Disciplining of children has become a very touchy issue. Rather than deal with it, we are dancing around it! We all love our children very much but we cannot escape the fact that we need to discipline them. The world has changed, at least we agree on that. We are now living in a technological era, meaning our children are being exposed to way more than what we knew at their age. Can you imagine what is going in their little minds as they try to process all the information they are bombarded with? They end up acting up or acting out. Being parents who are also schooled in new ways of raising our children, we are not quite sure how to deal with this. Do we spank our children or do we give them a time out? How do we deal with them and their errant ways?
Having two daughters of my own, I am faced with the same dilemma and it is very important to decide early on what you will do, for indeed children love consistency. Let them understand that certain behavior leads to certain consequence so that you are not changing the rules of the game every time. For younger children, I believe spanking is important. They are at an age where pain is something they don’t necessarily want to feel and it might deter them from repeating bad behavior. Speaking with a firm voice is also important. Note though, not shouting because this just shows that you are frustrated. Amazingly also, when you get into the habit of shouting, your children follow suit. We are their greatest role models, remember? To spank a child, get to their level and explain why you want to spank them before you do it. Then once you have, explain that that does not nullify your love for them. I really understand that sometimes we spank when we are really annoyed. Try and avoid that because it might lead you to really hurting your child!
Now if you notice that spanking is not working or when the children are a bit grown, say they are in their pre-teens, work more on withholding privileges. Yeah, at this stage, they have many. They might love certain programs on television, they might have cell phones, video games, very close friends who they love visiting… any of the above could work just fine. You withdraw a privilege for a certain period of time only to be reinstated when there is reform or after the agreed period.
The truth of the matter is, the earlier you arrest a bad behavior, the easier it is for the child to change. The formative years are critical in ensuring your child tows the line. I always think of the story of the prisoner who was about to be executed and had asked to see his mum as his last wish. When the mother showed up, he requested her to move closer as he wanted to whisper something in her ear. When she did, he bit her ear! With bitterness, he explained that she never told him that stealing was wrong and now he was about to lose his life.
The same applies to our children. Jail and the hangman noose might seem like out of this world, but that might be by and large what we are exposing them to if we refuse to discipline them. They might not go to a physical jail but they may lead a life similar to one being ostracized by the society, not being able to keep a job or have a social life.
Therefore instill discipline as early as possible in order to raise adults who are of benefit to the society.