How to discipline your child without spanking or shouting

positive healthy methods of disciplining children

Positive and healthy discipline methods for your child's behaviour

If you're a parent to a toddler, child or teenager, you've most likely experienced times where you've been pushed to your limit and have responded to behavioural problems by shouting or spanking! While it's inevitable that you'll lose your patience from time to time (especially during stressful events), it's problematic when shouting becomes your normal disciplinary response.

Even though every parent has different views on disciplining their child, psychologists and many studies emphasize that shouting or spanking actually does more harm than good. Research indicates that spanking and shouting at children increases aggression, lowers self-esteem, increases the likelihood for substance abuse, increases their stress levels, lowers their IQ and makes them more likely to tolerate abusive relationships.

Disciplining your child is all about teaching your child how to manage their emotions in a healthy way and correcting bad behaviour. Shouting and spanking as a form of discipline has the opposite effect, which ultimately results in them fearing you, feeling unsafe and becoming more combative! While spanking or yelling at your child may be a quick fix, it is ineffective in correcting the undesired behaviour and they're highly likely to repeat the same patterns. In this blog, we're going to help you improve your disciplining strategies so that you can strengthen your bond with your child and raise an emotionally stable toddler, child or teenager! Remember that every child is different, so you may have to try a few different techniques to see what works best for your child!

Give warnings

Children often act out of impulse (remember that their brains are still developing) and don't always have insight into what's right or wrong - this is where parents need to step in and help them develop their logical and emotional abilities. If your child is misbehaving, make it clear that their attitude or actions are unacceptable, instead of immediately losing your cool. Inform them that if they continue to behave in that manner, they will face consequences. By giving them warnings, you're allowing them to assess their behaviour and giving them the opportunity to remedy the situation; these skills will help them in the long run!

Follow through with consequences (be consistent)

So, you've already given your child fair warning that if they continue with their misbehaviour, there will be consequences. If your child does continue to misbehave, it's extremely important for you to follow through with the consequence! Show them that you're serious about your warning and that there isn't any wiggle room for bad behaviour. If you don't follow through with consequences, children are less likely to take you seriously! Consistent discipline is imperative in improving your child's behavioural problems and teaching them that for every action, there's a reaction!

Keep in mind: Choosing the type of consequence for misbehaviour is important. Taking away all electronics for the rest of the day, or putting them in timeout until they've calmed down, is way more effective than a hiding or shouting! Of course, the consequence should be age-appropriate! 

Give timeouts 

The effectiveness of timeouts is disputed among many parents and child psychologists. Some argue that timeouts trigger feelings of abandonment, while others argue that it's a positive way to discipline your child. Research indicates that timeouts, when used appropriately, can be an effective consequence. Instead of using timeouts to punish the child or 'banish' them, you can use timeouts to help your child calm down and gain some insight. By removing them from the immediate environment in which the conflict is happening, you're eliminating the cause of bad behaviour and giving them the chance to think about things.

Instead of putting them in the 'naughty corner' or locking them in their room by themselves (where they are sure to continue screaming), guide them to their bedroom (or any other room) where you can sit with them for a few minutes until they've settled down. Use this time to take deep breaths and calm yourself down, too! Once they've settled, explain to them why their behaviour is not okay and how they could have behaved instead. Remember, your role as a parent is to guide your child and help them navigate life. Shouting, banishing and hitting does exactly the opposite! Yip, nobody said that parenting would be easy..

Tip: AllisOne's Rescue Synergy are lactose-free and sugar-free tissue salts that support emotional stability in adults and children. They help to centre your energy and better manage everyday stressful situations. If your child is having a tantrum, give them 1 tablet to chew, and another one 1/2 hour later! The best part is that they're very yummy!

Take away privileges

Taking away your child's privileges as a form of consequences is a healthy alternative to shouting or spanking your child. Privileges include TV time, cell phones, favourite toys, going to a party or pocket money, to name a few.

