Alternatives to punishment

Parental influence on children in the first 12 years of their lives have a permanent effect. Unfortunately, children come with no user manual. Each child is different from the other. Discuss how to handle emotional and educational needs of your child here.

Alternatives to punishment

Postby Skippy » Mon Jul 27, 2009 7:16 am

[Editor's note: Topic selected and edited for Portal publication.]

I often hear parents say "I don't want to do what my parents did, I don't want to inflict physical and emotional harm on my kids, but I want them to understand right and wrong with a different process". What can I do instead of punishment that results in positive outcomes for both parent and child?

Kids start to resent parental authority, become depressed and unhappy and eventually break the bonds with their parents when punishment is damaging and harsh. It breaks down a loving relationship and then parents wonder why their child hardly talks to them. Name calling can cause emotional damage which you cannot see through a bruise - I call these tattoos on the soul :( and could be even worse than the smack.

Aletha Solter shows us about twenty alternatives to punishment, so will share a few with you to get you started!

Look at the needs of the kid: When you are taking kid out for an appointment, take some toys/book with you, especially when you have to wait in ques in Singapore, how boring for the child ! If your going to be out past meal times, take a snack or sandwich, drinks and fruit. A small cushion so they can fall asleep on the bus/taxi/mrt.

Give Reasons/find alternatives: If the child plays with toys in the middle of the kitchen whilst you are cooking, explain to the child why you need her/him to move into the lounge room or to another place. Your on the phone and your kid is yelling, pause and say "Mummy is on the phone, I need you to stop yelling please, do you understand"? Do this without raising your voice or your modelling what you just told her not to do! Better still, before you make a call, ensure your kid has something interesting to focus on. If your child is colouring all over the walls, explain why we use paper and direct child to where you want the activity done.

Environment changes: Your kid messes up the arrangement on the lounge table e.g. flowers - just remove it to a higher place. Continues to blow a whistle whilst you are talking to a guest, observe the toys you put out for her/him to play with when socialising has to take place. Your teens like to put their feet up on the table, get an ottoman instead.

Demonstrate: If your child pulls the dogs tail, show her/him how to pat/stroke her pet instead, pokes the new baby's eyes, show your child how to stroke the baby's arms and kiss baby's fingers instead.

Provide choices that are not confusing: When you give a kid 8 choices for breakfast, she/her are likely to get confused and say 'don't want that' - instead "Do you want eggs or muffins for breakfast"? "Would you like to shower first or brush teeth"? "I have toast or cereal, which one do you want"? or offer your child 2 choices you know she/he loves.

Talk: Before you have a dinner party or guests, seat your child down and chat about the behaviour you would like them to display. Be specific. "When Aunty Fay and Uncle Tim come over, I don't want you running around yelling and screaming." add "If you need something, come and ask me. Do you understand Jessica?". Again, tone is important without threats. If your child is upset, take 5 minutes and sit down and work it out together. Listen to your child's reasons before you pounce yours onto the child. If the child has done something wrong, explain why it is wrong and what behaviour you expect "I didn't like it when you yelled at me in the bank, I don't yell at you so I really would like you not to do this again. I prefer that you talk to me". "I get annoyed when you leave your towel on the bathroom floor after your shower, I want you to please put it on the towel rack after you finish". Using 'I' messages does not blame the child like 'you always leave your towel on the floor, I just hate it' - see the difference? It's more respectful and more productive to voice what behaviour you do want !

Tantrums: Remove kid from the situation and stay with the child, holding the child lovingly until it dies down, or if he/she hits out, stay close so they don't injure themselves e.g. child is on the floor of the supermarket crying/yelling, stay close to child without chatting until she has stopped. Then pick up child in a close hug. Use the time to listen, share feelings quietly after the yelling has stopped. The whole market does not need to hear you chat with her.

One of my own here: An anger pillow. If the child needs to express anger, I had a bright yellow cover on this pillow on a bean bag and they could go to their room and give the pillow a good punch until they felt better ! This worked well with my sons who could gage their anger rising and they would rush to their rooms, punch the big pillow, come back and say "I'm read to talk about it now".

