How to Discipline A Child Without Being Abusive

How to Discipline A Child Without Being Abusive - Poh Ern Si Penang Buddha Temple Penang blog
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In the old days, there was a popular saying “spare the rod, spoil the child”, which still holds true even today, except it has fallen into oblivion in today’s modern world. It is quite ironic that as our society progresses in terms of the advancement of science and technology, we end up regressing on the subject of how to discipline a child without being abusive.

As one of the most talked about topics in the parenting world, let us discuss and deliberate on how to instill discipline in a child and the effective ways to discipline a child, without coming off as a “monster” of a parent.

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The Common Ways to Discipline A Child in the Past

How to discipline a child without being abusive - spare the rod spoil the child - Buddhism blog Penang Buddhist temple
Source: The Telegraph

Disciplining a child in those ancient days of the fifties and sixties was a norm that came with the enforcement of caning. Strict discipline meant severe punishment of caning and making a student stand outside along the classroom corridor.

Those were the days to ensure everyone would understand the meaning of discipline. Everyone had to behave and toe the line of instructions.

The fascinating thing is that, everything worked smoothly. Cases of indiscipline rarely occurred or at least were under control. Parents instilled discipline in their children to ensure family dignity and reflection of well-mannered children.

The Different Ways to Discipline A Child by Parents Today

Today, the whole scenario of how to discipline a child has changed. Parents no longer know how to discipline a defiant child and only indulge them to the point of spoiling their kids to become rude brats in society, thinking they have done their children’s upbringing right by sparing the rod in the name of parental love and affection.

Some parents may question, is it legal to discipline a child? The answer is yes, it is never a wrong thing to do to discipline a child. The only caveat is how you go about disciplining your child effectively without being abusive or using the wrong efforts.

Apart from the proper parenting knowledge being mostly absent in parents of today, how to discipline a child without yelling or hitting is also difficult in school settings. The situation in the world has come to the point where to avoid the wrongful accusation of caning a student abusively, instructions were given that no teacher is allowed to cane any student regardless of any unruly manner except by the school principal.

Even then, the headmaster of the school must inform the affected parents and also register the name and reason for caning. While the move is made to safeguard students from unnecessary abuse of punishments, the lack of freedom granted to teachers to educate and enforce discipline in children on behalf of parents leads to the current setting where indiscipline now becomes the order of the day in many schools.

Many students play truant or often come late to school without any physical punishment except the enforcement of mild scolding and punishment in the form of a demerit system. It goes without saying that when a school faces a lot of disciplinary problems, academic performances tend to hit the bottom line.

How to Discipline A Child Without Being Abusive

How to discipline a child without being abusive - mother teaching informal education to her child at home - Buddhism blog Penang Buddhist temple

So, how to discipline a child without being abusive? Where do we start our disciplinary sessions with our children? The key is to start disciplining a child from the very beginning: at home.

Parenting plays a very important role in educating our children to become disciplined in character. By parenting, we mean giving informal education at home when our child is at the pre-school stage such as teaching our child to show respect to the elderly, greet people with manners, be obedient and lastly, follow all the rules and laws in our society. This is also in accordance with the Blessed One’s first sermon to the world.

By instilling in our children the proper time to sleep, rest, study, enjoy recreational activities and take proper meals at all times, this will help our children to become well-mannered, disciplined kids and most of all, grow into useful individuals and become an asset to our society in the future.

How to Discipline Your Child: Best Time to Start

How to discipline a child without being abusive - father and daughter best time to discipline children - Buddhism blog Penang Buddhist temple

The best time for how to teach a child respect and discipline is from the age of around 2-3 years old, as it is easier to teach a child of this tender age. By the time they reach 7 years old to begin schooling, the child will then be well prepared to go to school and start learning without causing any discipline problems upon themselves, parents and teachers.

Thanks to the period of 3 to 4 years of good parenting, these well-mannered children will stand in good stead upon going to school and stepping out into society in the future. When these children have learnt the necessary basic requirements of possessing good manners, respect to teachers and elderly and being obedient to instructions since young, they are more inclined to possess a strong Principle in their outlook, Responsibility in their tasks or duties and lastly, Integrity in their character.

That said, it is important to note that everything has to begin training from the infant stage to mold them into a correct transformation. How to discipline a 2-year-old is vastly different from how to discipline a 6-year-old.

