Friday, December 15

Will You Spare a Rod?

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Disciplining a child comes in many forms. Parental strategies to discipline a child affect a child’s well-being – that we should bear in our minds.

Not every parent agrees using force as disciplinary approach. Spanking, or “punishing with a rod” (figuratively speaking), is a big no-no to some. Such approach is disgraceful, upsetting or unnecessary. But children grow and develop their sense of self. They start to negotiate, compromise, resist and assert what they want. And because of the emotional attachment of children to their parents, they use this to demand more than what is needed. As children grow, the folly within grows, too, knowing that their parents cannot say ‘no’ to their wishes. They learn to be manipulative, too.

Children’s early personality growth varies, too, depending on their relationship with their parents or whoever is the caregiver, depending on the values imbued in them, or depending on the environ where they participate. In any case, children have the tendency to mess up the favor and free will afforded to them. Being still very young is one main reason.

“Punishing with a rod” does not necessarily mean that parents should beat their children black-and-blue. Using force, like a light slap or a few slaps on the buttocks, to communicate a parent’s authority can do. Serious physical punishment like making them kneel on grains or salt will make them angry and frustrated, especially when they are driven to do such acts just because of petty misdeeds.

Disciplining a young child can be very frustrating at times especially if the child is strong-willed. Our emotions should not overwhelm reason that the child is still immature to understand fully. We should take a deep breath, or count to ten, or drink a glass of water before exercising our power and authority. The child may comply when serious physical punishment is applied but can become angry inside and be defiant in the absence of the parent.

Some helpful tips for parents:*

  • emphasize firm and consistent expectations and rationale
  • listen receptively to the child’s views
  • foster the child’s cooperation and a more harmonious parent-child relationship

*Microsoft Encarta Reference Libraryy 2004

Now, will you spare a rod and bear the little child’s folly?

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