How to Discipline Your Child Without Leaving Physical (or Emotional) Marks

Tasha and I decided not to beat our child.
We came to this conclusion long before we ever had children.

In one of the three “Dr. Phil” shows I’ve ever watched, he stated that he never hit his sons.
I found it supremely interesting Dr. Phil contended that communication, while taking a little more time and patience, actually yields better results.

(We do not follow any other books or teachings of Dr. Phil.
His observation just started our thought process several years ago.)

Okay, so I’m no pro, but I’m amazed.
I have absolutely found this to be true.

If you take the time to communicate (which involves talking and listening – not so easy when the child is 2), it’s interesting how quickly issues resolve and how rapidly the child assimilates the correct behavior.

I realize my parents’ generation would’ve termed this, “permissive parenting.”
As in, “we permit our child to do anything she wants.”

It’s funny though, my little girl knows how to say thank you, please, yes sir, no sir, yes ma’am, no ma’am, and many other of the accoutrements of polite society.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have to resist (mightily) the urge to “snatch her up” and “jerk a knot in her tail.”
I just talk to her instead.

When we’re finished, instead of waiting 30 minutes for the “snubs” and red marks to subside, we get on with life.

If you are interested, here are a few guidelines:

- Do not allow them to see your intense frustration.

You are the adult here.
Control your emotions.
Most of the problems with children – begin with the parents’ problems…

- Calmly let them know your expectations.

Yes. You must spell it out.
“If you do this, you get this.”
“You will stay in your room until you can say, ‘I’m Sorry.’”

- Give them choices.

“You may either either play outside or read in your room.”
Yes, sometimes the choice is: “You may either step into the bathtub yourself, or Daddy will help you into the bathtub.”

- Spend time with them.

This works best when it is not a “disciplinary” situation.
Read.
Watch TV/Movies.
Draw/Paint.
Walk in nature.
Play video games (yes they will usually win).

Here is my one caveat: ALL of this works best when begun before the child is 2.

However, it is NEVER too late to begin.

“Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”
― Plato

Communication is the only way I know to build any relationship.
It is certainly the only way to be relational with your child.

What are your thoughts on communicating discipline to your children? Share in the comments.

This post is part of the Building a Relationship With Your Child series.

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About JonathanFoster

I'm a relationship catalyst, storyteller, and coach, spreading the message of relational and spiritual empowerment. Crazy in love with my wife and little girl.
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