Bedtime and Kids: Is The Best Discipline Spanking?

Parenting Question

“Kelly, I’ve got five words for you: bedtime, kids, discipline, spanking and HELP! Our two sons are next to impossible to get to bed at night, and in the last while we’ve started spanking them. We’ve always threatened to, but really didn’t have to follow through. But when it started taking over 90 minutes to get them to bed, enough was enough! Now they are trying to hit us back, run around and it’s exhausting. I don’t know if you can help, but I would like to know what you might suggest.-Frustrated Mom (and Dad)”

Positive Parenting Tip for Bedtime and Kids

Dear Frustrated Mom:

Sounds like your family is burning the midnight oil and the fuel that is firing up this conflict is your sons’ goal of power. The only question is, who will win? My goal is to have you all win. Resolving bedtime struggles is a common question. In my book When You’re about To Go Off The Deep End, Don’t Take
Your Kids With You
, I explain that bedtime is an epidemic problem that plagues most households. If it’s not one more story, it’s “ten more minutes” of their favorite TV show or dawdling in the bathroom. Children will also manage to get their babysitters to let them stay up long past their bedtime. To avoid being conned or manipulated again, try my approach:

1. Tell Them What You Are Going To Do. Say something like, “Part of what I love to do with you is read stories at bedtime, but sometimes I feel frustrated when bedtime takes a lot longer than it needs to be. So from now on I will be at your bedside promptly at ____p.m. to tuck you in. If you are not there at that time all ready to be tucked in, I will start getting ready for bed myself. If you would like a hug, you can come and find me for a quick one, but I will not return to your room.”
bedtime and kids discipline
photo credit: Liz Henry
2. Follow Through. As you stated, be in their room on time. If you feel it’s necessary, give them one five-minute warning. If they aren’t ready at the specified time, leave-and be prepared to keep your mouth shut at all costs (regardless of tears, angry words, or pleads to be tucked in). Go into the bathroom, lock the door and get ready yourself. Give them one hug if they ask, then continue with your tasks. If they try to get you involved, simply say, “I’ll be happy to speak with you in the morning. Sweet dreams.” And that is all.

Lastly, know that your children will test you. Chances are they will test you hard! This gives you the opportunity to be consistent in your new approach to discipline, kids, spanking and bedtime. As soon as they realize that you are consistent in your new way to put them to bed, then they will have no choice but
to change their own behavior.

Kelly Nault, MA author of When You’re About To Go Off The Deep End, Don’t Take Your Kids With You shares time-tested tools that motivate children to want to be well behaved, responsible and happy! Sign up for her free online parenting course here. © Ultimate Parent All rights reserved

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