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Pregnancy & Parenting
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Parenting Tips for Non-Spanking Parents

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Just thought I'd share two or three of my gems that really helped. (I am just your average single Mom, not an expert...)

Toddler Stage - Restrictive Holding - a technique to use when child is about to have a full blown temper tantrum

  • pick the child up and cradle her in your arms so that her head is resting on the inside of your left elbow, you can hold her outside arm with your left hand, and you can hold her legs against you with your right arm and hand
  • rock the child gently back and forth and softly repeat a short, reassuring phrase. (mine was I know you're upset, but Mommy's in charge.)
  • the child may struggle and scream, but continue speaking in a low, soft voice, repeating your phrase...
After I used this technique about 3 times, my daughter never had another temper tantrum.

Toddler to Pre-School Stage - Advance Notice Countdown Technique - a technique to prevent conflict before it starts

One thing I noticed with my child was that she had trouble with transitions. If she was playing with a toy or coloring or whatever she might be doing, she was really into it and would get upset if I told her it was time to go, or time to go to bed. But if I gave her advanced warning... it prepared her for the transition to a new activity or plan. I'd say, OK, you've got 10 minutes left and then we've got to go. Then, OK, you've got 5 minutes left and then we've got to go. Then 3 minutes, then 2 minutes, then OK you've got 1 minute, time to put everything away. That kind of a countdown, I think, made the world seem less random to her, and if there's one thing kids like, it's predictability. (That's why they watch the same movie over and over... they like to be able to predict what will happen... this actually reinforces normal childhood development.)

Pre-school to maybe 2nd grade - Treachery and Deceit

I didn't want to have a struggle with my daughter about what she ate. But I did want her to eat vegetables and healthy foods. I knew I'd never go the 'clean your plate' route that I had suffered through. So I used treachery instead. When I'd fix dinner, I'd intentionally leave one thing off her plate. Like maybe green peas. I'd put the plate on the table in front of her and then apologize like this, "I'm sorry I didn't give you any of these lovely green peas, but... they're for adults only.. you know." She'd question me about it and I'd repeat... I'm really sorry, but only grown ups like these - I can't give them to you. I had her begging me for vegetables. And of course I'd eventually give some to her, but I'd ask her please not to report me.... >;D The only veggie it didn't work on was green beans... she likes all others. So... not too bad!

Please share your non-spanking tips too!
Edited Apr 04 2008 17:45 by msmysz
Reason: Removed Sticky 2008-04-04
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haha treachery and deceit that is great! i used to use that when my sister was little (we were nine years apart) but back then it was "cool kids/big kids do/don't do this or that" whatever it was she'd go for it!
Not treachery, not deceit...I call that putting a positive spin on the situation...

I still use that technique, but it's true so it works..

"I want to see that you are the responsible, adult young man you need to be to make it in this world. The young man that wants to drive the car, and wants his curfew extended to 1:00 am....Since you don't have a family to can only show me that you are responsible in certain ways. Like cutting the grass correctly, when I ask the first time..."
...and I love this thread, btw...
that's true kathy... perhaps a better term....

benign manipulation?


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nomore - so wise!!!!  :0)  every post I see with your name attached to it, I seem to enjoy.  Thank you for giving me ideas to help me raise my 17 month old daughter, BETTER!!! 
I still sometimes use a form of the countdown technique with my 13-year-old. Transitions can be difficult for some kids with autistic spectrum disorders, and letting him know that an activity is coming to an end helps him move on from one thing to another.

When my son was teething, I'd often give him frozen veggies to help with the pain. They were cold and crunchy and felt good on those sore gums of his. Even long past the teething stages, he'd eat frozen veggies; we'd come in after work/daycare/school, and I'd give him a small bowl of frozen veggies to munch on while I cooked dinner. If he wanted more veggies and dinner wasn't ready yet, I'd give him more. If he didn't eat very much dinner, that was okay with me; he hadn't filled up on any empty calories.

For years and years, he preferred his veggies frozen; how easy is that?! :-)
Great post Nomo!  I do those with my boys, and the counting down technique reduced my youngest son's tantrums by at least half.

My tips:

Don't ask a yes or no question if the child doesn't really have the choice.  IE:  "Do you want to put your seatbelt on?"

Use a visual schedule so the child can predict what's going to happen (prediction is the reason why counting down works).  This has helped tremendously with our morning routine.

