The 10 rules of effective punishment – without raising your hand or your voice
Parenting is the most important job we’ll ever do and yet children come without a manual – or a money-back option! This parent guide is an extract from Dr John Irvine’s book Who’d be a parent? The manual that should have come with the kids! Dr Irvine is one of Australia’s most heard and read child psychologists.
To print or download this guide, click here.
Children need punishment to steer their behaviour, and they need encouragement even more.
Below are 10 ways to punish effectively, without raising your hand or your voice.
- Aim your punishment at the action, not the ego.
- Make it logical – if they can’t be home at the time they promised then they’re not ready for the freedom of unsupervised time.
- Make it sensible – a list of jobs on the fridge might save some silly punishment when you’re angry and help your workload too.
- Make it inescapable – con merchants are bred in watery rules. If the punishment seems too hard after you’ve cooled down then soften, but don’t disobey yourself.
- Make it noticeable – some families become so negative that an extra punishment isn’t noticed.
- Make it acceptable – if rules and penalties are clear and fair then the kids are more likely to accept the consequences.
- Make it respectful – insulting or bashing just makes them think about revenge not remedy.
- Make it consistent – as the ancient Greek author, Plutarch, said, ‘perseverance is more prevailing than violence’.
- Make it reasonable – give a reason and sometimes maybe even give a bit of choice on when and how they’re going to fix things up.
- Make it private – public punishment hits the ego not the action and they’ll hit back to save face.
Preferred social rewards and punishment by age
|BIRTH TO 18 MONTHS||EIGHTEEN MONTHS TO FIVE YEARS||SIX TO 11 YEARS||12 YEARS AND OVER|
front seat of care
Angry parents first aid guide
Place this list by the phone for fast access in times of emotional emergency.
out of 10
|10||DON’T TOUCH your child. Just go outside for a walk and say ‘Hi’ to anyone, even a dog will do, to break the pain cycle|
|9||DON’T TOUCH your child. Just shake or belt a pillow, and keep doing it till the tears flow and you’re both safe. Then take some deep breaths and have a cuppa in another room.|
|8||DON’T TOUCH your child. Use your phone, not your fist, and let someone know you’re in pain. If you need a number phone any helpline such as Lifeline on 13 11 14.|
|7||TAKE your child out into another room, put on soothing music and just keep rocking together to reassure each other.|
|6||Massage your child with baby oil. Using warm hands, do the ‘Weather Report Massage’ on their back: little pitter pat of raindrops followed by the bigger spots, swirl your hands slowly around their back for the big wind, cup hands and pat all over the upper back for thunderclaps and then around the shoulders for the big tides surging. Eventually go slower and softer and calmer as the storm passes.|
|5||TAKE your child in the car or go for a walk to visit friends, favourite shops or a favourite neighbour. Or just keep driving (if you’re not dangerously angry) till you feel better|
|4||TALK to your preschool teacher or phone family day care and let them know you’re it a bit tough from time to time and need a break and ideas. Remember that people like to help, it makes everyone’s life worthwhile if they think they’re useful.|
|3||THINK up some fun things you can do together to get you both laughing, and think up ways to stop you feeling trapped in your own house. Join the Nursing Mothers Association, playgroup or join a parenting course through the local health centre or community education course.|
|2||PLAY music, burn oils and make your home feel comfortable. Find some company, preferably for yourself and your child, but either will do.|
|1||WRITE out your ideas and share them, because you’re ahead of the rest of use!|
Remember, your child will be all right if you’re all right, so look after yourself first.
These tips are my little effort to help parents regain some confidence and regain some easy authority in their kid’s lives. So who’d be a parent? I hope that you wouldn’t swap it and that your kids know it!
Source: Parent Link, Canberra, Australia http://www.parentlink.act.gov.au/parenting_guides/dr_john/punishment