How to discipline your child without using coercive means
Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
Now, this is a big question that faces the parents. It is not that our parents and generations before them had it easy. It never was an easy task. But let’s face it. Today’s children are well-informed, vocal and independent and they can neither be threatened, coerced or even flattered into acting in a certain way or following a particular way of life. They need reason and logic to do anything you wish them to do. In that sense, parenting today is a big task than ever before.
All of you parents who think beating, slapping or hitting is the correct way to prevent undesirable behaviour or to punish unwanted behaviour among children. Please stop. It is abuse and can never result in anything good. If anything, it only teaches a child is that violence is the way to a problem. And this is something he/she will carry into adulthood. Kids who are physically abused turn into abusers in adulthood. You certainly don’t want that! Do you?
Let’s see some way in which we can discipline a child:
a) Set an example for your child. Children learn by seeing, not hearing. So, if you don’t want your child to argue with you, you don’t argue with your parents! It’s as simple as that. By all means, set rules for them, but you follow them first.
b) Involve your child. Let your child help you as you work out the rules for the family. This way they will feel important and also become more responsible.
c) If a child has made a mistake, don’t start shouting at him/ her. Let the child sit in a corner and ponder over his/her mistake, while you cool your tempers down. And then talk it out, discuss the issue.
d) In case a child has misbehaved, take back one of his/her favourite things. Or cancel a pre-planned outing, Or cancel his TV watching time. These may seem small things to an adult but are very important for a child. Again it is important to have a discussion with the child about his or her behaviour and reinforce what is acceptable and what is not.
e) Don’t be miserly in appreciation and rewards. If your child has scored well in exams/won a competition reward him/her well.
f) If you think you have great difficulty in handling your child, seek professional help. Visit a counsellor/teacher/social worker who are educationally and professionally trained in child psychology.
Above all, spend time with your children. Talk to them and encourage them to talk. Show your child lots of love so that he/she feels safe and secure and can trust you. A child who does not trust his parents or does not feel confident enough to talk freely with them can be very difficult to deal with.