|Posted on April 19, 2012 at 9:50 AM|
It is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Just the other day a nanny discussion board a caregiver posted about witnessing a parent in a public place use a switch (a thin stick) to attempt behavior modification of a child.
I can not bring myself to use the word discpline there, nor should it be. Because discipline is about teaching. Not hitting and hurting.
I grew up with parents who spanked, many of my generation, and the ones before, and ones after it have. The thing is sometimes the threat of the swat on the bottom was enough for me to get that my parents meant what the direction that they told me. It was like a last resort out of frustration with me and my siblings.
My parents used other options first, like warnings. Once in awhile outlining natural consequences of poor choices we would make. Other times drawing attention to potential safety risks if we weren't careful.
My parents also though did not believe in using belts, wooden spoons, switches/sticks, etc. that they knew other parents would use on their children. They openly let us know that they didn't care for that and why. The basically saw it as a form of abuse, a lack of patience, and communication. Sometimes a lack of knowing other ways to get kids to cooperate.
And no my parents didn't believe in the spoil child part that came with spare the rod either.
Instead they modelled desired behavior. Using manners, waiting one's turn or taking turns. They had structure to our days, with rules, expectations, and consequences. Taking away a toy or car keys had a much greater impact on us. They were consistent.
Effective discipline like teaching requires patience, calmness, organization, preparation,and the ability to follow through. It requires observation of potental triggers and problems.
Children aren't born with a chip or manual in their brain on how to behave. They need to be shown. The experiement all the time, we call it testing. We have to give them healthy boundaries, and let them know limits. We train them.
Just like the teachers and licensed childcare providers, we should continue to educate ourselves on how to be more effective disciplinarians. There are hundreds of resources out there to guide us from books, to parenting magazine, and websites on the internet. There are classes to take.
In the discussion the other day it led us to discuss mandatory reporting. I don't see that as a negative because it could be a simple matter that the parent may need help in knowing what to do with their child and don't know how to get the help. In bringing issues to the attention to law enforcement, social services, etc. they in turn can help the parent get the resources they need to learn more sensible and safe discipline choices... hhmm..mandatory reporting in itself is discipline perhaps?