... featuring advice from our experts about how to punish kids without causing psychological harm.
A study published in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics discovered a link between adult-onset mental health disorders — including substance abuse and anxiety — and childhood physical punishment — including spanking — thereby begging the question: How should parents discipline their kids?
1. Cool down first. Never discipline when you feel angry with what your child has done. — Deborah Chelette-Wilson
2. Take a time-out. — Deborah Chelette-Wilson
4. Listen to your child. After you both have calmed down listen to what your child has to say about his/her behavior. — Deborah Chelette-Wilson
5. Understand the reason for your child's misbehavior. Armed with an understanding of your child's thinking, you may find that the misbehavior is really a reactive child engaging in a developmentally expectable behavior that needs your guidance, rather than punishment. — Deborah Chelette-Wilson
6. Tell your child what was wrong and what is right. When considering how to help the child, reassure him/her of your love and then explain why the behavior was not okay and what he/she needs to do next time. This is the behavior you want. Too often we tell children what not to do and leave off what they need to do. — Deborah Chelette-Wilson
7. Take a breath. Spanking often happens when you're so frustrated you don't know what else to do. So, take a breath, count to ten, and tell your child you need a few minutes to think it through. This will give you time to calmly think about a next step, or ask for help. (And you'll be modeling a great problem-solving technique!) — Fern Weis
8. Turn the situation into a learning experience. What you really want is for your child to learn something. Punishments (like spanking or taking something away) teach him/her to become clever at getting around you and your rules. But they don't make kids more cooperative. — Fern Weis
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