Here are some useful tips on how to take away your child's privileges in the most effective way: "The best way to take away privileges as a form of discipline is to take away a privilege that is related to the “crime,” to take away the privilege immediately and to take away the privilege for only a short amount of time. For example, if a child throws a book, then taking away the book for the afternoon is the best. This is because it relates directly to the incident (the book in question), is short enough to remain relevant (the one afternoon) and occurred immediately (so that the child understands how the discipline is related to his/her behaviour). Instead of simply announcing that the book has been taken away, however, the parent should also explain to the child why it is being taken away, for example by saying “The book will be taken away for the afternoon so that you will remember to respect your possessions in the future.” Parents should endeavour to use vocabulary that will be easily understood by the child so that no further frustration or confusion results." - Beth Morrisey, http://www.kidsbehaviour.co.uk 

Implement positive reinforcement

Instead of putting most of your attention on correcting your child's bad behaviour, focus on praising and rewarding their good behaviour! Positive reinforcement motivates your child to do chores, follow instructions and act respectfully without arguing. There are many ways to reinforce good behavior such as giving high fives, giving hugs, clapping, taking them to their favourite play park, drawing up a star chart and verbally praising their efforts!

The reason why positive reinforcement is effective as a healthy form of discipline is fairly simple and comparable to adults going to work. Although we may not necessarily want to go to work every day, we do it because we want that pay check at the end of each month. We work even harder when we want a promotion or if we're trying to save up for a new car, etc. Children are no different. Children who receive positive responses to their good behaviour are more motivated to keep working hard! It's also important for parents to be consistent with positive reinforcement - if you stopped receiving your monthly pay check, would you continue going to work?

Take care of your child's emotional health

Children are mostly resilient, adapt easily and are happy-go-lucky. However, don't take that statement for granted! While that is the typical stereotype of children, many children, on the other hand, suffer from childhood depression, are a victim of bullying at school, have gone through some sort of trauma, are ADHD or struggle in school. If your child's mental state is disturbed, they're likely to develop chronic behavioural problems that follow them into their adulthood, if left unresolved!

Here are our top tips to ensure emotional health in children:

  • Diet: Ensuring that your child receives sufficient nutrients on a daily basis plays a huge role in both their physical health and emotional well-being! A good diet leads to increased vitality, improved moods and better brain functioning, allowing them to succeed in every aspect of their lives. Combine a healthy diet with a dairy-free, gluten-free, wheat-free and preservative-free daily multivitamins, such as Kangavites. Kangavites contain all of the vitamins and minerals a child needs for healthy brain functioning and total well-being in a yummy chewable tablet! 
  • Depression: Depression is often associated with an imbalance in certain neurotransmitters in the brain, especially serotonin. In children, this is often caused by stress, but may also be hereditary or linked to disorders like Autism or other developmental disorders. MindSoothe Jr is an all-herbal natural treatment for depression, anxiety, aggression and mood disorders in children.
  • Trauma or shock: Emotions tend to be very volatile in little ones and they are still learning the skills to deal with frustration and disappointment. This means that even the smallest of events can cause them untold amounts of distress. You can help meltdowns by holding your child and keeping your voice soft and steady - don’t tell your child to be quiet or to stop crying as this will probably cause children to cry for longer in frustration. Mom’s Magic Trauma Sprinkles are an effective natural remedy for any type of childhood shock or trauma such as emotional fright, physical trauma or even just when they're uncontrollably upset! These pleasant tasting granules will immediately soothe and calm your child PLUS promote healing after physical injury. 
  • Anxiety: Children who suffer from anxiety and nervousness often worry about many things and tend to get worked up about even the smallest of things. Because children are not very good at articulating their feelings, parents may interpret their symptoms of anxiety as being rude or acting out. This is why it's important for parents to maintain an open line of communication with their children, and pay attention to their emotional well-being! K-OK KiddieCalmer is a 100% homeopathic formula which has been developed with care by our Clinical Psychologist for shy children or those with anxiety, nervousness or separation issues. Along with a positive approach to parenting shy and sensitive children, K-OK KiddieCalmer can make all the difference to a shy and nervous child.  
  • ADD/ADHD: ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a group of symptoms that affect concentration and a person's ability to focus. It can also cause mood swings, impulsiveness, behavioural and other social problems. Children with these problems have difficulty in completing their school work and due to behavioural problems like hyperactivity and impulsivity, are often in trouble with parents and teachers. If not managed correctly, this often leads to low self esteem and other behavioural problems later in the teenage years. BrightSpark is a 100% homeopathic formula which has been developed with care by our Clinical Psychologist for children with hyperactivity and behaviour problems associated with ADHD, without the risk of addiction, drowsiness and other side effects! It is highly recommended along with Focus Formula - a herbal remedy and brain tonic for ADHD formulated to assist with brain health, concentration and mental clarity. 

Which discipline method works for YOUR child? Let us know in the comments below!

If you have any health questions, please contact us for FREE advice, or leave a comment below. Our team always loves hearing from you!

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