Bullying or outright brutality against children in the name of discipline, is a serious issue that will continue until parents, teachers and administrators address the reasons why kids are being brutalised.
A lot of children have ended up receiving various degrees of injuries in different parts of their bodies and in some cases died due to provocations that were not properly handled.
Recently, an image was displayed on facebook of a child who was badly injured through beating by a teacher in School. Can this be called discipline?
Effective discipline is one which is applied with mutual respect in a firm, fair, reasonable and consistent way and the goal should be to protect the child from danger, help the child learn self-discipline, and develop a healthy conscience and an internal sense of responsibility and control.
It should be one that can instill values as well as appeal to the conscience of the child being disciplined in a way that makes the child remorseful and thereafter yearns to make amends.
On the other hand, Corporal punishment, which is meant to inflict pain on a child, is an ineffective method of discipline that has never produced positive results.
Often times, it hardens its victims, making it very difficult for such to be receptive to love or even give it out, thereby affecting their future negatively.
It does not instill morals rather, it is like sweeping dirt under the carpet, because children in such situations only pretend to be responsible under surveillance but thereafter misbehave in the absence of monitoring.
The School as well as the home are supposed to be a safe haven for children. They should never fear walking around the school halls or playground because someone is bent on making their lives miserable nor should the thought of coming home to meet a terrorist scare them.
Unfortunately, more absurd is a situation where you find parents meting out outright wickedness on their children in the name of discipline.
For instance, sometimes back, a woman living around New Era, Jalingo, applied grinded pepper into her son’s eyes and anus, forcing him to kneel and lift a big stone as a measure of discipline for stealing from a neighbour.
Again an image appeared on Facebook of a father who beat up his toddler daughter for losing the sandals he bought for her. This is the height of wickedness!
Parents and Teachers alike should understand that, children most times behave in very awkward manners as it is part of their makeup. However, it should be noted that when a child exhibits such unwanted behaviours, there is usually a reason behind it.
It therefore takes extra patience and effort for you to calm down in order to understand why that child is acting in such a manner; it could be as a result of the foundation of his upbringing, behaviours attached to a particular age bracket, he or she could just be seeking for attention, testing boundaries, or frustrated about school or social life.
Below are 5 steps that could be applied as disciplinary measures to check a child’s misbehaviour, instead of bullying:
- Set rules that must be followed. It is very important for children to know the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ of the family as well as made to understand that failure to observe such rules attract punishment.
- Learn to talk to them. Do not wait for events to influence a talk with your children. Always set aside time to talk to them on variety of issues which include, acceptable behaviours, table manners, respect for elders, and so on.
- Do not give room for argument. You must be firm in your decisions and consistent as well. When a child understands that he can argue his case through, then you lose your power over him and it may be difficult to get instant obedience from such a child when occasion calls for it.
- Enforce disciplinary measures. Let them understand that disciplinary measures set for them is for their good and not meant to cause them grief. Do not issue empty or unrealistic threats as this will make you lack credibility. Avoid yelling and ranting. Let them know that every misbehaviour attracts appropriate penalties. For instance, if a child is asked to kneel down, make sure he does it for the stipulated period and does not just walk away from punishment scene on his own accord.
- You can also apply imposition or withdrawal method. This is a situation where you ask the child to run unpleasant errands, engage him or her in a profitable venture or better still, apportion a time frame in which you expect a particular chore or assignment carried out and follow up to make sure he obeys to the latter. You can also withdraw certain privileges from them for a stipulated period. For instance, watching a favourite Television show, eating a favourite dish or snack, attending a particular programme and so on, until he learns his lessons.
Whatever you do, remember, the goal of any discipline should be to protect the child from danger, help the child learn self-discipline, and dev internal sense of responsibility and control as well as instill values to make the child better rather than devastated and traumatised.