Many parents wonder if spanking their child is OK . This question has been studied for many years. Parents are always learning skills just as our children are. Parents of twins have more stress on them when their children are acting badly.
All parents need help and support and no parent is perfect. Young children need safety and security as well as lots of love to help them grow and develop and to be able to form strong relationships with people.
We as parents may not always know the best way to handle our children’s difficult behavior and many of us may feel like spanking our children sometimes. This is not an effective way to discipline.
What does discipline mean ?
Discipline means guidance – a way to teach and to model the correct behavior. Different parents use different methods that can include showing, explaining, and encouraging positive behaviors, as well as punishing negative behaviors. Discipline can’t begin until our children are old enough to understand is.
Babies do not need discipline – never shake or spank a baby – they do not understand and are only reacting to what they feel. Shaking a baby can result in Shaken Baby Syndrome
As parents it is our job to teach our children what they should and what they should not do. They learn by watching us and others and by being given clear, concise instruction of what is expected of them. Simple commands such as ‘books go back on the shelf’ help to teach them what goes where. Follow this instruction with praise and encouragement and you will find the behavior continues. You will find with twins that they will mimic and parrot your commands to each other and learn very quickly. My twins often play , taking turns and pretending who is the ‘mom’ and asking each other for permission etc. Remember that your children are watching everything you do , good and bad.
Why won’t spanking my child work ?
A lot of us may have grown up with parents who were spanked, and so they spanked us. Spanking is not an effective way to discipline our children. One of the easiest ways to remember this, is to remember how YOU felt when you were spanked. Did you feel scared? Powerless ? Small and insignificant? Did it make you want to obey your parents, or just comply so you wouldn’t get hit?
Spanking leads to anger, fear and resentment and can make our children lose their trust in us as parents. Spanking also teaches our children that hitting others when they are not acting the way we want them to, is OK. With twins, I find that they imitate me and how I discipline them and how I react to things, by telling each other what to do. Children see and imitate everything we do. If you are telling them it’s not alright to hit each other, and then you go and hit them,( children see spanking as hitting) they are receiving mixed messages.
While you may feel that spanking your child stops the behaviour, and it does , for the moment – but it doesn’t teach your child anything about how to handle future situations.
A lot of parents are trying to teach their children to respect their bodies to help protect themselves from physical or sexual abuse. If we are hitting them, they may feel as if they do not have this control over their own bodies and feel violated.
So what does work if spanking doesn’t?
Some things that work are using discipline as a teaching tool, not one of punishment. As parents, we want to build on our children’s self-esteem and teach them effective problem solving skills to help them later in life. If your child is misbehaving, first, try to figure out why:
– are they bored?
– are they overtired ?
– are they hungry ?
– are they frustrated ?
– are they unable to tell you in words what is bothering them ?
– are they discouraged?
– has there been a misunderstanding ?
– are they feeling sick ?
– are they in pain ?
– are they afraid of something?
– were they just interrupted from an activity or had a toy taken away ?
Try not to assume that your child is being ‘bad’ just to get on your nerves. Take a few minutes to try and understand the reason behind your child behaving badly and you’ll find yourself less likely to have the urge to spank them.
Give simple choices to your child that will result in what you want. If your child is arguing about getting dressed – ask them” do you want to wear the blue shirt or the red shirt?” ” Do you want a shower or a bath ?” They will pick one and they feel empowered because you gave them a choice!
Be prepared in advance for situations as much as possible. A lot of young misbehaviour can result from boredom or from hunger. Always carry healthy snacks with you when you travel , and offer them when you are at home. While your children might not be able to recognize the feeling that they are hungry – you can head off some mid-morning or mid- afternoon grumpies by offering food.
Try not to suddenly pull your child away from an activity they were involved in. Give them advance warning ” we are leaving in 10 minutes,” we are leaving in 5 minutes – time to clean up ” transition times are notorious for meltdowns if they are not handled correctly.
If your child is doing something that will harm him or another child, physically remove him/her from the situation and hold them in a safe restraint until they have calmed down.
Teaching toddler twins.
Toddlers want to touch and feel everything that they see. This is how they learn about the world around them. They do not have the understanding to know what is safe for them or not, and don’t have the self control to stop themselves. First and foremost make sure that your home is completely baby-proofed. Make sure that all dangerous or poisonous things are kept way out of reach. Teach your toddler words like “ouch!” and “hot!” and “sharp!” and raise your voice when you say it.
Are your twins having temper tantrums ?
Very often young children have temper tantrums or meltdowns because they are frustrated and can’t communicate their feelings or wishes. A tantrum means their feeling have gotten out of control and by spanking them during, you will only serve to frighten them . Try to ignore the behavior but stay near by. Remain calm , breathe deep and don’t even raise your voice. If you’re at home, just walk away. No attention to the behavior will result in your child stopping sooner. If you are out somewhere, well, you’ll have to just turn around and leave. Don’t yell, just leave and you can discuss it later.
Some ways to encourage your child to behave.
– create a loving home environment
– be a positive role model
– put your attention more on preventing misbehavior rather than dealing with it once it’s happening.
– decide what rules are the most important and be consistent and clear about following them.
– explain to your children what it is that you expect of them in advance.
– explain to your children what the consequences will be if they do not obey – in advance
– praise and encourage your child when you see them doing things that are pleasing.
– respect your child’s need to explore and learn
– try to just ignore annoying or attention -seeking behaviours
– make sure your child is fed healthy foods and gets enough sleep
– have fun with your children.
Raising twin children can be challenging and frustrating at times. We have to remember that most of what they do , is because they are learning about the world, not trying to make us angry. By not using corporal punishment with our children we are teaching them the they can trust us not to hurt them , and with that trust we can then guide them through their development into adults.