As a last resort, parents may feel like they have no other choice other than to use spanking or other forms of corporal punishment because (in the moment) it feels like the fastest and most effective way to change your child’s behavior.
The disciplinary choices you make today have serious consequences on your child, your child’s behaviors and their ability to relate to others.
Harsh forms of physical and/or verbal discipline like corporal punishment are harmful and ineffective – it actually makes behaviors worse – here’s why:
- It sends a mixed message – children don’t understand why it’s OK for you to hit and yell, but not OK for them to do so to express their anger.
- Children treated aggressively learn to be aggressive with others, handling conflict by modeling the punishment they’ve received.
- It’s a vicious cycle – more harsh punishment = more problem behaviors.
- Children become desensitized to punishments – you’ll see less and less immediate behavior change you saw the first time.
- Children learn to fear the punisher, as opposed to learning what they did wrong so they may avoid that behavior with ONLY you.
- Children learn to lie and hide mistakes or misbehaviors to avoid being punished – there is no incentive for telling the truth.
- Punishments that shame and embarrass your child are internalized – your child will see themselves as the problem (vs. the behavior as the problem) affecting self-image and self-esteem.
- Children quickly pick up on empty threats – why should they comply when they know you won’t follow through, or nothing left to take away.
- When the punishments doesn’t fit the crime – harsh physical and/or verbal discipline will NEVER feel fair or justified to a child. It will add to your child’s anger and make behaviors worse.
How to discipline without forceful verbal or physical punishment:
Discipline that aims to control behavior is going to backfire. Discipline that aims to TEACH skills and desired behaviors will create lasting change by helping your child learn from their mistakes.
Using the resources provided below, you will find step-by-step guides to learn a wealth of effective discipline methods that will change a child’s disruptive and oppositional behaviors in the immediate moment AND in the long term.
- A resource guide on how to respond to your children
- An overview of the effective tool, 1, 2, 3, magic!
- Strategies for Managing Defiance and Non Compliance
- Planning Rewards and Consequences worksheet
- Positive Discipline Guide
- How to Use Time Outs
- How to Use Gentle Discipline Techniques
- Positive Parenting Guidebook
This information is available as an easily downloadable, clickable PDF on the Child Guidance Resource Centers’ website.