Proper Kinesthetic/Tactile Consequence
Let me stress this, if you are out of control angry, frustrated and overwhelmed because your 15 month-old is screaming in the backseat for the sippy cup they just threw down for the tenth time, this is NOT the time to administer a slap on the hand. There is a difference between teaching our children what “no” means and showing what the consequence is for not listening and dad just wanting his way and wanting the madness to stop. They are very different scenarios: one is in your child’s best interest and one is in yours.
Therefore, let’s get into the ground rules. Remember I’m referring here to punishments for toddlers, not children over three.
A fool gives full vent to his anger,
But a wise man keeps himself under control.
Use your words first, come down to your child’s level, grab his hands and say a firm, “No”. Don’t ever scream at your toddler. This is abusive. When you are out of control with anger and lost your patience (and we can get there) calm yourself before administering any discipline. Your toddler’s world is out-of-control when mommy and daddy’s world is out-of-control, which equals confusion, which equals lack of trust in their world.
- Get down on your child’s level and use a lower voice when saying, “No”, (if you’re a woman).
- If the bad behavior continues, calmly tell him that if he does not stop immediately you will have to slap his hand- if you have anger management issues, removing the toddler from the area is a better option than going to the lesson at this point. When they get older, you will be able to instill time-outs.
- If the behavior still does not stop, put his hand in yours and give him one slap on the hand (diapered bottoms are ineffective- it is like watching a reality show- pure waste of time).
- If he looks at you and smiles, you have clearly not gotten the message across and must repeat a little harder.
- If he cries, pick him up, do not apologize. State in a soothing, yet firm voice that he must listen to you.
I must add two amendments. Before you give any kinesthetic punishment, you must always warn them first, “If you don’t stop, Daddy will slap your hand.” This gives them the opportunity to stop before the consequence. Never, never, never, ever slap the hand or bottom out of no-where. This will instill distrust and fear in your child.
Second amendment: If your child’s bad behavior involves something dangerous like running away from you in a parking lot or jumping out of the car seat while you are still driving, there is no time for these rules. You must spring right into action with the hand slap AND a very firm verbal warning to never do that again. If you’re not using physical action- use the sternest voice you have in your tool belt. Some parents have been actually confined to their homes because they they do not have a handle on their child’s dangerous behavior- or worse yet, just allow them to drive in a car without a seatbelt. Now how is this helping anyone to grow wise?
Word to the Wise:
The least amount of energy going into disciplining the better.
This means that your child gets very little attention
when she least deserves it.
- Discipline needs to be clear (right to the point)
- Quick (no second guessing and hesitating)
- Consistent (the punishment always fits the crime).
If you effectively get your point across, the behavior will eventually stop. If it continues, you are doing something wrong. Children understand discipline; parents do not always know how to implement it. This isn’t rocket science, don’t play it out in your brain as if it were. Read on.
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge
But he who hates correction is stupid.
Let me be clear again. Spankings are not to be our first choice, except in very dangerous circumstances. Spankings are not for older children and they must never be administered in anger. Take another look at my ground rules. Spankings should also never be administered in the middle of a restaurant or any public place. This is humiliating and embarrassing for your child. Take them into a private place and wait until they calm down to return to your seat.
Word to the Wise:
Take note on your child’s behavior after a much needed spanking.
They are remorseful and cooperative.
This means you remedied the situation
and there is no need for guilty feelings.
Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers,
And blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.