Should I Spank My Child? Deciding How to Discipline Your Preschooler

Should you spank your child? Naptime Academy explains the best ways to discipline your preschooler.

Studies show that if you spank your child, they are often less emotionally healthy than children that receive less harsh forms of discipline.

If you were spanked as a child, there may come a point as a parent where you ask yourself, “should I spank my child, too?” Several new studies are detailing the long-term effects that spanking can have on children as they develop. Whether spanking is something you have been familiar with, or the final form of punishment when you simply can not seem to get through to your children, there are more effective ways to discipline your child.

Should I Spank My Child?

You may have been spanked as a child and feel you turned out alright as an adult, but research shows it was likely not due to being spanked. According to a 2013 study by Elizabeth Gershoff, the “frequency or severity” of the physical punishment is directly related to an increase in mental health issues in children, like anxiety, depression, and drug and alcohol abuse. While spanking may achieve immediate compliance, it is also more likely to make children less compliant in the long-term. Spanking does not show children what they should do, only what they should not do. This can lead to anger, resentment, and sneakiness. In fact, these studies indicate that the more kids are hit or spanked, the greater the chances are that they will hit others. As adults, children who were spanked are more likely to hit their spouses, resulting in chronic domestic violence.

How to Discipline Your Preschooler

When you break it down, the very word discipline means “to teach.” For parents that are serious about raising a well-behaved and obedient child, teaching them to properly manage themselves is very important. It’s also important for you as the parent to control your actions and behaviors when the situation gets heated. Children imitate your behavior so setting expectations for them to follow begins with you. Whether it’s maintaining a positive tone, having a set schedule each day, keeping a regular bed time, or making sure your child fully understands the rules of the house – consistency is key to preventing misbehavior.

There are several alternatives to spanking that can make life easier for both you and your children.

  • Time-Out
  • Time-outs are a great discipline option for children starting as early as two-years old and can even be effective for parents as well! For your kids, experts agree that if they are misbehaving or not following the rules, they should sit in a specified time-out spot for an amount of time equal to their age. That means your 4-year-old must stay in time out no longer than 4 minutes and your 10-year-old for 10 minutes. However, time-outs are not just for kids anymore. If as a parent you feel like you are about to loose control or act out when reaching your boiling point, it is perfectly fine to take a few moments to yourself to regroup. Once you have cooled down, you’ll be better able to discipline your child appropriately.

  • Set Limits and Give Real Consequences
  • Setting firm rules and defined limits for behavior provides your child with clear expectations. Simply saying “no” to your child and backing it up with a real consequence is the best way to show your children that you are in control of the situation. For example, if it is time to turn the television off and clean up for dinner, but a temper-tantrum is starting, take TV privileges away for a specified amount of time. Younger children need to have the consequences immediately as they don’t connect their past actions to a later punishment.

Working With Your Preschool Teacher on Discipline

Consistency is key to disciplining your children successfully. Talk to your child’s preschool teachers and get on the same page to find effective ways of disciplining your children in and out of your home. Your kids will greatly benefit from a partnership between you and their teachers when it comes to their care. No one knows your children better than you do, so remember that your ideas and suggestions are very important to their pre-school education. Your feedback will always be welcome, because building a strong partnership between parents and teachers is key for a healthy learning environment for your preschooler.

If you are interested in learning more about how to discpline your preschooler positively, contact Naptime Academy at 844-435-7682. You can also subscribe to Naptime Academy to access courses relevant to early childhood.