As a Long Island Parent, you understand that every once in awhile you will find yourself at odds with your child or children. So what do you do in order to discipline him or her? Although it can be beneficial to give them a ‘time out’ by taking them away from an activity or situation and putting them in a quiet place in order to reflect on their behavior; many parents choose to take an alternative route if it can better serve the scenario. Here are three alternatives to a traditional time out to consider using at home:
- Allow a Natural Consequence
Although it may seem that allowing a natural consequence is permitting your child to “get away” with bad behavior, you are actually allowing your child to witness the results of their choices. In order for this alternative to be effective, it’s best to go this route only when the results are likely to be understood. For instance, if a child breaks a toy, the broken toy would be the natural consequence of their action. Instead of pacifying them by immediately trying to fix or replace the item, the broken toy serves as a lesson learned. They now understand that it is important to be careful with items, as well as what will happen when they are not.
- Encourage Problem Solving
This alternative to time-out can easily be tailored to suit any age or maturity level. Instead of reacting to misbehavior with anger, accusations, or sadness – try to take a deep breath and allow your child to address the situation before you do. Ask questions such as “How could you have handled the situation differently?” and “What will you do next time you find yourself in a similar scenario?” By allowing your child to come up with his or her own reaction, it allows them to realize their responsibility in the matter.
- Initiate a Conversation
A lot of times as parents, we are so quick to react to misbehavior with anger rather than realizing there may be a deeper cause behind it. It can help to remove your child from the situation to give you both time to think things through. This prevents emotions getting in the way of a productive discussion. When you’ve both cooled down, approach them and offer to listen to them explain the behavior. Let them know how their actions made you feel in a way that doesn’t place blame. Listen to them without interrupting, and ask questions when necessary. Together, develop a plan to avoid the same behavior occurring in the future. By making yourself available to listen in a calm manner, you are demonstrating that it is possible to approach you for advice in the future.
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