Sunday, December 16, 2007

Why and when do you punish your kids?


When was the last time you got angry with your kid?

Admit it; we parents get mad with our kids mostly for the reason that they disturb us and their behavior makes us more disappointed with ourselves. They have done something that made us feel more inadequate and of short to a lot of things. They made us look like someone incapable of so many things. And of course when we are fuming mad with disappointment, we tend to release it, not to ourselves but to our kids. The ones who are responsible in making us feel this disappointment, in making us see more how inadequate and incapable we are. Hence we tend to not only lash and yell to our kids, but punish them.

Thus, we parents punish our kids mostly not for the reason that they have misbehaved but because they are getting on our way, they disturb the stressful moment we are wallowing in, their noises add up with the noise that is in our heads, or simply they disturb us. We punish our kids mostly for the reason that their behavior embarrass us, makes us more disappointed with ourselves, and makes us see more our inadequacies, our shortcomings.

I must admit when I was a first time mom, especially when my kid was still incapable of communicating verbally, I was a parent who punish my kid not because of his behavior but mainly because of my disappointment with myself. And I have learned that when we do this thing to our kids, we are hurting them emotionally and spiritually. We are crushing their lives with our hands; we are unmaking them as a person. As I am always saying to my friend, punishing our kids because of the wrong reasons is like raising them up to be delinquent and future criminals.

As I have asked, when was the last time you got angry and punished your kid? Why? Was it because he has done something that is bad, or harmful to him, or because his actions caused you to feel more inadequate?

The lives of our children are in our hands. We, parents should always remember this. We have the power to make or unmake them as a person. Although, when they grow up they will be as whom they chose to be, BUT the knowing that you made a mistake in bringing them up, the knowing that you were not able to show love when they most need it, I just can’t imagine how tormenting and how miserable this could be. Remember, the times and chances to show love to our kids will only pass once and brief. Should we lose this chance, we’d never be able to bring it back again. As we live each day to the fullest, we should love our kids, show them how much we love them every minute, every moment that they are still by our side believing everything we say and do, because they grow up fast. And what we teach them now, what we show them now, will play a big role in the determining of what kind of a person they will be in the future. It is also the SOLE DETERMINANT of whether we will be happy and contented at the near sunset of our lives.

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Discipline and Punishment

Discipline is often thought to be punishment. When people say to discipline a child, it connotes to punish a child. And this should not be so.

Discipline is a teaching/learning process. It is establishing the boundary which the child is allowed to do and have and which is not. It is reprimanding, explaining and teaching why there are things that a child are not allowed to do and to have. Punishment on the other hand is a negative consequence for misbehavior. It is used to reduce, if not eliminate misbehavior. And it is seldom used (should be!).

Misbehavior, this is something that we, parents, and everybody who are in the childcare profession or line of work, should expect. Again, as I have mentioned in my past posts, children are inherent to misbehave simply because they don’t know yet which is right from wrong, proper from not, safe from harmful. Another reason why children misbehave is also for the lack of time, and attention of the parents. Children yearn for approval and acceptance. Like adults, it is something that they have to feel to be happy. And the parents’ inattention and lack of time could mean otherwise. This would then prompt the kids to do things that will catch the parents’ attention, and often it means misbehaving, when this happens, most often than not, parents resort to punishment.

My friend’s adopted son learned about punishment at such an early age. Barely two years old, he experienced being locked up in a dark room alone, for several minutes. When his adoptive grandfather was not able to make him behave the way he wants him to, the child was beaten. The beating was severe because the stick left a swelling mark on the child’s butt which lasted for several days. The reason, the child would not stop crying because at that time my friend was not home (she is in my house actually) and he just wanted to be held by his adoptive grandmother. When I heard about this I was so infuriated. To beat a child, to punish a child for the reason of crying, it is absurd! It is infuriating, especially that the child is only 1 year old, almost 2. And since he was locked up and beaten, he cried the more!

Punishment is not something we do to a child when he behaves the way we would not want him to. Actually punishment, when used as the every resort to discipline will only make a child behave worse. Punishment should and only be used when talking and explanation of consequences to a child does not work. And again, when we say we talk to a child and explain why things are not to be, it does not mean also once. We have to consider the age, or level of understanding of a child. For ages 1-4, expect that you have to explain things with love and patience several times before you could expect the child to obey. For older children, when thoroughly explained the situation to them, most often they obey at once, especially if explanation comes with a hug and a kiss.

Discipline is not all punishment. It is just a part discipline. And most often, in disciplining our kids, punishment is rarely needed. For our kids to behave, we only need to discipline them, rarely to punish them.

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