In Nigeria and many other African countries, the most common means of punishment for a child is beating or corporal punishment. I remember getting beaten for various reasons while growing up. If we all dig well, we can recount times where we were beaten unjustly and it made us feel awful for days. If your parents are anything like mine, in those cases, they’ll give you a big meat and maybe your favorite food and that was the apology. Take it or leave it.
Sadly, some children may be more strong willed than the others and hence it is easier to turn a blind eye while punishing or beating them. This may leave a child not only physically bruised but also emotionally and mentally bruised. There are so many disadvantages with this as many kids may lose their confidence or flip the switch and just become very aggressive and worse-behaved. Beating just leads to a rollercoaster of different issues that may not be noticeable until the child becomes older.
Even though it has become normal, there are various other ways that one can punish a child without physically harming them.
Before going into this, two major things to note are:
One, that you should never take food away from a child to punish them (Food being their major meals and not like soft drinks or candy).
Two, Do not back these punishments up with insults or derogatory terms. It is like adding salt to open wounds.The children should still be loved and not left in isolation.
Now, there are many ways of alternative punishments but here are a few.
1. Give them extra chores for an amount of time.
It may even be their siblings chores.
The extra chores take away their free time to play or hang out with friends. It also benefits the home overall.
2. Give them school related work.
Tell them to write essays or read books during any form of free time they may have and follow it up with their school teacher. Topics like ‘ Why I should not have spoken rudely to my Father’ 750 words. To read a book and give a 2 page summary or a presentation of what they learnt. This will get them busy and also improve their writing skills while keeping them from ‘fun’ activities.
3. For younger children, telling them to sit still in a place (his is for overactive children) or stopping them from some shows they enjoy watching.
4. Taking away certain benefits that are also non essentials like games, going out with friends, and also reducing or stopping their pocket money. This is dependent on how old the child is and what is seen as non essential benefits in your home or area.
5. Be creative. Studying a child is very necessary. Knowing them and things they may see as punishment is necessary. Find new ways to punish them without beating them. Let your imagination run wild and also try to make sure there is a benefit out of everything.
Let’s also look at a few other ways to instill discipline a growing child.
1. Be a role model to them.
Children and teenagers (young people)are very impressionable. Make sure that they see you doing things you’d like them to copy. Other adults around them should do the same
2. Set clear rules on what is right and wrong
Follow the rules too as much as you can and don’t let them see you break it. Monitor what they watch and point out clearly what behaviors are wrong and which are right.
3. Teach them about consequences.
Breaking rules warrant punishments. They should know that bad behaviors don’t get awarded but good behaviors do
4. Make sure they know that throwing tantrums has no effect.
Teach them that crying and screaming will not get them what they want. Asking politely for those things gives them a better chance.
5. Give them something to put their energy towards.
Some children get into trouble making because they are idle. Try to make sure they don’t get idle. Help them take up a new skill or learn a sport. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
With all these pointers don’t forget to correct them in love. Showing love to children is necessary in helping them to build good behaviors and character.