Top 10 alternatives to smacking was brought into this world by Wellington-based dads Scott Lancaster, Eric Mooij and Stefan Korn who recognised the need for a dedicated website for fathers. Based on their own experiences of struggling to find useful parenting related information specifically aimed at dads they created

Smacking is a hot potato in parenting education and views are often quite polarised. Without getting into the debate we just thought we'd post a summary of tips and advice we've collected over the years that present real alternatives to smacking. Here's the list:

   * show your child what they can do rather than try stopping them from something they shouldn't do

    * tickle them until they are out of breath with laughter

    * clap your hands (as loudly as possible) to get your child's attention and provide clear instructions in a serious tone

    * distract them with something and shift their attention away from what you don't want them to do

    * remove an object or gently take your child away to another place

    * ignore tantrums - while they are throwing a tantrum there is not much point engaging with them, wait until they are finished and then tell them calmly what you'd like them to do

    * explain consequences if behaviour continues (e.g. removal of toy, etc)

    * start signing a song that you know they really like and get them to join in

    * tire them out by running around or doing lots of physical activity

    * remind them that they've got a choice and can act like a little baby that needs to be told what to do or a "big boy/girl" who is grown up enough to know what to do

In all of this it's of course important to have realistic expecations, keep calm, remain firm, consider the situation (you or the child may be tired) and to keep instructions simple.

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  • 1234 says
    Some good tips in a age when smacking is so unacceptable. Puts parents in a hard position.
  • Timotheus says
    Let your children know that they can ask for your attention, instead of "acting out"

    We found with our boys, that having them do push ups,worked great. It's the easiest and most effective correction we came up with.

    They have to carry out the punishment.
    It gives them a physical outlet.
    It builds them up instead of putting them down.

    The other easy thing, was to make sure they heard "I love you" first thing in the morning, and last thing at night.

    You get some things right, and you get some things wrong, but you work together and give it heaps.
  • Ned says
    I applaud the move to show smacking alternatives. Unfortunately I think the way some of these options are presented above does the argument against smacking more harm than good. The key points to make against smacking are discipline and consistency. Ask, tell and take action.

    Action can be time-out, removal of privileges or toys and the most obvious - removal of the child from the situation. Just because we don't smack our kids doesn't mean we can't be physical with them - particularly when they're younger. I'm not advocating dragging or hurting. Simply picking up and moving or holding a child in a comfortable position until their tantrum has subsided.

    Doing nothing and ignoring a child while they have a tantrum adds to others' distress and makes non-smackers and their kids look undisciplined. Trying to sing their favourite songs or doing other things to distract / appease them is a disaster long-term.
  • Carl05 says
    What a crock of shit. Obviously dole bludging Sue Bradford supporters with too much time on their hands to carry out all these alternatives. If these guys had real jobs, they would realise there is no time to adequately deal with misbehaving children, something a short sharp smack swiftly delivers. I would rather have my kids say later on in life that I smacked them, rather than dealing with years of therapy dealing with mental abuse from these so called 'mind games' we now call discipline.
    Maybe a few more PC parents should have clipped their children round the ears and we wouldn't be dealing with the current culture of boy racers and higher than mighty adolescents that have no respect for the people that pay for their weekly dole cheques.
    Bring back the strap and cane in schools too, giving kids a three day holiday from school (suspension), teaches the troublemakers nothing.
    • Dansta says
      Please don't breed.
      Just cos you mistakenly think it worked for you, doesn't make it right. You are obviously too lazy / busy "working" to engage in a productive way of disciplining your children? Easier to just smack them eh? That teaches them that when things don't go their way later in life, it's better to just physically impose your will on those who are physically weaker than you. A good parent will take the time to find an effective, non violent way of teaching kids about rules, actions and consequences. A lazy one will just impose the law of the jungle, just as an ignorant ape would.
      • Danmac says
        Actually Dansta, perhaps it's you that shouldn't be partaking in acts of reproduction anytime soon. Whilst I do not whole heartedly agree with Carl05, I do believe that a smack on the bum in some circumstances is warranted and has a positive effect in the long run. As long as this is not the primary method of discipline and is instead used occassionally when other methods have failed or are simply not feasible (ie: it's hard to put a child in timeout when you're in the supermarket). Taking the PC softly softly approach simply does not work 100% of the time, as Carl05 rightly points out, our society is becoming overrun by undisciplined people who have obviously not effectively learned right from wrong when they were growing up. This ignorant attitude towards parenting is where many of today's problems stem from.
        • Dansta says
          "Society is being overrun by undisciplined people who have obviously not effectively learned right from wrong when they were growing up" - I think if you look at the prison population, you would find more of them have been smacked as children than not? The problem is people equating discipline with physical correction and assuming that is the most beneficial / positive method. So, in essence I agree with you when you say - "As long as this is not the primary method of discipline and is instead used occassionally when other methods have failed or are simply not feasible (ie: it's hard to put a child in timeout when you're in the supermarket)." - Fair enough. I don't think smacking should be illegal, but I think it's pretty wrong to smack a kid just cos s/he might embarass you by acting up in the supermarket. If they are sticking a fork in a power socket or something that poses an immediate risk to themselves or others then a smack might be the quick sharp shock that's required, but it also requires an explanation so they can understand why violence is something used only when absolutely necessary.

          For the record, I have reproduced and Mr 7 is very well behaved, well mannered, achieves well in school and has never had a smack.

        • Ned says
          Good for you Dansta - you've hit the nail on the head. The issue we're talking about should be discipline and correcting unacceptable behaviour. If you don't want your kids to hit others when they're not happy with the their behaviour - don't do it to them. Lead by example. If you don't want your kids to smoke, the best place to start is giving up yourself. Simple logic really.
        • Onaphobia says
          Tough Love vs. Spanking - A solution I was emailed this morning.

          Most people think it improper to spank children, so I have tried other methods to control my kids when they have one of 'those moments.'

          One that I found effective is for me to just take the child for a car ride and talk.

          Some say it's the vibration from the car, others say it's the time away from any distractions such as TV, Video Games, Computer, IPod, etc.

          Either way, my kids usually calm down and stop misbehaving after our car ride together. Eye to eye contact helps a lot too.

          I've included a photo below of one of my sessions with my son, in case you would like to use the technique.
        • Onaphobia says
          It works on the neighbourhood kids, too.
        • When the smacking law came in, my neighbour who has 3 kids said to me:

          No worries Jas, when one of them misbehaves in public I just turn to one of the others and say Smack your brother for me please...
        • Onaphobia says
          Yep, I told my kids the same thing. Haven't actually used it, but nice to have the option.
        • DeeDee says
          I don't mind alternatives to smacking...but some of those points stated could hinder one's development than assist it....I think the law for smacking is totally out of whack...especially in regard to the dad who was charged for throwing a cushion at his child....I think kids these days are soft but smacking is not the answer...and I'd agree with Ned that discipline and correcting unacceptable behaviour is a contributing factor to shaping good children into good law abiding citizens....

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