The etiquettes behind parenting and how these can influence the growth of children
Children are not small adults. They are newcomers to the world where everything is a first to them. They are inquisitive, playful, imaginative, impressionable, uncritical and driven by extrinsic motivations. They will think in the short term and mostly about their own needs. Children are told stories about the world and about what to do and what not to do. Adults around them mould the formative years of their life.
Child discipline is about setting simple implementable rules, generally with rewards and sanctions, to teach self-discipline and to produce behaviour that will help children fit in with society. It is also about reducing undesirable behaviour so that children are kept safe. Its aim is to develop basic human qualities and acceptable social habits that become embedded in their character.
The issue of child discipline is of major concern to parents, teachers and other professionals who deal with children. Human beings are multi-dimensional; as our values, beliefs, education, customs and cultures vary, so do the methods of child discipline. The age, mental maturity and temperament of the child are important factors.
In recent times, increased attention has been given to the concept of ‘assertive discipline’ and ‘positive parenting,’ where good behaviour is encouraged and rewarded.
Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. As children grow, family, school, neighbourhood and the wider society all contribute to their developmental journey of life. They grow with informal and formal rules and regulations that bind them. For humans, the gestation period is thus far longer compared to any other creature.
Positive discipline starts early, not just when a child starts misbehaving. Obviously, everything starts in the family, the bedrock of human society, where parents behave as an anchor and role model.
Good schooling is vital to assist children in this endeavour where children learn through positive discipline. All schools should focus on assertive discipline and promote positive behaviour so that children grow self-discipline and respect for others.
Positive discipline techniques
Parents and carers should discipline their children at the right time if they do something out of order and correct their inappropriate behaviour. Strong but rational and consistent discipline through simple incentives and sanctions are important for a child’s motivation. Here are a few simple tips.
1. Treat children as children
Children should be treated as children. As they grow and go to school, they become increasingly more able to talk about their feelings and are better able to understand and follow rules.
2. Involve them in setting boundaries and rules
It is vital children are given respect they deserve. Explain your position, listen to their opinion and then compromise where you think it is needed. Don’t be too stubborn on things that can be flexible; do not allow your ego to dictate and do not fear of losing face when it comes to dealing with young children.
3. Be gentle, but firm
Let your children know it is safe to express their feelings – as long as they do so respectfully. Respect goes both ways, so speak with your children the way you want them to speak to you. Do not shout. Say what you need with clear voice and in a calm manner. Do not forget to say “please” and “thank you.”
4. Use dos and don’ts with measure
Focus on the behaviour you want to see, not what they are doing wrong. Fault-finding destroys relationship. Instead of showing an angry face or saying, “Don’t throw that ball around the house”, say “Doing that could break something. Let’s go outside and play.”
5. Find out what is behind their behaviour
Try to find out reasons of your child’s disobedience or misbehaviour. Maybe your child was abrasive to you because someone had poked fun at him/her in school that s/he did not like. Step back, and consider what may have caused them to misbehave. Later on, after they have calmed down, ask them what happened.
6. Keep discipline simple
Your school-going child may be better able to understand rules, but avoid going into too much detail. Over-enthusiasm in following rules or asking for an explanation about small things could be counter-productive. If soft power works in a situation, why use hard power?
7. Be consistent
Involve, consult and then agree on family rules so that children are clear what to do and what to avoid. Don’t waver or be inconsistent; they give children the message that you are not certain about what you are asking or saying.
8. Avoid hard-hitting discipline measures
Whatever the misbehaviour, avoid shouting and keep away from angry exchanges with your child. Parental outburst is demeaning and undermines their authority in the eyes of their children. Anger is fire and can burn relationships.
9. Turn negatives into positives
Childhood innocence is of immense joy to parents. Successful parents, like successful leaders, should be able to turn their children’s negative behaviours into a positive outcome through their ingenuity. It needs extra patience and wisdom.
Children are vulnerable, so child discipline has to be sensitive.
“Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” Plato
Image from: http://home-school-coach.com/ten-valuable-tips-for-parents-parenting/
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