Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mummy’s Wednesday: What is the best way to discipline a child?

We are mothers and truth be told, raising a child is not a task for the fickle minded especially when that child is not a quiet one but a hyperactive human being.

It gets to that point when they have stopped being infants and graduated to toddlers and preschoolers; then it’s time for some disciplinary measures to be put in place. A saying goes, train up a child in the way that he should go and when he grows up, he will not depart from it. Opinions of parents differ as to when to start disciplining a child. 

While some have claimed that they started teaching their babies right from wrong as early as 2 weeks old, others believe discipline should properly commence by 6 months. It varies from one parent to another but hey, do it as it works for you so long as you don’t get it done late.

Another question that has come in with parents is the mode of discipline. A woman complained on Babycenter website that when she’s with her daughter and she does something that needs disciplining, she usually gives her time-outs but she is worried that her husband resorts to spanking the child. She is also more worried of the fact that she feels he should not spank her but can’t say because she is his daughter too.

Many people shared their views with responses below…

Mum A: I see nothing wrong with a little spanking every once in a while. My children are 3 and 5 and extremely well behaved. Spanking is a last resort; however they both know that if they don't listen after a time out in the corner, then the spanking comes next. Yes my children are scared of the spanking punishment, but isn't that the point? 

After a time out or a spanking my husband and I always talk to them about why they got punished. Not once did they not understand what they did wrong or why they got spanked. Neither of my children EVER hit, push nor bully any other children or each other as a result of spanking. They know that spanking and time-outs are what grown-ups do to misbehaving children and that they should never hit anyone out of anger. Our spankings are never hard and never leave a mark. It's just the thought that upsets them. 

There is nothing wrong with a child fearing their parents if they do something wrong. If they didn't have some sort of fear, then they wouldn't care whether or not what they are doing is wrong. If adults didn't fear authority, then what is preventing from breaking the law? I think I would laugh if a police officer or judge talked to me calmly after breaking the law and just gave a time out in my room where I could comfortably watch tv and relax. Come to think of it I think that would be kind of nice...a chance to do what I wanted. We never spank hard and like I said, it's rare, but they know it's there. 

My kids know they are loved, as we show them every day and unconditionally. I think society is becoming way to soft on misbehaving children, that’s why you always see kids in the store stamping their feet and throwing a temper tantrum because they don't get what they want. They know as soon as they get home they get their nice little punishment in their cozy little room, in cozy little bed and may even get a short nap out of the deal. My son acted up once in the store and never did it again, and yes he never did it again out of fear(ooo theres that bad word again) of getting a spanking when we get home. Now every time they are good in the store they know that there is chocolate milk and cookies at the end of the rainbow.

Mum B: I noticed that my husband disciplines based on how he was raised as a child. I didn't like the way I was disciplined as a child so I read up on what experts say about discipline these days. I learned a lot about child development and I can see for myself the negative effects (if any!) "old fashion" discipline will have on my 2 yr old. For example- if a 2y.o. doesn't fully grasp actions have consequences yet, the wrong punishment will make the kid miserable, but he won't learn anything from it. And if he doesn't learn anything from it, what's the point of making the whole family suffer? 

My husband does feel bad when I don't let him discipline his children his way, but I firmly believe that healthy, CONSISTENT disciplining will be ultimately better for our children. I also think it will save a lot of grief later when our son figures out how to play the 2 of us against each know- "But Mommy says...!" But on the issue of spanking, there is a HUGE difference between spanking as corporal punishment and beating a child because an adult can't control their own raging emotions. A swat on the butt sends a loud and clear message- Mom's had enough! Beating a kid with a shoe repeatedly for something like not sharing is terrorism. And as far as I know, spanking has always been accepted, in every culture, in every age.

Commenter A: My suggestion is to keep the yelling down and use spanking as a last resort. If you continue to use these methods of discipline your children will have a hard time coping with them. They may become afraid of you or they will openly rebel. In either case you may end up losing their trust and they won't come to you for help when they should. They fear reprisal when they need positive attention. 

How will you be when your child at age 16 calls you for help at 4am when she is stuck somewhere where she knows she shouldn't be. If she is afraid of you she won't call and may do something even more unwise. Patience is key. If you endeavor to use it, they will also learn it and they will also learn to trust you. Create the boundaries and stick to them but without constant yelling or corporal forms of punishment.

Mum C: ok - regardless of your approval of spanking or not, the real issue here is communication. You and your husband need to sit down together when your daughter is not around and discuss what type of punishment you both feel should be used and when. The important thing here is to be consistent and present a "united front" to your daughter. Never criticize your husband's discipline in front of your daughter. She may learn to use it against you. By having consistency, your daughter will know what to expect and more than likely, the behavior issues will help themselves. Don't forget to include a discussion on positive reinforcement and time-ins! My son is best when he has had praise for something that day and input into his day.

The above are just people’s feelings as to the sort of punishment that is suitable for a child and how parents can decide which mode of discipline to adapt to.

Mums, I am throwing the floor open for you to share your views on child discipline. Do you and your husband have a particular way you discipline your child? How effective has it been? Do you have problems with the way someone else or your spouse disciplines your child?

You can also share success stories for us all to learn and see if we can implement subtle methods of disciplining our babies.

Drop your comments please…
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