If you are looking for a way out of traditional punishment, here are seven alternatives to punishment in parenting.
#1 – Explain what the problem is.
This is an example of giving information. It gives your child an opportunity to step up and do the right thing.
#2 – Share your feelings, in a kind way.
You want to express disappointment. But you also don’t want to be ugly or unkind and say something you regret. You allow your child the chance at empathy.
#3 – Set clear expectations.
It’s unreasonable to get mad when they leave their shoes in the bathroom if you have not stated clear and simple expectations about where their shoes go. Remember that clarity and repetition are persuasive.
#4 – Explain how they can make things right.
When giving the information from #1 does not work: “The front door is open.” Try the simple ask: “Would you please close the front door?”
#5 – Offer them a choice.
Make sure you are ok with both outcomes of a choice you give. For example: “Do you want to pick your room up before dinner or after dinner?”
#6 – Do not be passive.
Because if you don’t do anything, a kid will walk all over you if they can. They are boundary-pushers, after all.
#7 – Let the consequences do the teaching.
I’m not gonna lie. I love the comfort in this when it is done right. You came along beside your child in empathy and let the consequences of an action be the “bad-guy” instead of you. “You forgot your homework and got a zero?. Oh, no! I am so sorry. That is just awful. Man, I hope you don’t forget it at home next time!” Notice you didn’t run their homework to the school for them? And it’s best to do this when the consequences are palatable. You wouldn’t let a 2-year-old deal with the consequences of playing in the street for too long. Got it?
Alternatives to Punishment 1. Point out a way to be helpful. 2. Express strong disapproval (without attacking character). 3. State your expectations. 4. Show the child how to make amends. 5. Offer a choice. 6. Take action. 7. Allow the child to experience the consequences of his misbehavior.
-Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk (Amazon)