Advice from Canpol's experienced mothers.


Have you ever wondered...
Have you ever wondered whether you could smack your baby? While talking to friend you promised never to do that? And now you are sitting and thinking how it could come to that? Maybe you are too tired? Despite all this you are filled with remorse and do not want to justify yourself this way... but the child was naughty, he did not listen and all previous methods failed. You did not smack him too hard, but still you were frightened and the little one started crying. Hugging did not work right away...

Writing the rules!
Even if such a situation occurred, stop worrying and start once again. I hope that my advice will provide you support in difficult situations. First sit and write down on a piece of paper the upbringing rules you use, "ideas" that help you in choosing rewards or punishments. When you write your list, read my, which I consulted with a few of my friends who have children of different ages:

1. Do not threaten children with anyone and anything, e.g. a closet monster that eats children who do not want to sleep.
2. Do not humble or humiliate the child. Do not violate his personal dignity and physical integrity.
3. Do not think about a penalty for too long, do not prolong the waiting and tension that arises during it.
4. If you use a "punishment" (for example: clean up the toys that the child scattered in anger), you must make sure it is executed immediately after setting it and not the next day.
5. Tell the child why you punish him. The child must understand why he was punished. You should calmly sit down together and discuss why you are not happy about his behaviour and why you punish him. Tell him what he can not do and how he can behave in a specific situation. Tell him what to do to avoid this situation in the future.
6. Express your approval or disapproval for specific behaviours in a clear way. Point out when you are pleased with your child, praise him.
7. Be careful not to introduce too many restrictions and rules. Adjust them to the age of your son or daughter.
8. Remove the phrases such as: "no and that's it", etc. from your vocabulary.
9. If you feel that you lose control over yourself, you are tired and everything irritates you, try to separate from your child for a moment. Perhaps your husband (or someone else) is at home, let them know that you need support and time for yourself. You can go to another room or for a short walk. If you are alone at home, try the first method. Consider why you react so strongly to a given situation. Keep distance and do not lose your temper!
10. Do not shout.
11. Do not be afraid to apologize if you did something wrong.
12. Find some time only for yourself, if you are satisfied and happy the whole family feel it.
13. Support your child in difficult situations that may cause conflict and negative emotions. Show that you understand the needs of your little one.
14. Ask your child for his opinion on matters relating to him, you can come up with new solutions and ideas together.
15. Spend time with your kid to know him well and have a relationship based on trust. Devote your attention to him!
 Why do we "resort to a spank"

I asked my mum's friends about it. They said they spanked their children or wanted to do that when:
- they felt helpless,
they were driven by negative emotions,
all known methods failed,
they were exhausted and irritated because of work or home situation (not necessarily things related to a child),
did not have support of someone close, did not have anyone to confide in or talk to;

Why is spanking not a good idea?

If you want your relationship with the child to be based on the sense of security and love, a spank should not be a form of punishment used in your home. The child has a feeling of being hurt, experiences fear and even anger when he is punished like that. Did you feel relief? Did you get rid of bad emotions by smacking your child? This momentary feeling is immediately replaced by guilt and shame.

The child does not understand your behaviour. First, he is frightened by the physical punishment, then he watches your sadness until finally you hug him trying to compensate for what happened. Such mood swings is difficult to bear for an adult, let alone a toddler who just enters the sphere of emotions. Yes, it is true that after such an event, a parent often tries to make it up for the child, so that he could forget the harsh punishment. New toy, a trip to a playground, a treat? Do not confuse your child, calm down and do not try to repair the damage quickly and at any cost.

Supporters of physical punishment

You are also for sure to meet people who believe spanking is one of the ways of parenting. Many people do not admit to administering this penalty, because it is not socially acceptable. But those who admit to using it will give you the arguments defending this method. They claim it can teach your child to behave properly. Is it really true? Is your child, at the time of great agitation, able to understand why he got slapped? Does he relate his behaviour to your anger?If your child hits another child in the sandbox, and you spank him, he can spank you back. What is the point of punishing him in a way if you forbid a child to use it against others? He will observe that you also do the forbidden thing and that it is a way to recover from stress and anger. When you read it now do you not think this is a kind of a "vicious circle"?

Your child watches you closely and often recreates your behaviour, so you need to follow the rules you have set. If you often use this kind of punishment, the child finds that physical violence a normal form of behavior towards people. Since this is the same function as sleeping or eating, he will not see anything wrong in it and will just start to use it.

The child also notes that a stronger and bigger person has more rights, and can hurt others. By spanking you will teach him that having an advantage over a weaker person you can take advantage of them, and that violence is a way to get what you want. It may happen later on in a kindergarten, that your child will just beat someone to have their toy instead of asking them to borrow it.

Instead of a spank

1. Set the rules to be observe at home, outdoors or during playing and the consequences of breaking them in advance, not under the influence of emotions.
2. Tell your child what you feel when he behaves differently than was said.
3. Show him the consequences of his actions. If your child breaks something, the natural consequence is that he will not play with it anymore. Then he will certainly see the consequences of his actions, and talking to you will help him understand what happened. If experiencing the effects of his actions is not dangerous for the child (e.g. for his health) let him feel them! Let him learn by acting. If the consequences threaten his security, you should repeat or determine the specific limits of behaviour, and standards. When he does not follow them, you finish the game or other activity related to the rules.
4. Let your child to calm down (up to 3 years of age). If the child is unable to adjust to the general principles observed at home e.g. to keep silence, send them to his room or another specific place. Let him calmly reflect on his bahaviour. When you return to the child after a specified time, ask if he is ready to return to the rest of the family and listen to the rules. He should not treat this as a punishment, but the time to think about his feelings, which may then rapidly intermingle with each other. It is also a time for you to calm down. If, after coming back, your child starts to misbehave again, repeat the same steps. Be consistent!
5. React on time, do not wait until the situation becomes an "emergency". Take over when it is still possible. If you set some rules, refer to them before the situation gets even more complicated.
6. When you explain the rules to your child look straight into his eyes, sit or squat down to be at his eye level. Focus his attention on yourself, e.g. by touching his arm.

When you can not talk...

When you talk to your child, the conflict situation is simpler. What to do if your infant drives you to a similar state and you lose control? First you can do the same as I described above. Leave the baby under the supervision of another adult or put him alone and safe in his cot. Give yourself a moment to rest. You probably got angry because you are very tired and that day the baby was crying more than usual, requiring your constant attention and observation. You had no time to gather your thoughts, so do it now! Jerking, shaking, and beating the baby will not make him stop crying, quite the contrary. Under the influence of negative emotions you can harm him and you will regret it and feel ashamed that you took it out on a small and weak, defenseless person. When you are ready, go and hug your baby ... you will soon remember how much you love him and that you do not want to hurt him.

When you feel you can not do it alone...

Do not be ashamed of asking for help. Do not be afraid of being judged by others. Those whom you love, know you and know that one deed does not mean that you can not bring up your child. The fact that you are asking for advice shows that you are a responsible person who cares about her family. You can seek help within your family or ask specialists (e.g. Child and Family Centre).


Mum of 9 year old Patrycja, 11 years of professional experience

Karolina Taranko

Creativity Psychopedagogue
- consulting

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