Parents share alternatives to corporal punishment that work

All Woman

UNFORTUNATELY, corporal punishment remains entrenched in our culture. Most of us were raised by parents who lived by the aphorism that sparing the rod meant spoiling the child. But even in the face of legal advocacy and reports from children's specialists on the damaging effect of the practice, some parents continue to flout the law and research findings.

On the bright side, though, more parents are abandoning the degrading, abusive practice, and are looking for alternative ways of disciplining their children. Even as many of these methods do not provide the “quick-fix” corporal punishment affords, five parents share methods that they have found to be effective in disciplining children, without having to resort to spanking them.

Monique, 35, nurse:

I simply revoke all TV/gadget privileges. My Netflix and YouTube addicted six-year-old dreaded this more than the naughty corner and even withholding allowances. So it's always my go-to method to get my son in line.

Trisanna, 31, veterinarian:

In our house, there is a system of points. Outside of the embarrassment that comes with scoring low and losing points, kids lose chances of rewards. So it's like a game of snake and ladder — good behaviour can get you up the chart quickly, but poor behaviour can cause you to return to the very start. This usually motivates our kids to right their wrongs and/or never break rules or misbehave in the first place, because who wants to walk the walk of shame or miss out on all the goodies that come with being a model kid? Thank God, none of mine do.

Paul, 48, contractor:

I am not a father that beats; that's not my thing, but with four boys you know you have to find some strong punishment for them. Their mother is with them the most and so she decides most about the punishment, but one of the things that we do is time out. We don't always treat the matter aggressively, I will just say, “You know what's best for you, go breeze out”, and breeze out means going to a quiet space for an hour or so to deal with whatever issues influenced his poor behaviour. We also withhold privileges — not just for gadgets, but, for example, you don't use the washing machine, you get cracking with those hands, and just about every chore becomes all the way manual. Their mom will go as far as to give them a piece of cloth to mop the floor.

Ian, 29, taxi driver:

I just don't give my youth them what they ask for when they misbehave; that is how life is. You put in good work, you get a reward, of you are lackadaisical then you get what the duck get. Once you behave and it is in my budget, then they can get anything that they need. I will even go the extra mile once you deserve a reward. At home, my babymother takes away their phones and tablets, sometimes up to a week before they can even touch them depending on the seriousness of what they did.

Jody, 33, accountant:

Rules, rules and more rules. I don't only expect things from my children, I make the rules known. These rules never change, there is no compromise on rules and they know that if they break these rules then there are consequences. Being consistent and not getting soft no matter how many puppy dog eyes you get is the only way to make sure that these rules are effective.




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