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Disciplining your child



Physically punishing a child is a controversial topic even amongst counselors. Those against physical punishment will forward several good arguments for not using it ever. They believe, and it is true also, that we can raise children to be agreeable (disciplined), responsible and productive adults without ever hitting them. There are several alternatives to beating a child. Hitting them carries the risk of releasing the pent-up anger that most of the parents carry (unrelated, of course). This anger generally finds an outlet in child beating and may end in child abuse. Most parents who resort to beating as a last resort (as it definitely "breaks a child's will" find later in life that they had underestimated the child's determination. Worse still, physical punishment teaches a child to hit out when angry. 

Other forms of discipline are more constructive, leaving a child with some sense of guilt that contributes to the formation of a conscience.

If you still feel the need to occasionally hit your child, please be careful that you are not overdoing it. Even though hitting a child is result of an impulse, you must remember what should NOT be done while hitting. 

These guidelines will definitely help.

  • Hit only on the buttocks, legs or hands. Hitting a child on the face is demeaning as well as dangerous as a hard hit on the cheek/ear may lead to a perforated ear drum.
  • Hit only with an open hand through clothing. If you are using an object other than your hand, it may be difficult to judge how hard you are hitting. Belts and serving spoons should never be used. Mothers should be careful in the kitchen; many a children are living with burn marks on the face!
  • Hit only once! After all you are trying to change behaviour. Hitting more than once is only relieving your anger and not teaching your child anything additional.
  • After the age of 5 to 6 years (school going) use negotiation and discussion to resolve most differences. Never hit children less than 1 year of age.
  • Never hit your child when YOU ARE out of control. Remember hitting him is for disciplining and not to punish. If you can't control your rage, you need help more than your child.
  • Discipline is nothing but self-control and aggressive children need to be taught that. Don't use physical punishment for aggressive behaviour like biting, hitting or kicking. Physical punishment under such circumstances teaches a child that it is all right for a bigger person to strike a smaller person. They respond best to isolation as it gives them an opportunity to think about the pain they have caused.
  • Isolating a child in a corner or bedroom for a time-out is much more civilized and effective. Learn how to use such forms of discipline.
  • Some parents have a habit of vigorously shaking children. Avoid it as it carries a serious risk of causing blood clots on the brain.(subdural haematomas).
  • Don't use physical punishment more often as it will be less effective

I am sure you have a lot of feedback/ experience on this topic. 
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