We cannot start our informal education at home when the child has already reached the schooling age of 7 years and above – by then, they are less receptive to disciplinary lessons and have a higher tendency to rebel against being disciplined by parents and teachers. By then it is pointless to lament how to discipline a child that doesn’t listen to you.

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The Hidden Rule on Ways to Discipline A Child Without Hitting

How to discipline a child without hitting - unknown couple touching pregnant mother belly - Buddhism blog Penang Buddhist temple

It is a hidden rule that whether a child can be easily taught to possess discipline in themselves will depend on the parents’ attitudes. This is right from the day the pregnant mother lives cordially or abusively with her spouse will then determine the outcome of the child’s softness or flexibility in learning and absorbing lessons on discipline. And yes, you heard right – parenting subtly begins from the pregnancy stage itself.

It is customary to note that any mother who suffers from abuse or lives in an extremely abusive environment with her spouse or is abusive herself during pregnancy will usually have a bad effect on the fetus child’s well-being and growth. Even after birth, as the child continues to grow in such an inconducive setting, this will then give rise to insecure feelings in the child and a lack of healthy growth upon becoming adulthood. Consequently, there is a tendency for a lack of communication between the child and the parents.

On the other hand, a family whose mother is kind, loving, happy and healthy throughout her pregnancy will tend to bear a child who is less temperamental yet easier to educate and discipline.

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The Best Ways to Discipline A Child Highly Depend on Parents Themselves

How to discipline a child without being abusive - loving parents happy family best ways to discipline children - Buddhism blog Penang Buddhist temple

Many parents tend to wonder about the best ways to discipline a child or how to discipline a strong-willed child. The fact is that, being good and loving parents is the most vital step in ensuring good child parenting.

Most of the time, parents themselves have a lot of shortcomings in the subject of parenting their kids at home. Some parents are aware of their shortcomings and will work on improving their parenting skills either through lots of reading or discussions with other more experienced parents, but most are oblivious of their parenting mistakes and wrong efforts and refuse to change their lifestyle or behavior for the benefit of their kids’ upbringing.

Many parents are greedy and selfish, preferring to use their own leisure time and income to engage in pleasurable activities such as excursions, online gaming, oversleeping, being lazy and strolling in malls and supermarkets at the expense of providing the much-needed informal education to their children at home.

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Those infant children are often left at home and tended either by their grandparents, relatives, servants or maids, which is the norm in today’s society. The crucial moments of the infant children needing all the care and warmth from their parents are now left out in the cold.

After a certain period, it is not surprising there is a communication gap between the parents and the child. Most of the time, the child begins to keep everything to himself and is left alone wondering how to solve his dilemma or predicament in school.

The lapse of time of the child hiding his personal problems or skipping school to seek escape from his problems due to the unapproachable or apathetic nature of the parents then creates even more problems until it balloons into the child facing expulsion from school. When the parents come to know of the adverse situation, the parents then feel enraged at their children and start abusing the child either physically or verbally.

This is actually a common phenomenon in many families – when the parents themselves have not much concern for their children, it is natural for these children to reciprocate the lack of concern back to their parents. Parents then start to grieve and complain over their children’s shortcomings and wonder how to discipline a child who doesn’t care about consequences, when in actual fact they are the ones who neglect their kids and put a blind eye on the overall situation in the first place.

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Final Thoughts on Child Discipline

In retrospect, the child discipline scenario is a little like a chicken and egg situation. In order to bring up a well-mannered, disciplined child, parents must enforce good informal education upon their kid at home right from the infant stage.

However, how to discipline a child without being abusive also requires the parents to first possess good parenting in themselves before they can inculcate good discipline and moral values in their kid. Otherwise, parents will never see the need to instill discipline in their children by performing informal education at home, and the vicious cycle of growing more unruly, inconsiderate individuals will continue to exist.

Without any good informal education at home by the parents themselves, it is unreasonable for these parents to expect their child to possess all the necessary good characters and ideal values in their growth, especially when they set a bad attitude and example for their kids.

In a simile, we cannot expect a tree to grow well by itself without proper watering, sunlight and ideal soil in the ground. Likewise, we cannot expect a child to grow well and highly disciplined without adequate parental guidance, love, care and attention at home.

Remember, it is important to set the proper timing, an ideal condition and the correct effort to instill discipline in children without having to vent our frustration, annoyance and disgust at our children’s bad behavior. It is our fervent hope to see more parents taking a more proactive approach to disciplining their children with a healthy balance between strictness and affection.

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