8 Alternatives to Punishment ...


The consequence for bad behavior doesn’t have to be a time out or a grounding. There are other ways to handle the situation that are positive or teach a lesson instead. Here are 8 alternatives to punishment you can try out. Please offer any suggestions you might have of your own.

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Allow Natural Consequences

You can talk until you’re blue in the face and there are times when it just doesn’t sink in. It might be time to allow nature to take its course. Sometimes the natural consequences a child receives can be a real eye-opener. For instance, you’ve repeatedly asked your child refuses to pick up her toys out of the yard and the neighbor dog carries off her favorite doll. Your child will most likely realize you were trying to be helpful and she will learn the hard way that her toys need to be collected when it’s time to come inside for the evening.


Remove Child from Situation

A change of scenery can help quite a bit, when it comes to misbehaving. It could be the people in the room or the situation itself your child needs to be removed from. This technique works well with very small children. Older kids tend to pick on little ones, especially if they were once picked on when they were small. Taking a toddler out of the presence of taunting older children will squelch the tantrum about to ensue.


Give Your Child Choices

Offering choices allows your child to make a good decision without being told she has to make a particular choice. Headstrong kids respond very well to this alternative. It gives them a chance to feel in charge. They don’t feel like they are being made to do something they don’t want to do in the first place. If inappropriate behavior is being demonstrated at the dinner table, then the options could be; finish eating dinner or go to bed.


Make Allowances at Times

This alternative doesn’t work in all instances, but it can be useful. Telling your child what to do and when to do it can get tiring, for both of you. If possible, give in every so often. As long as you don’t make it a habit, your child won’t try to walk all over you. I used to argue with my son each night about brushing his teeth. Every now and then I’d give in and let him skip brushing his teeth for the evening. Sometimes I could still get him to swish with mouthwash, which made me feel a little bit better about him slacking on brushing for that night. Thankfully, he’s grown up to be very diligent about brushing his teeth regularly.


Teach the Golden Rule and Apply It

If you can teach your child how to treat others in a respectable manner, you might be able to squelch a lot of the bad behavior you’ve been encountering. Kids need to learn at an early age that it isn’t nice to take or break things that belong to someone else unless they are prepared to have this happen to their own things. When my son was little he smashed something of mine with a hammer. I asked him to pick out one of his things for me to smash with the same hammer. He chose an item and was very upset when I went through with the toy smashing. He still remembers that to this day. I have to admit, he does take extremely good care of his belongings, as well as those that he’s borrowed from friends.


Be a Good Role Model

Demonstrating proper behavior will help your child see the right way to act in a variety of situations. It’s much easier to show your child how to behave then it is to reprimand her behavior over and over again. This will also eliminate the need for needing to come up with any form of punishment at all.


Offer an Explanation as to Why the Behavior Isn’t Appropriate

Your child might not fully comprehend what was wrong about her behavior. Talking with her about what she did and why it was inappropriate might help her understand why you are upset. I find it better to discuss things with children then to simply get mad and send them off to the room without an explanation of any kind.


Redirect Behavior

Redirection can prevent frustration. For example, let’s say your baby keeps banging her spoon on the tray of her high chair. You could easily take it from her tiny hand, but that would send the message that it’s alright to take things away from people without asking. Try allowing her to continue the same action, but place a sponge underneath the spoon. This will deaden the sound a bit and still enable her to continue the same motion as before.

I hope these 8 alternatives to punishment prove to be useful to you. What methods have you used in the past?

Top Photo Credit: doug88888

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