Controlling children


We struggled with our first boy till we discovered "time-out". After that, life became much easier. Starting at a very early age, if the child became raucus or disobedient, we would say "hallway!" then lift him and place him on the stairs near the front door. He had to stay there for 5 - 20 minutes (dependent on age and severity of misbehaving) without making a noise. After a little "training" our boys would go and sit on the bottom stair and "time-out" themselves (count to 60 or whatever) with nothing more than a glance from me. We never hit them but we were relentless in carrying them into the hallway (repeatedly to begin with - lots of tantrums!)

This also worked in shops and restaurants if they misbehaved. We had only to whisper "hallway!" and they would trot off and squat by the shop door for a while. We were amazed by the results and this carried on until they were in their teens. Once they were older it became a joke, of course, but it still worked! By the time they were too big to pick up they'd say "don't be daft, dad" if I muttered "hallway" but they would behave themselves thereafter.

One word of warning. Time-out works ONLY if both partners agree and pursue it relentlessly. The child MUST be placed in the hallway and replaced there by gentle force, if he keeps coming back, until he's been quiet for the appointed time. It's tedious for the first fortnight. It's easier with the 2nd child because he sees what's happening to the first and doesn't fight when it's his "turn". Also the child must NEVER be allowed to go to his bedroom when he's naughty. The bedroom must be perceived as a treat, otherwise when bedtime comes around, he sees it as punishment. Simple rules which work well but most people end up beating their children and sending them to bed. Do that and you've let your child down.


Rewarding a child when he behaves is equally as important as punishing when he's naughty. You can decide for yourself how to reward your child but I would suggest that public words of praise are better than sweets, crisps, biscuits and soft drinks*. Get used to hugging your child and praising him when he is helpful, quiet or exhibits other desirable traits. Do this spontaneously (i.e. without being prompted) and do it frequently - at least once a day.

Reward your child by reading a story. The trend nowadays is to watch TV and read nothing. This results in adults who are unable to use their own native language to communicate effectively. This puts them at a MAJOR disadvantage. Get your child interested in language NOW. It will give him confidence. It will help him through school and in later life. Encourage him to watch educational programmes on "Discovery" channel etc. Discourage him from watching cartoons (except "The Simpsons" which usually teaches good moral values).

*You are what you eat. If you allow your child to consume foods full of sugar, then the child is likely to become obese in later years. He will also suffer mood swings and other behavioural problems because he's not getting the vitamins and minerals that his body needs. In addition, children can develop intolerances to foods such as bread (wheat), chocolate, glucose and dyes used in soft drinks. These can cause mood swings AND addictions. DON'T let your child demand these and DON'T use them as treats. Excessive salt is also bad and may lead to strokes in later years. The key is MODERATION.

Key terms: Don't spank your child. Avoid spanking children. Don't hit a child. Avoid hitting children. Punishing your child. Punishing your children. Controlling your child. Coping with children. Eating the right food. Avoiding junk food, sugar, salt, saturated fats.

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