Lifestyle

Experts show how to discipline children without smacking

Michael Hawton teaches his 1-2-3 Magic parenting support program to industry professionals at the Gladstone Community Advisory Centre. Michael believes it is counterproductive for parents to smack children.
Michael Hawton teaches his 1-2-3 Magic parenting support program to industry professionals at the Gladstone Community Advisory Centre. Michael believes it is counterproductive for parents to smack children. Christopher Chan

HOW to safely discipline your child is a contentious topic.

Last week Communities for Children funded a course to be taught to 48 people from a range of family-based sectors in the Gladstone region.

Michael Hawton is a 1-2-3 Magic practitioner, teaching parents and industry professionals how to discipline children using alternative methods to smacking.

The attendees, who are experts working with children and families, can now share the information with their clients.

"It's about giving parents a step-by-step method for not only understanding what's going on with their kids but also to work out how to not raise their voices, and revert to smacking," Mr Hawton said.

He said it encourages discussing good behaviour in conversation, instead of during discipline.

"You need to pull yourself together first and not lose yourself with your children," he said.

He said the main problematic behaviours parents saw him about were what he called "the big rocks".

"The big ones are children acting or speaking rudely, hurting themselves or others or wrecking things like toys or drawing on walls.

"Once you've identified the big rocks you need to tell your children these are unacceptable in a conversation before they occur so you're doing it outside the incident, indicating disciplinary rules," he said.

"It's definitely counterproductive to smack, because you don't help children develop self-regulation with smacking."

Communities for Children project officer Debbie Flaherty and Gladstone Reads co-ordinator Lyn Hughes said there were now a range of programs to support parents.

They said a network was starting to form.

And it's not just a network of information sharing, but a network of collaborative partnerships where those partnerships were able to affect clients on the ground, not just professionals.

There has been a high level of interest in the classes. The organisation has just secured funding for the next four years and will continue to offer the programs.

Topics:  families, parenting, smacking



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