Alternative to spanking


I had very lax parents myself. I can remember being spanked once in my entire life. I got grounded a few times once I reached high school and for good reasons, but other than that I didn't really receive discipline much from my parents. My husbands family on the other hand is in favor of spanking; at one point I though I was too but am now against it...but still have to stifle laughs when I hear a parent say, "use your words" to a kid throwing a tantrum; maybe because I am yet to see this work.

I am in Community Nursing this semester. The placement I am at has a brochure on why you should not spank. The brochure was very informative on why you should not spank but it lacked any information on alternative ways to correct behavior/discipline. I chose not to had this out because I felt the information was not complete. Not being a parent yet myself, I did not feel equip to give alternatives if asked once the brochure was read and the client found that no alternatives were included.

Suggestions would be appreciated.

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

Humiliating children sometimes helps... ;) Also, verbal tirades and throwing things around the room can be good ways to get their attention. :chuckle

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

.....just kiddin', just kiddin'


72 Posts

Depending on the age of the child, I have found the "naughty stair" to be effective with our son, who is now 6. We started this technique after seeing a similar technique used on the TV show SuperNanny. He has to sit on the step for 6 minutes and is not allowed to move or talk during this time. We have used other discipline in the past (such as spanking) but found this to be the most effective. Oh, and the length of time is one minute for every year of their age. Other somewhat effective discipline we have used is taking away a favorite toy or activity for a while. Hope this helps.

Medic09, BSN, RN, EMT-P

1 Article; 441 Posts

Specializes in ED, Flight. Has 10 years experience.

When my kids were little, 20+ years ago, I adamantly avoided spanking. I only struck a child if they were doing someone immanently dangerous, and it was needed to stop them right away. A finger going into the electrical socket got swatted or grabbed away.

For everything not dangerous, no matter how bad/disrespectful/etc., discipline required a lot more work. I used 'time out' for instance. Now, what if the child rebels and refuses to stay put? I still remember one time when I must have physically picked up my child and put her back in 'time out' about 20 times! But another thing I wouldn't do is lock a child in their room. My job as parent was to supervise my child as much as they need. We disciplined them plenty; but not with corporal punishment or anything (like locking the door) that might intimidate or endanger them.

One thing to remember is that punishments need to communicate to the child. So the consequences you choose have to work with their age and development. Also, the child needs to get at least one chance to obey. Punishment coming down like a bolt from the blue doesn't teach them for next time. If they are told to obey, and then don't, there is at least a chance that the parent's next response will be understood and taken as a lesson.

Parents should never punish when angry. Punishment should never be vindictive or veangeful. It should be in a considered manner, with the effect on the child the goal. We shouldn't punish to somehow satisfy ourselves.

I'm pretty opinionated on this, aren't I? :icon_roll


189 Posts

Specializes in Home Health. Has 6 years experience.

I don't see a problem with corporal punishment in some instances. It worked with me. Now, I don't think a child should be spanked for every little offense, but the major offenses are to be dealt with in that manner IMO. The bottom line is that every child is different and will respond differently to varying punishment methods. If time-out works, I say go with it. If time-out doesn't work other methods, including spanking, may work.

Specializes in Neuro/Med-Surg/Oncology.

Writing punishments.

Young school age: I will not xyz . . . . .25, 50, 100 times. Think opening credits on The Simpsons when Bart is writing on the board.

Older kids: Essays on why behavior is wrong. Research on consequences of behavior. i.e. Paper on burn patients or damage from smoke inhalation for someone playing with matches. (Possibly visit a burn unit . . . . don't know if this would be a possibility with HIPAA.)

Time out for younger kids.

Saying no and redirecting as many times as it takes. (That one is a big PITA, but winds-up being effective in the long run b/c they realize you're not going to cave.)

I've swatted ds' hands, yelled at him and made him sit in the chair for turning on the stove on purpose. The little stinker waited until I was watching him (he knows he's not allowed to touch it) and turned the knob right in front of me. It was a gas stove @ dh's parents and the burner didn't ignite right away. :eek:

Taking something away that they aren't using right or aren't being "nice" to. Ds bopped Grandma in the back of the head and then wanted to play with her. No way! :nono: You can't be with Grandma until you're nice to her. That hurts her.

Specializes in Neuro/Med-Surg/Oncology.

I've swatted ds here and there and found that it hasn't been very effective. It seems like the most effective thing is making sure I follow through or "helping" do whatever I tell him. If I want him to go upstairs and he lies down on the floor with his back arched, I ignore that he's doing it on purpose and say okay lets stand-up and "help" him start walking to the stairs. When he realizes he doesn't have another choice then he usually winds-up going on his own.


2,098 Posts

Lol. The alternative styles of raising children don't work for every one.

I told my mother to shut up once in my life. My dad knocked me out (only time EVER hitting me like that). I have never even 'thought' of saying it again. It's been 19 years since.

There is a reason we use pain some times. It works...


266 Posts

When a tantrum breaks out in my household, I actually say "Calm down, use your words, or I will not listen to you" and then I walk away. It does work for us. Getting them to calm down long enough to tell you what is going through their head and then acknowledging the feeling behind it ("It's okay to be angry, but it's not okay to hit/scream/etc.") seems to work for us and I have one very strong willed child and another following not far behind.

If the situation calls for it, taking away a privelege works very well (putting a Leapster away for a few days, no t.v. for a few days, etc.). I even have been known to turn the car around on our way to a Birthday Party because of bad behavior. I DO NOT GIVE IN. I always joke that I am more stubborn than any of my children and I can hold out, even if it's not the easiest solution for me (it never is).

Good luck!

Specializes in Pediatrics.

Like others have said, it depends on the child, and the offense. I have given my boys the option of being grounded or a spanking. When they were younger if it was dangerous and needed to be stopped hands were swatted at.

When I caught my son lying, he had to write the deffinitons out of; truth, integrity, trustworthy, honor.

My other son, when he would start whining I would mimick him, sound bad that I did it, but it was effective.

I have also sent him to sit on his bed, as soon as there is a bad behavior he is told to go sit on the bed.

I think that telling children to "use their words" dosn't really work because they are children who do not have a large vocabulary and if we can not get adults to "use thier words" do you really expect a child too?

I was spanked as a child, and I believe that it works, as long as the parent who does it is not angery

Specializes in Neuro/Med-Surg/Oncology.

Stanley-I kind of remember doing that once and can't believe I lived to tell the tale either. :eek: I think I was knocked into next week. My brother said something similar during his pre-teen, wanna-be bad a-- years and my dad had him jacked-up against the wall quaking in his shoes so fast it defied gravity. He told him "That's my wife you're talking to, not one of your gosh-darned (**censored for TOS**) friends!" Things like that call for immediate, severe punishment. But it needs to be reserved for "special occasions" to preserve its efficacy.

b2tb-That's pretty much how we are (and plan to be). If ds throws something now just to be a little turd, it gets taken away. If he can't behave somewhere, we leave. At 20 months his vocabulary is kind of limited, but when he's screaming at us instead of handing us what he wants, we ignore him until he goes and gets it or getures for it. Dh and I are both hard-headed, so we kind of figured our kids would be the same. Holding-out bites sometimes, but it seems to have paid off so far.

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