How To Talk So Kids Will Listen, Part Three

 How to Talk So Kids Will Listen (Part Three): Alternatives to Punishment (Part A)

Although many parents are aware that punishment can lead to feelings of hatred, revenge, defiance, or unworthiness, they will worry that their failure to punish their child will lead to further bad behavior. However, alternatives to punishment do not mean a child should not experience the consequences of misbehavior. Indeed, sometimes punishment doesn’t work because the child is consumed with anger rather than being forced to face their own misbehavior.

What Parents Can Do Instead

  1. Point out a way to be helpful (redirect behavior)
  2. Express strong disapproval
  3. State your expectations (“I expect my borrowed tools to be returned promptly and in good condition.”)

4 Show the child how to make amends (“A little steel wool and some oil will return my saw to its proper condition.”)

  1. Offer a choice (“We don’t run in the store. You can sit in the cart or walk next to me.”)
  2. Take action (The child still runs so Mom puts the child in the grocery cart. “I see you’ve decided to sit in the cart.”
  3. Allow the child to experience the consequences of his misbehavior (“I had to leave the store yesterday before I finished shopping. So today I am going alone.”)

Next post: Alternatives to Punishment, Part B

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