Why Parents Must Discipline their Children

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Considering the importance of discipline in the life of a child, some experts are of the view that parents have to teach their children the core values and morals; and bring them up properly rather than pampering them. Funmi Ogundare reports

Disciplining children is one of the most important, yet difficult responsibilities of parenting, and there are no shortcuts. There have also been controversy surrounding the appropriate ways to discipline children, and parents are often confused about effective ways to set limits and instill self-control in their child.

Child discipline, according to Wikipedia is the method used to prevent future behavioral problems in children. Discipline is used by parents to teach their children about expectations, guidelines and principles. Children need to be given regular discipline to be taught right from wrong .Disciplining children can involve rewards and punishments to teach self-control, increase desirable behaviors and decrease undesirable behaviors. While the purpose of child discipline is to develop and entrench desirable social habits in children, the ultimate goal is to foster sound judgement and morals so the child develops and maintains self-discipline throughout the rest of his/her life.

However, many parents tend to abuse this by over pampering their children to the extent that they got all they wanted all the time. They feel they have to always be there for their children, protect them irrespective of the situation and give them whatever they desire. Even the schools the children attend is not much better as their teachers find it difficult to correct them.

In an interview with THISDAY, some experts reasoned that parents have to teach their children the core values and moral; and bring them up properly in the way of the Lord.

A teacher, Mrs. Bola Adekoya wonders why parent must prevent their children from going through the pain of discipline.

According to her, “There are things that parents do that make me wonder if they know the implications. In my teaching career, I have come to realize that children who are well
brought up produce better results.

“What I see these days is training the ‘butty’(aje butter) way which gets me scared of what will happen in the next 10 to15 years! I see eight year olds who don’t bother to lay their beds. I see 10 year olds served by the maid or ‘caring mum’ on the table and they either don’t pack the table or they just dump the plates in the kitchen for the maid to wash.

“Drivers carry the bags of children above five years and the children call them ‘my driver’.

Manual clothe washing is gradually been replaced by washing machines, yet, the maid or caring mum will be the one to do the laundry. Children wake up and go straight to the television and sleep late watching with mum and dad. Unfortunately, mum and dad don’t allow them read late. They will tell them to go and sleep.

“I see parents play game for hours on their phones, yet wonder why their children don’t read and why their results are poor, despite investment in expensive schools! I see teenagers who can’t cook common white rice because there is a maid, nanny, cook, and caring mum.”

Another teacher, Mr. Anthony Uba affirmed that some children are addicted to cheating in exams, assignments, class work because their parents are not taking conscious steps to correct it, adding that some will rather bribe teachers to make their children first and teach them during external exams or take them to ‘miracle centers’, to write their exams.

He said lack of discipline makes see children talk to their parents and other adults disrespectfully, noting that all the parents say is that, ‘children of now a days are outspoken’.

“Your children’s wardrobe is full of clothes but they don’t have a single book. You buy them lots of toys but you didn’t buy them books. When next you tell your child not to do house chores and study hard , have it at the back of your mind that what you are saying is ‘don’t take responsibility for your life’. I guess parents don’t know that chores and morals are almost directly proportional to academic performance.”

He recalled that in the past when our forefathers went to farm and fetched water before or after school, the world was a better place, adding that some of our local proverbs which have remained relevant were coined by unlettered men and women.

“A Hausa proverb says, ‘Ka so naka, duniya ta ‘ki shi’, meaning ‘ favour your son and the world will reject him” (vice-versa). Another Yoruba proverb also says, ‘eni anwo ki , meaning that those who make news don’t watch news. So when you are mentoring your children to be television addicts, you should understand what you are grooming them to be.

Uba said when parents prevent their children from going through pain of discipline, they should also understand that they are automatically preparing them for pain of regret.

“Some parents feel that their children’s careers are secured because of their financial stand. They get their children jobs and even make them take over their companies. Some also set up a business for them.

He argued that “ If you get them jobs and they have the wrong attitude at work like being late and talking rudely to clients which made the company lose a big contract, will they keep them there?

“They take over your company and your company lost within three months an amount that you didn’t make in your first five years in business due to their lack of discipline, will you pat them on the head and say I’m proud of you child? They run the business shabbily and there’s nothing to show for it within few years. The earlier we stop these pampering, the better. You will give an account to God on them. Train your child in the way he should go and when he is old, he won’t depart from it.”

A parent, Mrs Ngozi Ndisika stressed the need for parents to be friends with their children rather than just abandoning their duties to house maids in the quest to make money.

“Parents leave home very early and come back very late. They leave their children in the hands of house maids who also need being taken care of just because of the quest for money. At the end, there will be no one to spend this money because the children towed their parts. This is not good. Draw your children closer. Make them your friends. Talk to them and allow them talk to you. Catch them young. Your primary God – given assignment is bringing them up in the way of the Lord, ”she stressed.

Another parent, Mrs. Nkiruka Ohaji said, “ I will never forget this saying ‘spare the rod and spoil the child. Growing up, my mum was very firm with us (children) and today, I am glad she was. I really might have been a spoilt child.”

Ms Bilikis Olayemi Yusuf opined that parents especially mothers, should question what their love over their children is.

Mr. Gbayode Rufus said, “May God save us from colonial copy cat syndrome. We want to supersede the slave masters in all we do, reasons why we are losing our cultures, languages and values to the white man. We have forgotten that those we are coping are the rejected ones in their country. Have you ever seen the queen’s children with tatoo or their men wearing rings in their nose or ears ? We are not proud of who we are nor the positions we find ourselves. And he who is not proud of his colours and heritage, is not fit to live.”

A teacher, Mrs. Bimbo Thomas affirmed that pampering a child might be setting up the child for failure in later life because he will get used to getting everything easily hence wouldn’t know how to struggle and deserve things.

“It is not wise to excessively give gifts to children because they get spoiled. Pampering can also mean fulfilling all the desires of children even if it is not a necessity. Children learn from their parents, they get spoiled when everything comes easy to them without any effort. Parents must not spoil kids by going according to their whims and fancies. They never learn the value or importance of whatever is given to them on a platter of gold.”