By Osarennoma Ogbeide
There is no perfect sample to discipline a child. This is because each individual is unique and different so it is only wise to discipline a child in accordance with their personality. Many of us grew with the African form of disciplining which eventually became a norm, involving severe and sometimes unnecessary punishments and several whooping’s from “beating instruments” such as canes, belts, slippers, turning stick or any nearby instruments that could serve the purpose.
The truth is we’ve lost the main aim of what this discipline is meant to effect. Using these extreme forms of discipline which could even develop to become domestic abuse defeats the purpose of discipline. Children end up not knowing the reason why they are battered and bruised. Their thoughts are shifted to the fact that they are unloved by their parents or guardians. Imagine a young girl carelessly breaks a plate in the course of cleaning the kitchen and in a bid to discipline her, you beat her with a cane or wire, leaving scars and bruises on her tender body. I believe that form is rather extreme for the crime committed.
I’m very sure it’ll be forgotten to tell the young girl how to better handle plates while working in the kitchen because Africans focus is that children should magically deduce the right things to do from the beating. What happens when they truly don’t know the right way? Fear won’t let them ask because another beating will probably come their way for “talking back”.
Perhaps your son and his friends are playing football in the compound and the ball misses the makeshift net and hits the car instead, leaving a dent on the bumper. Would lashing his back with belt and subjecting him to manual labour of sweeping all the compounds on your street fix the dent?
Such acts of discipline would not only make the children feel unloved, they develop fear for their parents and only devise ways where they won’t get caught for the wrong they did. Some children would even do worse things just because they want to frustrate their unloving parents. For others, it could be a way of getting attention from their always busy parents. Different personalities, different underlying explanations. Know your child, you don’t have to discipline all children the same way. We can learn from some theories developed by psychologists. There is another path to discipline that doesn’t involve beating.