If your child freaks out easily in some situations (getting a haircut), write a story about it so the child can prepare themselves for what's going to happen.  The story can reassure safety and identify what acceptable actions they can do if they get emotional (when I get scared, I will hold mommy's hand).
I'm not a parent, but I grew-up in a non-spanking household and I am really thankful for that. It personally worked for me and my parents. My parents felt spanking makes children feel less of a person and embarrassed, but not necessarily able to understand they did instilled fear, and they did not want me to fear them.

I say bravo to these techniques. My parents took privileges away from me as punishment, but my mom said I cured myself of temper tantrums: we were in K-mart and I wanted a toy that she said "no" to, so I threw myself back on the concrete floor, smacking my head and knocking the wind out of more tantrums from me!
Hmmm, we were never spanked growing up but often I've heard that we should have been. Anyway, I LOVE that "treachery/deceit" story with the green peas! LOL! That's great! :)

Don't ask a yes or no question if the child doesn't really have the choice.  IE:  "Do you want to put your seatbelt on?" -- Santonacci

Yes, I hate when people do that. Also, when they give young children TOO MANY choices. WHY ask them when you can tell them? "What do you want for dinner?" How about either serving them dinner or giving them a choice of maybe TWO things? They're too young and too many choices is too difficult for them.
hahah my aunt kinda did the vegetable thing to my cousins. Only she would reward them if they did something good with fruits. She made it seem like the fruit was the special food.. instead of candy/chocolate.

A child I used to baby sit daily for used to throw awful tantrums.  What I did was throw myself on the floor & throw one of the most ridiculous tantrums you've ever seen.   She stopped, looked at me in the funniest way & never did it again.  lol

Wouldn't try that in a store though.  :P

(Now she's 22 & on my space.  Ugh that's just so weird!)  lol

Umm, just another tip, from a non-parent.  Children don't automatically grasp their emotions.  If let's say they want another cookie, you say no, & the child says they hate you, & things like that, it's good to explain to them that they're angry.  Things like that.  Also avoiding behaviors that lead to manipulative thinking on the part of the child because that can really turn into pretty tough personality disorders later in life.  Teaching them to ask for things directly, but also that it doesn't mean they'll get their way every time, etc. is best.  They seem like such small things but it could make a big difference later. 

I hope this made sense.  I'm tired and my contacts are fogged as all get out, so I'm really not sure if I worded what I was trying to say at all coherently.  lol
I'm not yet a parent, but I can speak to the effectiveness of treachery and deceit-- When my brother was about three and I was about seven, he hated taking baths, and he absolutely refused to wash if you did get him in the tub.  So one day, being the helpful older sister I was, I told him, "You know, you don't acutally have to wash when you're in the tub.  All you have to do is rub the soap all over your body so it gets all foamy and mom will think you washed."  He started doing it and was giggling the whole time at the thought of being so sneaky.  I made sure to mention that the best place to make foam was under the armpits.

robinsue, I had the exact opposite effect with my other brother (I think he was 7 at the time).  I pretended to throw a temper tantrum to show him how unreasonable he was being.  He felt like I was making fun of him and really fell apart.  Looking back on it, I don't think it was very respectful to him and I can understand his reaction.
I have a 2 year old and a 3 year old. I've tried all of the above mentioned on them, but my kids are night and day. My 2 year old, he is the one who will stop and stare if I throw myself on the floor and throw a fit w/him. He will react to me holding him and speaking calmly to him. My 3 year old, however, is almost beyond my control. She is well over 50 lbs, strong and refuses to do anything but what she wants. I feel like a terrible mother because most of the time I wind up yelling at her. If I try to hold her and speak calmly to her, she will kick and hit me. If I restrain her legs and arms (a difficult feat), she will bite me. If nothing else, she spits on me. I have always maintained a strict "no spanking" parenting policy, but I'm beginning to wonder what else one does in such a situation. Sadly, I've resorted to bribes (ie, "if you don't stop hitting your brother, you won't get a treat later). *sigh* let the judging begin, but I just wanted to get it off my chest.
veryminte: no judgement here!  My daughter will be 5 in a couple of weeks, and is VERY strong willed.  We started doing the holding technique with her maybe a year ago (hadn't heard of it sooner).  Before that, I actually went back on my "no spanking" rule for a while.  Let me tell you, as someone who's done it both ways - spanking doesn't work!  It is not effective to change her behavior, and it made me feel terrible. 

