South Africa has just passed a law prohibiting the spanking of children as a way of discipline. The debate as to whether this is ‘right’ or not, rages on, with parents on both sides of the argument expressing their points of view. Cindy Glass, Owner and Co-Founder of Step Up Education Centres says, “there is little that causes the intensity of emotions and opinions as that of whether or not spanking your child is helpful, or whether it is simply something that has been passed down from one generation to the next, with little or no workable alternatives.”
Whether you agree with it or not, spanking your children as a way to discipline them is now unlawful. As parents, you will need to consider alternative approaches of reprimanding them.
Cindy offers 6 important aspects to consider when taking a new approach to discipline:
Understand the purpose of punishment
Why do we punish misbehaviours? Is it because we are angry and need to vent in a moment? Or is it because, on becoming parents, we became teachers of life? Do we punish because we were punished, or do we want to teach the life lessons of choices and consequences so that our children grow into the best versions of who they can be?
Set healthy boundaries and realistic consequences
Setting boundaries is easy. Sticking to those consequences is not. Success is a result of consistently upholding your boundaries and consequences.
For example, if you have asked your child to clean his room before you go to the movies and he has not done so, stick to your consequence and miss the movie. No mess, no fuss. Just say, “We had an agreement and you did not do your part. We will not go to the movies as a result. We can try again next time.” He may be a little angry at first, but that is where you need to be strong. He will soon learn that you mean what you say and behaviours will change accordingly.
Model the values you wish to see in your children
They will do what you do, not what you say. Integrity, honesty, kindness, respect of self and others, are examples of important values.
Keep your ‘door’ wide open
Non-judgmental communication and trust are key. Understand that mistakes are an inevitable part of life. Would you not rather your child feel free to share their poor choices with you than hide them from you out of fear of your reaction? Having an open-door life policy will ensure you can support and assist your child in seeking to find solutions to challenges – not hide from them and make them worse. Choices have consequences. Facing those natural consequences alone can be frightening. There will be tough moments, but, together, you can work them out.
Set achievable goals and reward positive choices
Children who feel good about themselves will make better choices in their lives.
Stay clear of consistent negative feedback
Remember that children who only receive negative feedback will not dislike you, they learn to dislike themselves.
“We are just human after all and being human requires some adjustments as we grow and learn. Do not be afraid of moving away from spanking as a way of disciplining your children. Why not try some of the suggestions above and see what works best for you and your family,” Cindy concludes.
More about Step Up Education Centres:
Step Up Education Centres is a dynamic after-school remediation and tutoring franchise with a difference. Step Up offers children an opportunity to succeed in a schooling system that is, at times, very unsympathetic. From the moment a child walks through a Step Up Education Centre door they feel different. They no longer feel silly or stupid. They no longer feel misunderstood. They no longer feel judged. After just one lesson they feel hope. They see possibility. After a few sessions, they walk taller, feel smarter, do better. Step Up believes that every child has potential and our passionate educators will not give up until they reach it! Visit stepuped.co.za for more information.
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