It should be noted by all parents that there is a very big difference between punishing a child and discipline him/her. Punishment is very good because it tells the child that actions consequences. But punishment must lead to a point where a child can on his own choose not to misbehave, that point is called discipline. A disciplined child can make the right choice unsupervised.
But unfortunately, many times punishment does not lead to discipline because of wrong administration. There are common mistakes parents make when punishing and the end result is negative. Many children even become more stubborn.
Below are Seven (7) Rules for Punishment:
i. Avoid Punishing for a first time offence:- If Jenny went to the convenience without flushing, that is an offence in most houses, do not punish her yet. Ask her to flush and immediately please stipulate a punishment for that offence. "The next time you do this, you will get 5 lashes of cane on your bumbum or you will wash the toilet for a week" or any other punishment you so desire. Let Jenny know the consequence for that action. The next time she does it, do not shout, do not get angry, loot at Jenny at her eye level, squat or bend if you have to, in a deep serious voice remind her of the consequence of that action and please follow it through. Give her 5 lashes of cane. Take note, the lashes of cane shouldn't be 3 or 4 but 5 as stipulated. Jenny must not think you're beating her out of anger but because of what she did wrong. By that, she will learn that action has consequence. Next time she uses the toilet, she will flush.
ii. Be Consistent:- If a punishment for an offence is 5 lashes, please give 5 lashes each time that offence is committed. Do not pardon Jenny sometimes depending on your mood. Do not threaten without following it through. If you do, Jenny will begin to take you for granted and it's a terrible situation.
iii. Never Beat a Child Out of Anger:- No don't do it. You came back from work and noticed that Jenny has broken the center due to excessive play, you get to angry that you land Jenny a few dirty slaps while screaming at her. Wrong! although your table is so expensive but that child's character is more valuable. Be the parent, be in control of your emotions. When you react out of anger, you're telling your child that it's OK to react out of anger. They learn more by what they see you do rather then what you say.
iv. Do not Beat Impulsively:- Always give a pre-stipulated punishment as mentioned earlier, this is so important, you could be teaching your child violence when you just beat out of anger. I had to repeat this because it's important. How do you want Jenny to react when she's angry? Practice it on Jenny. If you always beat because you're angry, then as a parent, you need to discipline yourself.
v. Do not Shout Threats:- Please have a serious voice, practice it. It should be deeper than your normal talking voice, threaten only once and follow through next time it happens. A parent who shouts a lot will likely raise a child who will shout a lot.
vi. Reward Good Behavior:- If Jenny was punished for an offence and next time she chose not to repeat it, you have succeeded at discipline. Please do reward her behavior. Acknowledge it, tell her you're proud of her. Hug her, do something to re-enforce that good behavior, discipline is not all about beating.
vii. Avoid using your Hands to Beat:- Don't slap, don't knock. Get a small cane if you must beat, if Jenny messes up and the punishment is 5 lashes of cane as stipulated, ask her to get the cane herself, those seconds will give you time to calm down, always remind her of why you're giving 5 lashes of cane before giving it. Do not use your hands, hands are for loving and not violence, especially avoid slapping girls. they may think it is normal and not recognize domestic violence when they see it in future (God forbid).
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