Consider These 3 Factors When Disciplining Your ChildApril 7, 2015
By Nely Bergsma
Image courtesy of National Child Abuse Prevention Month and ChildWelfare.gov.
Some of us parents come from homes where we were physically disciplined, and that level of physical discipline would now be considered child abuse (we’re not just talking spanking, here). In honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we all should evaluate our physical disciplinary methods toward our children.
First, we need to acknowledge that at one point or another (and likely on many occasions), your child will push your buttons. But it’s important to remember that he or she is not causing your response. An issue that makes you feel like physically lashing out at your child may be a deep-rooted issue from your very own early years or an anger management problem that you can work on.
Some forms of physical discipline are considered child abuse, and there is a difference between the two. To ensure your methods of discipline are unquestionably not abusive, consider these options for non-physical ways to discipline your kids and for keeping your anger in check around them.
- Set parameters with your child. Begin at an early age to create behavioral expectations and establish a mutual respect between you and your child.
- Give yourself a time out. If your child is old enough to be left alone, walk just a fair distance away from them in an angry moment and slowly count to 30. If your child is younger, place him or her in a crib, playpen, or stroller and then walk just a fair distance away and count to 30. Take an additional minute or two to calm down if you need. You can then return to your child and calmly emphasize the expectations you have set between the two of you.
- Self Check. Remind yourself of those things that make you angry. Try to pinpoint the origin of these feelings. You might discover that they come from your childhood. Quickly remind yourself that you are no longer a child. Let go of any feelings of helplessness you may have felt as a child and embrace the fact that you are now an adult and are in control.
All of us enter the world of parenting affected in some way from our own childhoods, and our kids will remind us of those memories, both good and bad. We can expect our children to act out in ways that may drive us crazy at times. However, it is our responsibility as the grownup in the situation to stay as sane and in control of our emotions as possible. You are free to make choices and there is “no right way to do the wrong thing.”
You don’t want to hurt your child in any way, and the best way to avoid doing that in a difficult situation is to take a breather, follow these guidelines, and seek outside help if you feel your emotions have gotten the best of you and are at risk of hurting your child.