Review your high expectations: Wanting kids to sit quietly for too long is a good example of high expectation (I still can't do it! LOL), waiting in a que for 20 min is too long if they have nothing to do, wanting their rooms to always be perfect, wanting them to get high grades in school ALL THE TIME, seeking perfection when we know it does not exist, yet expecting it from our kids. Accept and love your kid/s for who they are and don't keep waiting for them to become something that even you find hard to become!

Time out: No! not for the kid, for you !! Remove yourself from the situation, call a friend, take a bath, ask dad to take over for 20 minutes, deal with it later, child care for half a day so you can rest if your sleep deprived or ask a friend relative to babysit. Delay a chat with your teen if you are too angry, it will come out all wrong!

Lastly, consequences: Stop nagging! Kid forgets his umbrella, comes home wet. Kid has learned something from the experience, next day your kid is more likely to say "I better take my umbrella to school today". If your kid doesn't, guess what? he's going to get wet again" ! When we use too much of control we don't allow them to make their own mistakes and learn from them, the way we do. Forgot your homework? Teacher will provide consequences. You have provided a gentle reminder, a clean space for working, a reminder board etc so you've set your child up to succeed. If unsure about nagging? Just think, if I don't nag her about (whatever) what will she/he learn from this?

I hope you enjoy these tips and let me know if any of you found it useful or would like to add some alternatives !

Skippy who dislikes bruises on the outside and the inside !! Yeah to alternatives, roll them out !!

Skippy
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Re: Alternatives to punishment

Postby RRMummy » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:20 am

Skippy wrote: I call these tattoos on the soul :( and could be even worse than the smack.

Skippy who dislikes bruises on the outside and the inside !! Yeah to alternatives, roll them out !!


:goodpost: Hi Skippy I like the above two phrases! Thanks for sharing your many good posts.

:celebrate:

RRMummy
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Postby KS_me » Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:06 pm

Hi Skippy,

Thanks for sharing!

I've copied thise and emailed it over to my "very strict" hubby...

Hope can wake him up!

KS_me
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Postby Funz » Mon Jul 27, 2009 3:52 pm

there are things that my parents did as a form of discipline that I will emulate and there are things that I will not want to follow. I will say they are typical parents of my generation. Firm, with little encouragement given and a lot of criticisms. My dad believe in nipping whatever misbehaviour in the bud instead of letting us push the boundaries to the point of no return. When we were very young, below 8 or 9 yrs old, we do taste the cane but thereafter, as far as I can remember, he will scold but in the end, he will always say, at the end of the day, you are the one who will have to live with the consequences so go think long and hard about it.

I am not beyond spanking my kids but there are no canes in my house. And spanking is really reserved for very bad behaviour or behaviours that causes a danger to themselves or others. But I believe in lots of encouragements and praises and positive criticism. And in whatever forms of discipline there must always be an explanation as to why they are being punished.

Frankly speaking, I have at some point or another tried some of the alternatives similar to those Aletha Slother's alternatives. But I can only say easier said then done. Like providing choices, I have always done that but many a times, they will come up with a 3rd choice and can get quite adamant about it. And I have learned long ago to pre-empt both my kids and telling them what to expect and what is to be expected of them but things do not always go as plan. And the 1 constant advise in any parenting books, etc, is never lose your cool. Which lead me to totally agree with the time out of the parents point. You need to time yourself out in order to keep your cool.

Funz
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Hug A Monkey

Postby buds » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:12 pm

Skippy wrote: One of my own here: An anger pillow. If the child needs to express anger, I had a bright yellow cover on this pillow on a bean bag and they could go to their room and give the pillow a good punch until they felt better ! This worked well with my sons who could gage their anger rising and they would rush to their rooms, punch the big pillow, come back and say "I'm read to talk about it now".


A comfort pillow can also work as opposed to an anger pillow.
I watched a kiddie show with the kids titled "POKO". In this show,
each time Poko (a boy) gets frustrated either with himself or his
dog, he blows into his tuba.... one big loud sound. And if he's still
angry, there will be children's voices in the background suggesting
he try other things and one of it was' "Hug a monkey!" Poko has a
toy monkey that he drags with him wherever he goes.... whether
for gardening or when Poko role plays with his other toys. And a
narrator's voice can be heard asking him thereafter, "Do you feel
better now, Poko?" This i find is a good soft approach relayed to
children in story form with fantastic illustrations.

buds
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alternatives to punishment

Postby Skippy » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:10 am

Funz
Lovely feedback, you seem to be doing very well. Yes we have to see what works and give it a good go before we give up. If we give up too easily on any new approach, the child will sense this immediately !

