How to Parent Instead of Punish

10 Feb 2016

Punishment is a popular method with parents but it is generally ineffective. When we make our kids feel bad for what they have done and we punish them, they don’t usually feel sorry for what they did, nor do they think about how to do better the next time. They usually feel angry, defensive and vengeful. Punishment is known to makes kids lie more and devise sneakier ways to do what they want to do.

So what can parents do instead?

Faber and Mazlish in their book, “How To Talk So Kids Will Listen,” outlines simple skills to help parents stop punishing and start helping their kids behave better without being punitive.

When you have asked your child for the tenth time to stop jumping on the couch, we usually yell and resort to punishment:

“If you don’t get off the couch you won’t get any dessert!”

“You can forget about going to that birthday party Sunday! You just don’t listen!”

Instead we want to:

1. EXPRESS STRONG DISSAPROVAL: I get frustrated when children jump on the couch
2. STATE YOUR EXPECTATIONS: I expect that children jump on the trampoline or the floor, not the couch
3. SHOW THE CHILD HOW TO MAKE AMENDS: You can stop jumping on the couch now and let me know what your plans are for the next time you want to jump. You can also let me know how I can help you remember the rules.
4. OFFER A CHOICE: Would you like jump on the trampoline or should we turn on the music and dance?
5. LET THE CHILD EXPERIENCE THE CONSEQUENCES OF HIS BEHAVIOR: We need to leave the living room now. You need to go play in your room. When you have time we will talk about some ideas that you may have so that the rules can be followed.

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.