7 ways to discipline your child without beating


Many parents think that beating, slapping or hitting is the correct way to prevent undesirable behaviour or to punish unwanted behaviour among children. Hitting a child is NOT an effective method of parenting. Hitting, slapping, beating, “thumping”, pinching or “boxing” a child only reinforces violence. IT IS ABUSE.

Some children are afraid of this abuse and it may seem to the parent that this method is working. Unfortunately the only thing that physical punishment teaches a child is that violence is an acceptable way of solving a problem.

Some children soon get used to the physical punishment and it means nothing to them. Other children may rebel and act out against this harsh treatment. Sometimes parents cause serious physical and emotional damage to their children when they use corporal punishment.

As an adult, just imagine how you would feel if someone tried to correct your behaviour by hitting you!!! Don’t you think your child has feelings just like you do?

Providing discipline and guidance to your child should not mean punishing your child. There are different ways to teach your child the lessons in acceptable behaviour that you want them to learn.

1. Set the right example for your child. 

Children learn by example. They watch you and follow what you do. If you set rules, you must also follow them. You must use language that you would want to hear your child use and behave in the way you would want them to behave. If you want your child to use please and thank you, practise those rules yourself.

2. Let your children help you as you set the rules for the family.

Get them involved in deciding what is and is not acceptable and what should be done when the rules are broken. In this way, children will understand clearly what behaviour is required and they will feel that they have a say in the family rules.

3. Time-Out

If your child does something wrong, give them a time-out: that is make them sit in a quiet place away from others. A time-out gives you time to cool off and also gives the child time to think about his behaviour. After the time-out discuss the problem with the child.

4. Deny them things they like

Taking away something the child likes is another option if your child has misbehaved. You can take away a favourite toy or snack for a time or prevent them from playing with friends for a particular period. Again it is important to have a discussion with the child about his or her behaviour and reinforce what is acceptable in the family and why it is acceptable.

5. Praise your child when he or she does well.

Reward good behaviour and let your child know how proud he or she makes you when they behave well. Show your children lots of love generally to help them feel secure and to build trust. A child who does not trust his parents or does not feel confident enough to talk freely with them can be difficult to deal with.

6. Spend time with your children.

Get to know them. Communicate with them. Try to find out what their concerns and problems are. Encourage them to speak freely with you.

7. Seek help.

If you feel that parenting is challenging and that you cannot provide discipline for your child, please seek help. There are many counsellors, teachers and social workers who can help you work with your child. Don’t resort to hitting or beating. There are other, more effective solutions to the problem.

By Kwabena Boateng based on UNICEF Jamaica article.