8 Ways to Discipline Your Child Without Humiliating Them

She killed herself.

A 13-year old girl jumped off a bridge to her death on May 29, 2015. Her father had recorded a video of him chopping off her hair as a form of punishment.

The video surfaced online and that beautiful little girl killed herself just a few hours later.

Was her suicide a direct result of the shaming video? Maybe. Probably. Partly.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer.

No one will ever know for sure what cause her to commit suicide.

What we do know for sure is that her public shaming didn’t help.

Raising kids is NOT easy, and that dad was doing what he felt was right. We all make mistakes in responding to our children’s behavior and not every consequence (aka punishment) assigned is a good one.

But as parents, we have a duty to protect our kids and show love, compassion, and fairness.

Public shaming as a form of discipline does.not.work. The lessons you teach when humiliating your child in public, or online, is not about remorse, or becoming a better person.

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No, the message you’re sending to your child (and a child he still is) is that he should never behave that way again, for fear of what his parent will do—a parent he can longer trust.

Feel like you’re out of options when it comes to effective discipline? Don’t turn to public humiliation yet. 

8 Ways to Discipline Your Kids (No Shame Needed)

These 8 methods are effective discipline techniques. 

1. Channel Your Parents (aka You’re Grounded!)

Take away your child’s social devices, video game equipment, favorite outfits, favorite snacks, etc.

Provide a bed, some clothes, and some food for your child.

See how he likes living with only the essentials.

Younger kids? Try turning off the tv…but get some earplugs, first.

2. Hard Labor Doesn’t Have to Hurt

Make your child EARN the things he covets the most back. If he has a job, his paychecks should go straight to you until he rights his wrong if he vandalized or stole.

Make him repay debts and earn privileges back.

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Mow the lawn. Rake the leaves. Help Dad with a project he’s been wanting to start. Walk the dog at 6 a.m. Help the next door neighbor shovel her walk.

Younger children can perform jobs around the house as well, such as scrubbing the bathroom, washing the kitchen floor, wiping baseboards, cleaning windows, etc.

3. Make ‘Em Give Back

Take your child to do community service.

Here’s the catch: go with her.

Leave your phones in the car. Work alongside each other, at the food pantry, for a few hours.

You might end up talking about what is truly going on with your child as you both help the community improve.

4. Use Your Words

If your child is guilty of bullying another student, suggest the two children meet to talk and spend time together.

The bullied student will likely decline (with good reason). If this occurs, have your child write him or her write a letter of apology and hand-deliver it.

DO NOT RECORD these events and broadcast them.

Your child’s life is not the internet’s business.

5. Show, Don’t Tell

It’s all about teaching cause and effect. If your child has bullied another student, show her videos or read together stories of children who have been bullied and how it affected them.

Kids are naturally egotistical creatures, and they often don’t realize how much they are truly hurting another child.

It’s our job to help them see the damage they inflict. Don’t shame them, just show them the cause and effect.

6. Homework Time

After your child has researched/admitted/discussed why his or her behavior was wrong, assign some homework.

Have your child write down what he/she learned and present it to you and anyone else who was involved (with the apology).

Never assume your child understands. Make them explain it to you so everyone’s on the same page.

7. Too Bad, So Sad

If your child breaks his toys, or does not take care of his personal property, don’t offer replacements! Let ‘em live without.

If your daughter neglects to properly care for her car, despite your warnings, and her engine dies, let her live without a car for awhile.

Younger children who may not properly care for their electronics or other toys should not get replacements.

There’s no lesson learned in Mom and Dad buying replacements. That’s just rewarding bad behavior.

8. Catch Your Kids In The Act (of being good)

Use positive reinforcement and provide rewards for good behavior.

The idea of “catching children being good” works for toddler-aged children through teen years.

All kids yearn for praise. Search for something, anything to say something positive.

From, “Thank you for putting your shoes on right away and being ready for school on time,” to “Thank you for speaking respectfully to me and your dad,” positive encouragement and praise goes a long way.

It’s our job to teach our children how TO behave, not just how NOT to behave.

Think Discipline and Education – Not Punishment

Effective discipline is fair, teaches an important lesson, does not demean or humiliate, and allows for forgiveness. Publicly shaming a child achieves none of these goals.

Kids are only a few years away from their launching their careers. What do you want your child’s future employer to see when they type their name into Google? Internet postings with signs draped around necks saying ‘I bully other kids’ or ‘I snuck out to have sex with my boyfriend’?

What you hire a kid with references like that? (The answer is no.)

Parenting is exhausting, terrifying, and endlessly frustrating.

Kids don’t listen.

They show disrespect.

They make poor choices.

That’s because they’re still kids.

Kids deserve the opportunity to make mistakes, learn from their mistakes, and see (via the example set by their parents) how to better themselves.

You can show them how to be a better person. We've got your back.

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