Gender Gender

‘My children need discipline’

DEAR Raphael and Namukolo,
GREETINGS, I need help on how one can discipline children?
Dear BC,
The subject of parenting and disciplining of children is a vast one which needs a lot of time and space to address. We can therefore only offer you some guidelines here:
Set the rules or standards. Agree with everyone in your home on what the rules are. If you are a married couple, you need to sit down and draw up the rules which will govern life in your house. This agreement between husband and wife is very important as any disagreement will greatly compromise your ability to discipline your children.
Teach and explain the rules. Take time to teach and explain the rules to your children.
Do not ambush them with punishment they do not understand. Before any punishment is meted out, relate it to the rules.
Live out the rules. Set an example as parents. Subject yourselves to the same standards like everyone else. If you teach that telling lies is bad, do not be guilty of telling lies yourself!
Enforce the rules: Just having rules or standards which are not being enforced is a waste of time. Enforce the rules in the following manner:
Age: The discipline should be age appropriate. There are different stages of growth and each stage will require a different approach. For example 0-5 years; 6-12 years; 13-19 years (teens); 20-21 years (adolescents); 22 years and above (adults). Whilst spanking might be advisable in the earlier stages of growth; it becomes inappropriate as they grow older.
As they grow older you might have to resort to sanctions – like making them miss their favourite activities.
Legally: Do not use deprivation of essential items as a form of punishment. For example do not deny them food, water, sleep, shelter, education etc. as doing so crosses the line into cruelty and abuse and is no longer legitimate discipline.
Consistently: Be consistent with enforcing the rules. Do not practise partiality or favouritism. Do not ignore an offence today and punish the same offence when committed on another day.
Soberly: Avoid being emotional – let them understand that they are disciplined for the wrong done and not that you hate them. Leave anger out of the disciplinary procedure.
Watch out against negative external influence. For example grannies who spoil the children by shielding them from being disciplined, or relatives who prescribe harsh treatment for the children.
Compliment good behaviour. Be quick to compliment and to reward compliance to the rules or standards.
Let children become whatever they have to be. Don’t try to mould them according to your understanding of life. Your child need not do what you did in your life; your child should do something that you did not even dare to think in your life. Only then will the world progress.
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