An Alternate to Spanking

Spare the rod and spoil the child, a disciplining strategy most parents are trying to break away from. However, these parents often find themselves at their wits end when they have to discipline their children.

No parent wants to spank their child, but feel they have no other option.

Fact: Research states that disciplining through spanking teaches children to use acts of violence and aggression as ways for conflict resolution.

What are the alternatives to spanking?


  1. Get Calm

Cool + Calm + Composed. That should be your mantra when disciplining your child. Very often we have way too much going on at the same time. The phone is ringing, your child just broke your favorite vase, the doorbell is rang and you have dinner on the stove. If you feel you’re losing your grounding, step away from the situation and only return when you are significantly calmer, and able to think and act with clarity.

If you cannot move away from the situation take 5 slow deep breaths in and out. This will help you calm down significantly.


  1. Communicate Clearly

Parents spank their child when they don’t do something they are expected to or do something that they are not expected to.

Clearly communicate to your child what you would like them to do and not to do. While doing this maintain eye contact, a firm voice but use a soft and gentle tone. A kind and reaffirming gesture can be used too.

For example, “I would like you to play quietly while I prepare dinner for you”


  1. Consequences

This is the important life lesson you can teach your child. Teach them consequences that are logically related to their behavior. This helps teach them about responsibility.

For example, if your child breaks your favorite vase because he was playing indoors how will you react?

If you punish by spanking him he may learn to never do that again but your child did not intend to break your vase, it happened accidently. So, what will he learn from your spanking.

He will learn that he needs to hide his mistakes, blame it on someone else, lie, or simply not get caught. He may even feel he is bad or feel anger and revenge toward the parent who spanked him.

Compare that situation to a child who breaks his mum’s favorite vase and his parent says, “I see you’ve broken the vase, what will you do to repair it?” using a kind but firm tone of voice.

The child decides to take responsibility for his actions and repay it by mowing the lawn and washing the family car several times.

What does the child learn in each this situation?

That mistakes are an inevitable part of life and that he must take responsibility to repair the mistake. In this situation the focus is taken off the mistake and put on taking responsibility for repairing it. The child feels no anger or revenge toward his parent. And most importantly the child’s self-esteem is not damaged.

When you spank a child, he may behave because he is afraid to get hit again. However, do you want your child to behave because he is afraid of you or because he respects you?


  1. Choices

Give your child a choice or an option for an alternate behavior. If she is playing with her mobile phone at the dinner the table ask, Would you like to stop playing with your mobile phone or would you like to leave the table?” If your child continues to play with her phone, you use kind but firm action by helping her down from the table. Then tell her that she can return to the table when she is ready to eat her food without playing with her phone.


  1. Withdraw from Conflict

Children who sass back at parents may provoke a parent to slap. In this situation, it is best if you withdraw from the situation immediately. Do not leave the room in anger or defeat. Calmly say, “I’ll be in the next room when you want to talk more respectfully


Parents are more prone to use spanking when they haven’t had any time to themselves and they feel depleted and hurried. So, it is important for parents to take some time for themselves to exercise, read, take a walk or pray.


Reference: Kvols, K. (n.d.). 9 Things To Do Instead of Spanking. Retrieved August 6, 2015.




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