How to Handle Children’s Misbehaviour – 20 Positive Alternatives to Punishment

What would you do if your child refused to brush their teeth or crashed their car?

Sometimes we caregivers might quickly jump into punishments – yelling, taking away your child’s possessions, grounding them.

The issue with punishments is that they can damage your relationship and ruin your child’s self-esteem. Punishments might not also teach your child anything about acceptable behaviour or skills to deal with their emotions. So, what can a caregiver do?

There are several alternatives to punishments. You can give them a try a see which ones work for your child.

  1. Prepare in advance

A helpful technique is to try to think ahead and prepare to avoid issues. For example, if you’re about to go to a doctor’s office, you can tell your child in advance how you expect them to behave. You can also bring a book or a toy to keep them preoccupied in positive ways.

If your child is new to driving, you can give them driving tips and lessons.

 

  1. Give choices rather than commands

To avoid power struggles, you can give choices to your child. Instead of commanding them to brush their teeth immediately, you can ask if they would like to brush their teeth before or after putting on their pajamas. 

 

  1. Defuse the situation with laughter

Sometimes being silly and laughing is a better option than arguing with your child. If your child is mad at you, invite them to express their anger in a playful pillow fight with you. Play your part by surrendering dramatically. Laughter helps resolve anger and feelings of powerlessness.

 

You can read more on this printable 20 positive alternatives to punishment tip sheet.

Are you interested in more parenting advice such as this? In our parenting classes, we go over helpful tips and strategies that you can try at home.