The Cambridge online dictionary defines DISCIPLINE as follows;
discipline noun (TRAINING)
training that makes people more willing to obey or more able to control themselves, often in the form of rules, and punishments if these are broken, or the behaviour produced by this training:
the ability to control yourself or other people, even in difficult situations:
Maintaining classroom discipline (= control of the students) is the first task of every teacher.
Unfortunately, ask most people about the word DISCIPLINE and it conjures images of being beaten or punished mercilessly almost to a point of feeling rebellious in retaliation. Yet discipline instilled in the right way offers immense benefits to a child
Children who are brought up in an environment high in love but low in discipline lack structure and order in their lives and tend to have feeling of low self esteem and of inferiority. On the other extreme are those children brought up in an authoritarian environment where no love or affection is expressed, very high in discipline which provokes children to be rebellious. Neglectful parents neither provide the discipline nor the love and affection needed for a child to thrive and is truly the worst environment for a child to brought up in. An authoritative environment that provides love and discipline in equal measure is the best environment to bring up a child in; yielding a child high in self esteem and coping skills.
Believe it or not children crave for discipline it gives them a sense of order and structure alleviating the anxiety that would arise when brought up in a permissive or neglectful environment. Setting boundaries and instilling boundaries for ones child ensures that they make good choices for themselves in life. A disciplined child controls their impulses and helps them self regulate. It helps them manage their emotions.
Discipline also keeps children safe. Consider the values that we instil in our children e.g. learning how to cross the road, not warming up to strangers, etc.
Now from my reading this past week there are different ways of instilling discipline in a child and the consequences method is said to be the best . Here a child learns that certain negative actions have consequences. This could result in denial of rights. The verdict is still out for corporal punishment ;whereas others advocate for it, there are those who feel that physical methods of instilling discipline in a child for example through spanking is not in order. According to focus on the family website spanking if done in the right way is beneficial to child supporting the old adage, “spare the rod and spoil the child”. According to these authorities in matters parenting; spanking should only be carried out after a child has attained 18 months of age and stopped at the onset of adolescent. For further information on the different methods of discipline please follow through the links provided at the end of this article.
Worth noting is that any methods of instilling discipline in a child should only be carried out in the cases of wilful defiance and not just childish irresponsibility due to limitations of immaturity. Discipline should be immediate, powerful and consistent and the child should always understand why they have been disciplined.
We are bringing up our children in different circumstances compared to our parents. Whereas in the past parents were skewed towards the authoritarian style of parenting where “children are to be seen and not heard”, in these day it is to the extreme, a permissive type of parenting where children are shown a lot of love and affection with minimal discipline, the key thing is to strive to find a balance.
Open communication with our children is key so that they easily share any challenges that they come across in life. Also consider the effects of technology absent during the childhood of millennial parents. We cannot do away with technology but we are advised as parents to regulate the use of gadgets by our children, by setting examples ourselves. For example when around your children, be present and avoid the use of the phone as much as possible. Set boundaries and give consequences when they are broken.
There is no one size fits all type of instilling discipline in children as it differs from child to child and from circumstance to circumstance but I hope the nuggets shared in this article will be of benefit to you as they have been to me. If you are a parent or guardian take a pledge with me, “I will instil Discipline in my child.”
An awesome weekend to all. And thank you for reading this article.
February 2018 – soaring in love and Discipline of children
© Kwambie Nyambane