Added: Iva Laforce - Date: 24.06.2021 09:13 - Views: 40831 - Clicks: 6683
It is hard to imagine that just three decades ago disciplinary tactics such as repeated caning on the legs, locking the child up in a room, or sending them to bed hungry raised nary an eyebrow. When I was in primary school, I recall being whacked across the palm with a wooden ruler as well as being smacked on the head with a book by one of my teachers. First things first — what is the heart of discipline? Why do we do the at-times unpleasant thing of taking just caning children to task?
We discipline because we want to teach the child to discern right from wrong, and to choose right over wrong.
It is done with the end goal in mind: That they will grow to become mature, responsible adults. Very often, the focus is on correcting behaviour, but what is actually happening in effective discipline is we are helping the child develop an inner conscience — the little voice in us that warns us when we are about to do something inappropriate.
A family walking in Singapore. Photo: Gaya Chandramohan. Harsh, authoritarian methods like caning have given way to softer, more up-to-date tactics like time-outs, time-ins, withdrawal of privileges, and natural consequences. What do I mean by natural consequences? Well, for example, if junior tried to stay up late playing games on his phone under a blanket, a natural or associated consequence would be a new household policy to surrender his phone by 9pm every night.
Some children learn better the soft way, and do not generally require any harsh disciplinary action at all. I can attest to this with my experience with one easy-going child of my own. Also, are you able to mete out corporal punishment in a way that is driven by love and reason instead of anger? This is a very hard balance to reach. Parent and child at a playground in Punggol. There is no one-size-fits-all method, but we need to remember that discipline and love are just caning sides of the same coin.
If you do choose to use it, bear in mind that its efficacy reduces with age; studies show that corporal punishment loses its effectiveness after the age of ten. We should never reach for the cane when in rage as this can lead one to overdo it and enter into the territory of abuse. When combined with a clear explanation of the reason and loving restoration afterwards like a hug or just caning of reassurancecaning can still be an effective tool for some parents to teach obedience and respect for authority for some youngsters.
File photo: Pixabay. Different children react differently to harsh methods. Some may learn quickly to avoid the pain; for others, it may not result in progress but instead stir up anger and resentment and push the child further away from the parent — which is the opposite of what you want to achieve. One area where parents should think twice about meting out corporal punishment is in academics and schoolwork. However, if junior is exhibiting a laissez-faire attitude towards his poor grades, try to understand his struggles and think of ways to motivate and support him.
Students attending a class at just caning primary school. Many parents today lean towards gentler, more respectful forms of discipline and teaching. In his book The New Strong-willed Child, James Dobson wrote: "Parents must be willing to let children experience a reasonable amount of pain when they behave irresponsibly.
If he mocks his sibling for losing at a game, he may get a scolding and his play-time cut short. If he steals a toy from the departmental store, he may get two swats on his behind and have to own up to the store manager.
There are more reasonable ways to teach obedience and good conduct. These include logical consequences as mentioned above, and positive reinforcement — when we catch the child demonstrating obedience and pro-social behaviour, and affirm them in a timely way. Just as our children are learning daily, we adults can take steps toward positive change. If just caning want our children to flourish under our care, adopt a firm but loving hand. It is the best way to support their development while safeguarding the parent-child relationship.
June Yong is a mother of three, an educational therapist and owner of Mama Wear Papa Shirta blog that discusses parenting and education in Singapore.
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