10 Alternatives to Spanking

8. Be flexible.
If your little one asks, "Can I just finish watching this show before we go?" be reasonable. If you have the time to spare, make room for your child's requests. This is a great way for kids to learn about the art of negotiation.

9. Drop out of power struggles.
Nothing is as frustrating or less productive as having a showdown with your little one. Invite your child to cooperate by saying something like, "I've got a problem. I want you to wear a clean shirt and you insist on wearing the same old one every day. How can we solve this problem?" Your child is more likely to cooperate if he comes up with the solution.

10. Be smart.
Parents will often deal with problems in a set manner, even if their approach isn't helping. If what you're doing isn't working, find a more effective way to handle the problem. Tip: It's much easier to change your approach than it is to change your child. Ask yourself, "What can I do differently that will inspire a better reaction from my child?"

TIP: Remember these three important rules about punishment:

  • Don't assign a punishment when you're angry
  • Don't use punishment as revenge.
  • A more severe punishment is not necessarily a better one

    Cathryn Tobin, M.D., is a pediatrician, midwife and a member of the Canadian Pediatric Society and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. Her new book The Parent's Problem Solver: Smart Solutions for Everyday Discipline and Behavior Problems was published by Random House. Dr. Tobin has been speaking on parenting issues for more than 20 years. She lives with her husband and four children in Ontario.
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