Let's learn something: Can't yell, can't bribe...what can you do?

By now, most of us have seen the study from the Journal of Child Psychology indicating that yelling at children is just as harmful as spanking. So let's review what parents can't do to discipline their children:
  • Spanking teaches children that hitting is acceptable.
    Image by Shawn Campbell
  • Timeouts increase separation anxiety.
  • Bribery works in the short term, but not the long term.
  • And now, yelling has been shown to reinforce bratty behavior and increases depression, even among children raised in "warm and loving" homes.
Ummmm...OK. What's left?

As this Slate article points out, this is what parents are supposed to do:
Beforehand, tell your child what privilege he will lose for any undesirable behavior. The penalty should be brief, significant but not harsh (like no TV tonight versus no TV for a week). When your child commits an offense, you say "You lose X because of this behavior," and then go to another room quietly and calmly.
Is anyone else laughing? 

Sorry, I'm trying to keep an open mind here, but logic and three-year-olds don't go hand-in-hand. But hey, I'm game. I will be happy to try this approach, because I know that I will mess up occasionally and lose my temper and raise my voice. I'm a parent; I'm not perfect. (That's my motto!)

I'd be interested from hearing some tips from other parents (you know...research from the real field). What approach works in your household?

8 comments:

  1. I'm sorry, but you have to find/use what works in your household, and time outs worked wonderfully for us. My girls are now 15 and 12 and very much attached to us and happy and well-adjusted. We even raised our voices on occasion and they're still ok.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing, Amy...that's kind of what I thought, too. I admit that I'm not sure if time outs work on my son, but I am not sure the stay-calm-and-use-logic approach would work either.

      Delete
  2. We also use the time out method with our 4.5 year old. But I was reading something the other day and it talked about how when you put them on timeout, they don't think about what they did. They think about how mad they are at you for putting them on time out. It seems that every 2 years, as he gets older, we have to adjust his "time out routine". Yeah, the calm approach is a huge effort but I'm looking into it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. We use logical consequences often. IE, if you did not take care of your shoes when you came home, then you must stop what you are doing and take care of them now. We also use losing privileges.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Someone PLEASE throw me a lifeline! I have tried the Love and Logic method, natural consequences, etc... But when all three of your children insist they are the "alpha dog" in the house, plus we don't have much to "take away" from them to begin with....well...let's just say we have plenty of raw material for our own reality TV show! There has to be a way for me to channel their energy in a more productive way. But alas, I am a human mommy with limited financial resources for extra classes and sports activities. Even a sponge needs to be wrung out once in awhile or it no longer can absorb the spills!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry you are in such a rough state, Mary. I have found the books of Dr. Kevin Leman to be very helpful (borrowed them through my library). He has a particularly good one on birth order. Have you tried reading his works yet?

      Delete
  5. Oh yes there are timeouts. But, when we put him on time out, we tell him now to take some time and when he's ready, he can come out and we can talk. Still revising things as we go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like that thought "still revising things as we go..." as parents we are always learning, aren't we?

      Delete