Do you get angry often? Are you short on patience? Many parents have a short rein on their temper and the child bears the brunt of their fury. Lose your temper too often, and your child ceases to respect it - or you. Leave the discussion for later when both of you have calmed down.