Spanking as a form of punishment for a child is a widely debated topic. While it may seem like the fastest and most effective way to change their behavior, it could lead to long-term consequences later in life. There are alternative methods to spanking including properly giving a time-out, taking away privileges, and reinforcing positive behavior.


Give Them a Time-Out

Placing your child in a time-out offers them the space to calm down and understand the effects of the situation by being isolated. If done correctly, this will encourage them to fix their behavior as the lack of attention will be uncomfortable for them. The purpose of a time-out is to give the child an opportunity to pause in a situation that has caused unacceptable behavior.


Important Factors of a Time-Out

Don’t Elicit An Object or Space: A parent’s biggest mistake in administering a time-out is making the corner, chair, or length of time the focal point in receiving the punishment. The main focus of time-out is the withdrawal of parent’s attention. As such, the chosen time-out space could be any boring place depending on child’s age, be it the mother’s lap (with the child’s back to his or her mom’s face), a playpen, or even a bedroom.

Don’t Talk Too Much: The second mistake parents make is after soliciting a time-out, they begin engaging with their child. Warnings tend to be counterproductive, as the only way for a child to begin to correct their behavior is when they are isolated. The discomfort of a time-out for a child is the withdrawal of your attention. This is especially effective with children between the ages of 2 and 5, as their parents’ affection is very important for them.


Take Privileges Away

By the time a child reaches the age of 6 or 7, time-outs are not as effective. At this age, the child begins to overthink a timeout. A better approach would be to take away privileges that are associated with the problem. For example, if your child refuses to turn off the TV when asked, they lose access to it for awhile. Typically 24 hours is an acceptable amount of time for a child to learn from their mistakes.


Reinforce Positive Behavior

When a parent uses this method, they are providing something that will increase the chances of recreating certain desired behaviors. When a child receives praise and positive reinforcement, this will produce long-term benefits and help children learn helpful habits that they can use later in life.  

For more useful information like this, or to check out the services we offer at Novel Pediatric Center, check out our website.

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