How To Discipline A Child: 3 Common Parenting Tactics That Need To Stop

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You probably don't even know you're doing these. | Archive Holdings Inc. via Getty Images

Many agree that shaming our children is hurtful and spanking them could soon be illegal in Canada. While these two discipline tactics are often on the no-no list, there are other common behaviours that also have negative consequences for children. And they need to stop.

1. Eye rolling

Yup, it seems innocuous, but body language is 93 per cent of our communication and this gesture carries tremendous gravitas. When humans roll their eyes, they are signalling their feelings of contempt. It’s like your eyes are saying “I loathe you” to your child.

Children need to feel loved and affirmed by their parents to develop a sense of their being worthy. If you're a regular eye roller, you're quietly undoing all your hard work of building up your child’s self-esteem.

2. Sarcasm

Sure sarcasm seems like a little innocent joke, but those who use sarcasm tend to use it frequently and it becomes a communication style. The trouble with sarcasm is that there is a kernel of truth in the joke, and that truth is something the child is made to feel badly about.

I have heard sarcasm described as pain wrapped up with a bow. Rude and hurtful sentiment that is wrapped up in humour. So the person doling it out gets to be mean while looking funny. Well, it isn't funny for our children who feel the hurtful comments.

3. Silent Treatment

Sometimes we are so mad we can’t even speak. I often recommend you don’t speak during times of high conflict. It's better to walk away, regain calm and then circle back to finish the discussion. But THAT is not the same as giving someone the silent treatment.

That silent treatment, or stonewalling as it is sometimes known, is an emotional cut off. Not talking signals you are withholding your love and are emotionally unavailable. Being cut off from their primary support is very scary for children.

For positive discipline ideas, check out Alyson's article: "10 Discipline Tactics That Work (Spanking Not Included)."


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