It’s not so uncommon to hear parents, educators or people in general complaining about how hard it is to discipline children.
And, what is worse, we hear them praising the tough, authoritarian “old style” methods of education. Oh those were really effective!
After all, children seem so impossible to deal with: they never stop, they seem to be continuously jumping, running, whining, screaming, always trying to do what they want, being reckless, being noisy and asking for attention.
OK, so what? AND are we really sure we should ALWAYS correct them? Is this the real discipline?
Children MUST be childish and denying them the right to be so is simply unnatural and cruel.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m NOT saying that children don’t need discipline and rules. But repressing them or being tough is NOT discipline. It’s just useless, cruel and can damage their personality.
Disciplin comes from Latin “teaching”, not scaring, yelling, punishing…
Discipline must be gentle. We ALWAYS have to respect them as little individuals if we want them to develop into happy, balanced and good adults. Humiliating them, hurting them, punishing them physically or psychologically is NOT educating.
Young children obeying out of fear are not happy children. They will not understand why they don’t have to do something or why it is good to behave in a certain way.
What is worse, they risk to grow up not feeling valued and loved for whom they are.
Many of us know how badly and deeply childhood issues can affect our life as adults.
FURTHERMORE, there are some behaviours that are not only natural but even necessary to children’s development. Children DO need our attention which is not parking them in fron of the TV box of filling them with amazing special effect toys…
They DO need to experiment and challenge.
They DO deserve to be explained why they should/shouldn’t do or say this or that, instead of being screamed at, humiliated or slapped. Babies and toddlers DO NOT need to be let cry out to learn to sleep.
Little ones DO need to move a lot and to have the time to PLAY, to have fun… and even to do nothing if they want.
They DO have the right to disagree and to cry.
In our politically correct society, we are always talking about human rights, respect for people, help, compassion, even for those who make mistakes… very few people would disagree that these are fundamental values. Maybe we even exaggerate sometimes trying to be “uderstanding” with adults…
SO… Why do some of us justify mistreating children, with the excuse of “educating” them?
We have no excuses: most of the”experts” in the field have been doing their best to spread the idea that children must be respected for real.
Once again, don’t get me wrong. I’m not criticising well-meaning parents and educators.
And I’m not even saying that it’s always easy. Sometimes my high-need 2-year-old really seems to do everything to be spanked.
I sometimes DO feel like screaming angry, and it did happen few (luckily very few) times…
But then we both felt so bad.. And I especially felt so guilty, even if I hadn’t even screamed that loud, that I decided not to do that anymore.
Actually most of times I find it so funny that he’s so small, and though so sassy and bold, that I have to do my best not to burst into laughter.
There are wonderful books about Attachment Parenting or other educational approaches designed to educate and assist children’s development in a positive way.
I would be really glad to advise about it if you want.
You will realize how NICER and actually EASIER it is to practice this kind of approach instead of the “tough way”. Even if at the beginning you get very confused, wondering if you are doing the right thing, just keep working on it and the rewards will be amazing.
Your child will be happier, collaborative and your relationship with him/her will improve dramatically.
NEVER GIVE UP. I assure it is really worth it.
My son is NO WAY one of those calm, very easy children… But’s that’s exactly the way I love him. I love his personality and dealing with him is teaching me so much.
Any help or advice you would like from me, or simply any question you have, just let me know on this blog or via email and I’ll do my best to support you.