Parenting Guide

Some of us equate discipline with punishment. This is not right. Rather discipline is positive behavior and it can be instilled while nurturing with love. It is the key which opens the door to prosperity, health and happiness; it gives direction, cultivates self confidence and provides satisfaction in every work. Teach the young ones discipline, sincerity and cleverly. Tell the child that we should obey the rules and regulations made for us honestly. Once this happens, chances of harm or hurt are least for us, and we can enjoy freedom without any risk or danger.

We all want our children to be disciplined with good manners and moral values. All parents desire their children to wish the elders, share and cooperate with others, be punctual, maintain personal hygiene and follow instructions, but in view of the present era of electronic and other media invasion, our children get all types of good and bad exposures. The human brain has the tendency to accept bad components faster, while good behaviors take a long for assimilation. In the entire universe, humans are the only creations who repeatedly not only disregard discipline, but, also, act against the laws of nature.

Mr. & Mrs. Mehra was a working couple. Gautam (twelve years old) was their only child. Believing that parents should be strict while dealing with the children, most of the time they enforced over- discipline: he must go to bed by nine and be up by five, TV and other entertainment should not exceed one hour/ day, he must eat, drink and play as they told him to. Gautam’s parents always adopted an authoritarian tone making Gautam suffer inwardly and always remaining in a state of perpetual fright. They never spared a moment to hear him out. Whenever an order was disobeyed for whatever reason, Gautam was punished badly. Today Gautam never expresses his will, is extremely shy, timid, and insecure

Quite contrary to this was Mrs. Agrawal, a house wife who believed in full liberty for children. Her thirteen-year-old son Sanchit had no schedule for any activity the entire day. Mrs. Agrawal spent her maximum time ether watching TV or gossiping with friends. Most of the time, Sanchit remained out of the house and spent his time playing. In the absence of any discipline in eating, he mostly ate junk foods. Today Sanchit is unhealthy and overweight. His grades in school are poor.

After coming back from school Sanjoo, an 11-year-old, would throw his things haphazardly here and there, leading to a mess in the morning when he was about to depart for school. This would cause much chaos as his parents helped him locate his things and Sanjoo underwent great anxiety thinking of being late for school. In his case, the fault was again a discipline issue. On coming back from school, he should be told to place his belt, shoes, bag, books, lunch box, and water bottle at proper and prefixed sites so that they are easily available the next morning and there will not be any breach of peace. When children come back from school, they should not be left free to do as they like. In daily lives, making preparations for the next day, making a diary for daily work, etc. are some of the activities that should be included in the list of disciplined behavior. To inculcate positive behavior in our children, authoritative parenting approach, where parenting is done with the help of both strictness and emotional support is the most suited.

Lack of discipline does a lot of harm to children as in the case of Sanchit, where child waste his energy and time for non productive task while too much discipline or wrong discipline may also be highly harmful to children as in the cases of Gautam and Sanjoo which may create feelings of insecurity in the child and may lead to shyness, timidity and over submissiveness. In some cases, they may result in negativism, aggressiveness, rebellion and temper tantrums.

Basics of Discipline

  • 1.Discipline is an age related activity.

    For example, a child can brush their teeth at the age of three years, if some parents anticipate that their child should attend this activity at one year of age, this may lead to the problem of rejection , aggression, and, at times, withdrawal and mantle trauma.

  • 2.Effective role model

    If the child has a good image of the parent in his/her mind, they will obey their command without second thoughts.

  • 3.Consistency

    Consistency is the most important feature when you insist on discipline because the child gets confused if he/she is permitted to do something which was prohibited at another time or place, or by another person. For example, if one or both parents disapprove, while another family member, such as, a grandparent approves or concedes to a behavior, e.g. the child is not allowed to eat junk food by the mother while a grandparent allows it.

  • 4.Threats, punishment and guilt

    While inculcating good behavior you should avoid repeated threats. When a threat is repeated, it loses its significance and becomes meaningless. Convey your message in a clear, loud, simple and cool way. The child must know that if he/she disobeys, there will be unpleasant consequences. Try to avoid punishment as it conveys negative reinforcement value. Repeated threats that are not carried out, withdrawal of rights, scolding, bribing are not good media to teach discipline.

  • 5.Rules, reasoning and compliance

    Rules you make to inculcate discipline should be less in number, time tested and age specific also.

  • 6.Enforce discipline with agreement among all parents.

    All adults must agree fully upon all the rules and regulations adopted at home. All members of the family must ensure that none of these are breached. Whenever one of you is grappling with indiscipline, all the others should fully support him/her unconditionally. Even if your partner is wrong, do not comment or contradict him/her in the presence of your child (ren). Sort out your differences privately.

  • 7.Inculcate discipline with love, tolerance, praise and reward

    The foundation of positive discipline lies in good relationship with the child: this will ensure that the child behaves well in order to get the approval of the parents. To build such a good relationship, the parents must spend time with their children, communicate well with them, and create a feeling and environment of love which children enjoy and feel good about...

  • 8.No blame, punishment, or criticism

    Punishment and blame can never yield any results and are never a part of good parenting. As parents and adults we have the ability to first understand the reasons for the misbehavior. Have you heard or understood the problem of your child? Have you given a single thought towards the basis for these problems? What is wrong with your child? Have you spared the time to resolve his/her problem(s)? Punishment and blame should be replaced by care, concern, conversation, correct attitude, careful listings, love and patience.

  • 9.Try to understand the reason behind indiscipline

    Before taking action for indiscipline by children, it is important to understand the reasons behind it. The misbehavior could be because the child is seeking attention. Often, the parents inadvertently punish the child for misbehavior without giving a second thought.

  • 10.Give a chance to explain misbehavior

    The child should be given a chance to explain his misbehavior. When children are seen beating each other, the older one is often presumed to be the source of trouble. The truth may have escaped your eye. The older one might have felt a challenge to his/her seniority, as when a younger sibling spits at the older one, or monopolizes the television remote. It is necessary that we listen to the explanation of the children before we jump to punishment indiscipline.