Sunday, June 28, 2009

Alternatives FAIL

Barnardos offers a list of 21 "alternatives" you can use instead of smacking your child, click the image for the full document:
Some of these suggestions are sensible, some sound silly. It is good to know alternatives for different situations.

But the existence of alternatives does not mean a smack may not be the right choice for some children - that is another alternative as well, and may be the best one for some children. That is why the Barnardos poster gets the FAIL stamp.

And really, I wouldn't want to rely on Barnardos' alternatives. There is some good stuff, such as:
- Encourage them when they do right.
- Make tasks a game ("Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down" - remember Mary Poppins?).
- Model good behaviour.

And a lot of nonsense:
- Take a deep breath and calm yourself down. (It's really your fault the child is playing up you know, you're such a bad parent.)
- Lower your expectations. (Your child is stupid, get over it.)
- Explain why you want them to behave. (Only useful with older children, try that with a 1-year-old.)
- Put precious things out of reach. (Teach them that as long as they can reach it they can have it. This might work in your own child-safe home but will ensure you are never invited to anyone else's.)

The only actual punishment suggested is "putting them in a quiet safe place so they can calm down" (time out). The rest are mainly suggestions about how to deal with the fact your child is a horrible brat.

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