As for choices, yes kids will come up with a 3rd and a 4th and a 5th, does not mean the parent has to say yes. Parents who operate with fear of not giving the child what they want may give in to avoid an argument, but you can be assertive without being aggressive and say "actually there are only 2 choices today and you are asked to choose one" (add your reasons as they absorb these well like "mummy is busy in the morning when she works but I can sure make you pancakes on the weekends" - and if they don't, it's their choice to have it or go without it. I always said to my kids "I can give you your needs most of the time but not always your wants" "i want this, I want that" !! LOL Skipyy

Skippy
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Re: Hug A Monkey

Postby RRMummy » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:34 am

buds wrote:A comfort pillow can also work as opposed to an anger pillow.
I watched a kiddie show with the kids titled "POKO". In this show,
each time Poko (a boy) gets frustrated either with himself or his
dog, he blows into his tuba.... one big loud sound. And if he's still
angry, there will be children's voices in the background suggesting
he try other things and one of it was' "Hug a monkey!" Poko has a
toy monkey that he drags with him wherever he goes.... whether
for gardening or when Poko role plays with his other toys. And a
narrator's voice can be heard asking him thereafter, "Do you feel
better now, Poko?" This i find is a good soft approach relayed to
children in story form with fantastic illustrations.


Very cute.. is it a new movie? Wonder if I could still get a hold of this movie for my kids.. :wink:

RRMummy
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Daily! On OKTO!

Postby buds » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:43 am

It's a half-hour TV series for kids!
I highly recommend! It's on now,
on OKTO! Daily programme from
11:30am to 12:00nn.

Image

First steps, first friendships. Poko is a stop-motion animation preschool
show that will have young children glued to their seats and laughing out
loud, while at the same time learning simple strategies to help them cope
with everyday childhood frustrations and mishaps. Poko is a light-
hearted, fun loving preschooler who, together with his favourite stuffed
animal, Mr. Murphy, and his mischievous canine pal, Minus, actively
explores and discovers the world around him.

New for Season II, Poko welcomes new friend Bibi, and her stuffed lamb,
Lambert. It's a Poko playdate and everyone is invited to share the fun!

I love it when the child narrators
all chant the usual...

"Hug a monkey, hug em' tight...
Hug it till you feel all right..." :wink:

Cute, right?

There's also Little Princess after Hi-5.
I think we can check if they have it on
DVD (compilation) like other kiddie series. :wink:

Little Princess oso best, cos as the title speaks
for itself... she is one princess.... hehee...
The little brat kind. And the story takes kiddies
through her journey with supporting adults in
the castle, her mommy & daddy who are of
course the queen & king, plus a line of servants,
gardener, chef and all... who guide her to be the
good little princess without punishing her for her
endless "I WANT! I WANT!" antics! Also available
in children's book series like those seen below!

Image

Clever and entertaining, "The Little Princess" series is ideal for your
children. All toddlers and twos can relate to wanting their own way and
what happens when they don't get it. Easy to turn pages are perfect for
small children as they learn to turn the pages and pretend to read the
story to themselves or with friends.
Last edited by buds on Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:56 am, edited 2 times in total.

buds
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Re: Daily! On OKTO!

Postby schellen » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:47 am

buds wrote:It's a half-hour TV series for kids!
I highly recommend! It's on now,
on OKTO! Daily programme from
11:30am to 12:00nn. There's also
Little Princess after Hi-5. Can check
if they have it on DVD like other kiddie
series. :wink: Little Princess oso best,
cos as the title speaks for itself... she is
one princess.... hehee... very little brat
kind. And the story takes kiddies through
her journey with supporting adults in the
castle, her mommy & daddy who are of
course the queen & king, plus a line of
servants, chef and all... who guide her to
be the good little princess without punishing
her for her endless "I WANT! I WANT!" antics!
Also available in children's book series.


What time is Little Princess on? I'd like to see her animated form and hear her go "I Want My Dinner....please." :lol:

schellen
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Postby buds » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:59 am

Okay, i'll keep time today and let you know.
Parents with full day school going kiddies can
opt to record the series with yer DVD recorders.

buds
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