I have never been in favor of smacking children, even though the bible mentions it. But unfortunately I can’t say that my girls never have gotten a slap, but it has really been more reserved for special circumstances like when they kept going on and on with wrong behaviour despite warnings or they had done something absolutely crazy or dangerous or other situations where I felt really desperate enough, like them making loads of noise in the night when we were staying in someone elses house.
Unfortunately, children are children and they don’t always listen or sometimes do something naughty or bad.
When Ixora was 2 and we were living on our own, I started to use the time out method. When she repeatedly would not listen, I would send her in time out in the hall. Then we moved to Ireland and moved in with others and in cases like that I don’t feel that I can use that method well because the child might protest and cry and that would make me feel really bad that I would disturb someone in the house. So I don’t feel that I can discipline well around others. And later I did not think about this method anymore. Years later I happened to see a few episodes of Super nanny and I liked her ideas of time out and over the years I have tried it a few times but I never really kept using it.
The time out method also came up when I talked to a parenting expert but again I was living with other people at that stage, so I could not really use it.
At a certain stage, I started using a countdown when the girls did not want to listen. I then say : ’ I ‘m counting till 5. ‘ and then I started counting ; 1, 2, 3,…….And for some reason, that really started to work. I used it a lot and it helped me get the required result: make them stop doing what I don’t want them to do and/or start listening to me.
We are now living on our own and a while back, I started to use the stairs as a place for time out.
It has turned out to be a good way to ‘punish’ the girls. It especially helped me a lot when I would be really angry. When you are angry, you have to be careful that you don’t react by slapping. But I noticed that the stairs really helped me. Sending them to the stairs just felt enough. There would be no problem for them ‘sitting their time out ‘ either, because they knew that they had done something wrong and that you were angry at them and they didn’t mind sitting in time out to think things over and to get ready to repent and say sorry.
Because I guess that is really what it is about. That the child gets the chance to calm down, think things over and then gets to discuss the issue with the parent, say sorry and receive forgiveness from the parent. All with the hope that they will learn from it and that the next time, they won’t do it again or that they will listen more quickly.
The girls are getting more used to the stairs now since I am using it more and more.
I use it for instance when certain rules are not being followed. Yovannah sometimes has a hard time to control her emotions and then she can scream really loud and throw a chair on the floor.
Then I say; ‘You know that that is not allowed in here’ and then I send her to sit on the stairs.
So I am not really using the same method from super nanny. I also normally don’t leave them on the stairs for a long time. It is a correction method, a principle : ‘You are not following the rules, so you need to live with the consequences.’
I lately added other forms of punishment though, like no dessert or not allowing them on play dates for a while. I see that it seems to help, so I’m really pleased with that. Slaps are really very rare and even though some people might think differently about slapping, I personally feel better disciplining this way ; through time outs and taking certain privileges away.
What is your favourite method to discipline your children ? What works best for you ?
I would love to hear from you.