Creative Child

Sensible Alternatives to Traditional Discipline Techniques

by Rebecca Eanes

Sensible Alternatives to Traditional Discipline Techniques

Depending upon development and maturity, you might ask her how she made the other child feel and what she can do to fix it. Keep your sentences short and simple. “I’ll keep everyone safe.” “Are you feeling better?” “If you push again, we will go home.” Then, of course, follow through by going home if she continues such behavior.

If she is frantic and will not sit on your lap or next to you, it’s probably time to go home and give her some food and/or a nap. If leaving isn’t an option, consider keeping a calm down travel bag in your purse. I’ve used them in stores while grocery shopping.

Calm-Down Area – This is basically a time-in while you are in the comfort of your own home and can transition to a place your child can go independently to calm down with time and practice. I’ve given detailed instructions on setting up a great calm-down area in this post.

Cool-Off – For older children, taking a period of time to cool-off may be just what they need. This works well with arguing siblings, too. Ask them to go to their separate rooms or separate areas of the home until they can be peaceful together. There is a difference in using a harsh attitude to force a child into his room for 30 minutes and suggesting that a child take some time to read a book or get some space from his frustration. Delivery is important.

Alternatives to Removing Privileges and Grounding:

Taking Something Away…Logically – Taking away a child’s iPad for a week because he rolled his eyes at you is retribution. Taking away his iPad because he’s gone past his screen-time limit and is becoming a zombie is a logical action to take. I’ve taken away toys because they were thrown and Kindles because they were used in a way that violated the electronic rules. 

It’s my opinion that anytime something is taken away from a child, it should because that particular item is being misused in a way that is unhealthy or violating family rules, not just to make them miserable or suffer.I

Hold Them Accountable – Rather than dishing out a punishment or grounding them, holding children accountable by putting it in their hands to fix actually helps them learn true accountability. Being grounded only makes them resentful. So, if a child breaks something, he may need to work it off. If she is rude to someone, she needs to repair the relationship. These things are done with parental support and encouragement but it should be made clear that it is up the child to make amends and right her wrongs.

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Stopping Sibling Disputes:

Pull Over – If a spat breaks out in the car, pull to the side of the road and tell them it is difficult to drive safely when they are arguing. Then sit and silence. When they stop arguing, resume your trip. This isn’t always a feasible option, but when it is, it really gets the point across quite quickly.

The Peace Table – A way to teach children to solve their disputes peacefully is by taking them to a peace table. Each child gets a chance to state their case and the parent walks them through to a peaceful resolution and then sees that it is carried through. After a few practices, mine were able to work through their own disagreements without my assistance. 

Repair - When children fight with one another, they should learn the value of repairing relationships. Teach them the value of an apology and ask what they can do to reconnect with their sibling. My children usually choose to write a note or card or just give a hug. It doesn’t have to be a verbal apology but just a reaching out to make amends.

For more tips on discipline for sensitive kids read more here.

Rebecca Eanes, is the founder of and creator of Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond. She is the bestselling author of 3 books. Her newest book,Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, is more than a parenting book, it's a guide to human connection. She has also written The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parentingand co-authored the book, Positive Parenting in Action: The How-To Guide to Putting Positive Parenting Principles in Action in Early ChildhoodShe is the grateful mother to 2 boys.


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