How to teach children discipline?

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By NaSa & Priti Rajat Pulhani

There is a reference in the Hindu scriptures that mother Yashoda once got a glimpse of the universe in little Krishna’s mouth. Krishna was an avatar of Vishnu and Yashoda was the mother of an avatar. But there’s one thing that is similar in all the mothers around the world be it of an avatar or a humble human being or any other species – her child is her world. Whether or not she sees universe in a child’s mouth, her universe is around him only.

However, from the child’s side the equation is a bit different. Right from being a foetus till the time he enters the world and is practically dependent on his mom for the simple things like walking and talking, she is his world. But as the child becomes more and more independent, his world begins to widen. And the mother then begins to prepare him for the world outside of her care.

Now, it may be the mother who carried the child in her womb for nine months and nourished him enough to cope up the conditions outside of it, it is father and mother both who prepare a child to not only survive but live happily and successfully in the world outside their home sweet home. Because the world outside of the home may be not be as sweet and rosy.

rose-532458_960_720The rose & thorns theory

For the survival of a rose, thorns are necessary. In the same manner for a child to successfully adjust and happily accept the ways of the world, discipline is necessary. And discipline goes hand in hand with strictness. Being strict with your child is as important in parenting as showering love on him. Whereas love gives him confidence and self-esteem, strictness makes him tough, teaches him to accept authority and gives him the aptitude to differentiate between right and wrong.

What’s discipline?

pottery-166797_960_720Discipline is an integral part of your love for your child to the extent that if you don’t instil discipline in your upbringing, it wouldn’t become complete. Discipline means letting your child know his limits about things. Limiting does not means devoiding a child of his freedom but it means letting him know the importance of it and that it shouldn’t encroach others’.

In the Jewish texts it’s mentioned that “Whoever God loves, He admonishes” (Proverbs 3:12). Discipline here is seen as a sign of love. You admonish someone because you love him and you realize he is your responsibility.

Let’s take an example from our day-to-day lives. Each one of us must have heard at least once in our lives from our parents, “I can scold only you  and not the neighbour’s child because I love you and you are my responsibility.”

In a nutshell, discipline is all about giving guidance to a kid when he asks for it and even when he doesn’t ask for it. 🙂

Children too love guidance

boy-926103_960_720Contrary to the popular perception, children too want guardians to take charge. They want their parents to guide and protect them. Children want their parents to be their buddies but at the same time they want parents who are firm and loving authority figures. They will thank you for that someday and will incorporate in their model of upbringing as well.

Exemplifying from the routine life. Each one of us must have experienced a phase where we either complained or congratulated our own parents for their upbringing by saying, “Mom, I am so proud that you remained strict with me then” or “Dad, why didn’t you stop me at that time from doing that.”

Your relationship with your kid

How well you are able to inculcate discipline in your child depends on the kind of
relationship you share with him.

  • Permissive Kind means high in love but low in discipline. A lot of love and little or no discipline might leave children with a high level of insecurity. A study shows that the children of permissive parents tend to have low self-esteem and feelings of inferiority.
  • Neglectful Kind means not much love, not much care and discipline. Children of such parents tend to grow up with little or no lasting relationship with their parents. Such children might feel estranged or forsaken.
  • Authoritarian Kind means low on love and affection but high on discipline. Such kind of parenting might make children rebellion. The bar of “musts” are always high and abundant, which might give an impression that the parents want to win every battle. Arguments replace communication between parents and children espe­cially when children grow up and are old enough to retaliate. Such kind of parenting doesn’t leave much of the space for a child’s talent and personality to bloom.
  • Authoritative Kind means a balance between love and discipline. Such kind of parents are authoritative yet compassionate. It’s the best equation where the parents do not compromise on either love or discipline. Children know their boundaries but also know that their parents love them that results in a strong connection between parents and child. Such children are have high self-esteem and are able to cope up with even the most difficult situations with success and grace.

Last but not the least be disciplined yourself and practice what you preach because children follow your acts more than your commands.

 

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  1. March 25, 2016
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