We hold her when she has temper tantrums - it hasn't stopped completely, but it has gotten way less frequent, and when it happens, is a lot shorter.  The first several (like 10) times, it took forever for her to calm down.  I'm talking like 20-30 minutes.  And it was about once a week or more.  (I think that's because I didn't do it at the best age - when she was about 2.)  Now, she starts losing control of her feelings, and I hold her...she struggles for maybe a minute or two, and we're done. 

I totally agree with the transition thing.  It's huge.

Also, get down on their level!  You have to kneel down, look them in the eyes, and calmly tell them what you need them to do.  Otherwise, it's too easy for them to ignore you. 

veryminte: if you have a strong man around, I would suggest you get him involved in the restraining.  It's not too late, and she's not too old, IMO.  My boyfriend is very big, and he is also very gentle.  He can hold our daughter so that she doesn't hurt herself or him, even though she's 42 pounds and pretty strong.  If you don't have a strong guy, or aren't comfortable with him doing it, you can do it my way:

I lay on her bed with her, her back to my tummy, and wrap my arms and legs around her!  The only thing she can really do is jerk her head backwards into me, and I learned quickly to keep my head out of the way.  It takes a while, especially at first, but I really think it works.  What I usually say is "I'm not going to let you hurt yourself or me.  I love you and I'm not letting go until you can be calm."  We haven't had to do that in a while, and when we do, it's like 2 minutes and she's better.

Also, since we adopted the restraining technique, other disciplines work better too!  We can actually tell her to go give herself a time out, and she'll go to her room, sit for a couple of minutes, then come back out and say she's sorry.  I think it's because she feels more secure as a whole, and restraining her when her feelings are out of control helps her feel that at least somebody is in control (Mommy and Daddy).

The last thing is be consistent!  You can't discipline when it's convenient, or when there's no one around to make you feel embarrassed, or when you're not in a rush to get somewhere.  We've been late to many functions because we were dealing with a "naughty" child.  Oh well, our friends and family will either understand or they'll get over it!  It's more important that our daughter knows what we tell her all the time - that WE are in charge and WE can handle it!  (The world can be a scary, out of control place to a kid.  They need to know that you're in control of it for them.)
What do you do if your toddler starts to have a temper tantrum in the car?

Man... is there anything more painful than the shrill screams of a toddler INSIDE a small enclosed space?  *shakes head no*

This happened to us just once.  She was in the back seat, in her car seat and we'd just left the playground (and I hadn't yet started using the countdown transition technique). 

First I said, "Do not scream at me. I do not let people treat me that way."

She continued.

Second I said, "This is your warning. Stop screaming right now. I will not listen to this."

She continued.

I pulled the car over into the next parking lot on the right. Turned off the car.  Took the keys.  Got out of the car and stood in front of it with my back to her.  She screamed for maybe another half minute and then stopped, because it just wasn't worth it if there was no audience.

I gave her another minute or so to calm down and then I got her out of the car and hugged her and told her, I love you, but I won't accept disrespect. Thank you for calming down.

That was the last tantrum in the car, until she turned 15 and wanted to drive before she got her permit.... and that was more of a whine-fest than a true tantrum ::giggle::
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Im so glad that my daughter isnt yet 2 years old.  I'm learning so much.  thank you ladies!  Just know, that all this advice isnt going unnoticed!  :)
hee hee nomo..

veryminte: at 3, she's old enough to be talked to..if she's old enough to understand bribery, she old enough to understand that what she is doing hurts you.

I would take a quiet moment and ask her to come talk to you. Tell her how much you love her and how hard it is on you when she acts the way she does (obviously in language that she can understand)...explain that as she gets to be a big girl, and school starts, no one will like it if she behaves badly...
Taken from chazw in his forum post...

When things get heated, as in you just got home from an awful day at work, and you are greeted with children who seem more like demons than angels, and you find that you're about to blow your top...  a time out might be called for.  Not just for the kids, but for you too.  A 10-minute cool-down period might be just the trick to prevent the entire of evening from going from bad to Aaaaaaaauuuugggghhhhhh!!!!!!!
I have been giving myself timeouts for yrs now............I feel its the only way to keep my sanity somedays when my lil monsters are BIG monsters hehe
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