IF WE don't condone smacking at childcare centres and schools, why should we do it at home?

That is the question by parenting expert, author and educator Michael Grose from Parenting Ideas.

Mr Grose, who does not believe in smacking, said there was too much research to back up why smacking was harmful for children, to have him convinced any other way.

"There is a considerable body of knowledge that suggests learning self-regulation and impulse control are keys to responsible, social behaviour in children," he said.

"Smacking works against this by encouraging avoidance of certain behaviours rather than promoting self-regulatory behaviour.

"It also leads to resentment when repeatedly used."

He said research also showed smacking could lead to the child developing depression, anxiety and substance abuse later on in life.

So what are the alternatives?

Mr Grose said parents needed to look further than physical punishments and disciplinary methods employed in schools and childcare centres.

"Some children, whether due to an individual condition or their temperament, need individual behaviour management plans - none of these involve smacking," he said.

"They do require a great deal of parental attention, patience and energy to make work."


Here are Mr Grose's top 5 alternatives to smacking

1. Time out: This is designed to either give kids a chance to think about their behaviour or just break a pattern of poor behaviour.

2. Parental time-out: Make sure your kids are safe then go to the bathroom for a time if you are about to lose your cool.
3. Behavioural consequences: Implement a consequence (e.g.remove from their friends if hurting them, go home if misbehaving in public) that is related to the crime. 
4. Tactical ignoring: Recognise that some misbehaviour is designed to get up your nose so don't let it work.
5. Pre-empt poor behaviour: Think ahead and prepare kids and yourself when you go into public spaces. And make sure the kids get attention when they are behaving well, because some kids mess up just to be noticed.

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