Forms of Disciplining a Child

Child discipline is an issue which has raised a lot of concern in the recent past. Differentiating child discipline and child abuse is becoming more difficult with different sectors and individuals differing in this area. However, despite the different views which have been put forward regarding children discipline, instituting discipline in children is vital since it help in developing a sense of self control, respect and also accountability. While the means of instituting discipline are varied, no single method is effective in itself.
Also, different children require different approaches of instituting discipline and as such parents should seek the best method which suits their kids. However, while instituting discipline in kids is vital, it may also lead to devastating effects on the entire life of the children and thus parents should be careful of the methods they use in ensuring that their kids are disciplined. Excessive use of force while disciplining kids may result to child abuse and this should be avoided. Introduction
Child discipline refers to the art of systematically giving instructions to the children to help them relate well with their friends and family, behave in a more agreeable manner and granting a child freedom of learning from his or her mistakes by the consequences of his or her decisions. Child discipline involves helping a child develop self discipline, a sense of accountability and also respect towards other people. Discipline should be separated from task performance. By the fact that a child can perform his or her tasks well should not be taken to mean that he or she is disciplined.

Discipline has more to do with the behavior a child exhibits in certain situations rather than the ability to perform tasks. Heated debates have been rising as to whether instituting discipline is a form of child abuse and whether parents have the authority to discipline their kids as they may deem fit or necessary. While discipline is necessary for all children, it should be instituted in a manner that is beneficial to the children. Parents have no explicit authority to discipline their children using excessive force or crude disciplinary measures (Lenton, 1990).
The research paper will evaluate the importance of pking and privileges removal as forms of disciplinary measures. Child discipline As noted earlier, discipline involves helping and guiding the children to develop and exercise self control. However, most people are opposed to the idea that discipline is the key development factor of responsible persons in the future. Some of the children with good disciplinary backgrounds do not live to the standards they are taught in their early stages. Despite this argument, setting limits for the children and correcting any misbehavior is vital in developing a responsible person even in the future.
Most of the grown ups today attribute their discipline to the stringent measures which were taken on them when they were young. As such, child discipline is vital in ensuring that children grow to be responsible persons in their adult life. Moreover, vices and virtues are learnt and failing to discipline a child would lead to vices being enhanced in them. Discipline helps in development of healthy practices and virtues in the future. Instituting discipline is also very vital since it helps learn to develop health relationships with his or her family and friends.
How to deal with different temperaments is an aspect which is learnt and is thus not inborn. Accepting other people’s ideas and way of performing tasks requires deliberate effort which children lack and if not guided, they tend to be disrespectful. Children also believe that they must always have their ideas accepted and followed always. To remove such mentality, removing some privileges when a child does not do as expected is vital. Discipline is thus vital in ensuring thus such important values are learnt and adhered to.
Training a child to be disciplined thus helps him or her to learn how to deal with different kinds of personalities and situations. Most of the undisciplined adults in the society are as a result of lack of disciplinary measures while they were children (Telep, 1999). Discipline involves encouraging children by instructing and guiding them to appreciate themselves and influencing the way they regard themselves. Developing a person’s self esteem is essential in ensuring and enhancing the productivity and in determining successfulness of an individual. The future of the children is based on the kind of guidance they receive from their parents.
Discipline unlike the highly held believe is does not always negative. It can be instituted in a manner to enhance important characteristics. Commenting about a positive behavior about a child within his or her presence is one way of enhancing a behavior. When children are not disciplined well, they face challenges of self esteem as their behavior is often challenged by the society thus lowering their self esteem. Such individuals have problems while dealing with other people and tend to be insecure about their capabilities as well as those of other people.
Positive discipline is thus essential in improving the self esteem of a child and thus should be instituted. However, such credit should not be exaggerated to reduce the effects of overconfidence which may arise (Utay & Utay, 2005). The question of whether child discipline is a form of child abuse has been raising many debates of late. While most people agree that disciplining children is not a form of child abuse, some strongly feel that it is child abuse. Whether discipline is child abuse or not depends on the circumstance surrounding a certain case and the mode of disciplining a child is subjected to by his parents or guardians.
Moderate disciplinary actions may not amount to child abuse but extreme physical and psychological abuse may amount to child abuse. Spanking has been on the spot with most people arguing that this amount to a form of child abuse. However, it has its own advantages in instituting discipline (Gootman, n. d). Child abuse occurs when the force exerted when disciplining a child becomes too much. This is however ambiguous as how much force may amount to abuse depends on an individual’s view.
Discipline is however different from child abuse in that while discipline is meant to enhance positive behavior, child abuse leads to bodily harm and mental torture. In today’s world, most parents have branded discipline as abuse and that is why most of the children are arrested and are serving in the juvenile jails. Spanking for example has received negative publicity and even children are suing their parents for abuse. Spanking has been one of the most effective disciplinary measures in the past and has helped shape most of the lives of prominent persons.
Children fear to be pked and thus any behavior which may lead to such disciplinary acts are avoided. Spanking only becomes abuse when it is done in a manner deemed to be harmful to the child’s health and mental state or capability. However, the child should be made to understand the reason behind the punishment prior to its administration. A parent cannot claim to have been disciplining his or her child by injuring him or her. Despite the thin line between abuse and discipline, “effective” discipline does not amount to child abuse.
Disciplining children should not be viewed as punishing them or abusing them unless the effects of such actions are detrimental to the health and future development of a child. Discipline should be instituted on all children to help correct bad behaviors and to help shape their character (Telep, 1999). Discipline as mentioned above may amount to abuse if not carefully handled. However, parents can ensure discipline in their children without actually abusing them. One way to ensure that discipline does not amount to abuse is by using first setting limits for the children on what they can and what they cannot do.
Disciplinary measures to be taken should be enlisted thus ensuring the child understands the consequences of his or her behavior. Disciplinary measures which do not amount to abuse include acts like denying the child some rights after doing something wrong. A child may be denied a chance to go and play with other children if he or she does not do his homework. This is a form of disciplinary measure which does not raise issues of abuse (Lenton, 1990). Discipline may also be instituted using more positive means like encouraging a child to behave in a particular manner by rewarding or appreciating him or her.
Discipline unlike many parents believes should not always constitute the negative side. Discipline may also be attained through reinforcement of some good behavior. Also by discussing issues with the children may also help institute a sense of responsibility in them. Issuing orders and scolding to children passes the message that children are unable to think for themselves and this may lead to low self esteem. Instead, parents should encourage dialogue (Keep Kids Healthy, 2001). Despite the arguments that parents should not discipline their children as they may deem fit, this may apply is some instances.
Parents know their children better than anybody else and so they understand the different temperaments exhibited by these children. Different children require different forms of disciplinary action and thus the parent is the best person to decide what form of action is best for his children. Also children respect more what they are told by their parents and any deterrent act to reinforce discipline is bound to be taken seriously by the children. Most of the adults today remember tough measure being taken by their parents to institute discipline which helped in shaping their future lives.
Though measures taken by parents may at times seem harsh, they bear better fruits in the future and thus parents should have autonomy while instituting discipline on their children (Lenton, 1990). Conclusion Discipline is vital for any child as it helps raise a responsible person in the future and should be instituted by the parents. The question of discipline raises a lot of controversy regarding what constitutes sufficient disciplinary measures and what may amount to child abuse. Parents also face problems in deciding the best way to ensure discipline in their children without affecting their development or mental stability.
While pking was an effective method in the past, it is being ruled out especially by psychological experts arguing that it is not effective in ensuring discipline. More non-physical methods of instituting a sense of responsibility are being advocated today with dialogue and appreciation being highly preferred. However, one method may not be appropriate for all children. A parent should combine different methods and evaluate which one works for his children. Scolding, use of abusive language and physical torture should not be used for ensuring discipline as they affects the ego and self esteem of the children in the long run.
Gootman, M. E. (n. d): How to Teach Your Children Discipline. Retrieved on 19th February 2009 from,
Lenton, R. L. (1990): Techniques of Child Discipline and Abuse by Parents. Journal article of Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, Vol. 27
Telep, V. (1999): Discipline for Young Children. Retrieved on 19th February 2009 from,
Utay, J. & Utay, C. (2005): Improving Social Skills: A Training Presentation to Parents. Journal article of Education, Vol. 126