A Child Perceives Disciplined Behaviour from the Perspective of the Values that are Availed and Allowed in the Parenting Process.

For a long time, I kept wondering why one of my neighbours would almost always mess up every issue with his friends, neighbours and colleagues in the office with his harsh words.  When I got closer to him, I found him more pleasant than he presented from a distance. Eventually I found out why.

After observing the result I got on a particular day from my intervention in a conflict which resulted in the quick and peaceful resolution, he expressed his regret for the trait he got from his foster mother. He explained that his foster mother was always talking to everyone in harsh tones and expressed dissatisfaction with his inability to achieve much result in his struggle to drop the habit.

My advice to him was that his challenge could be corrected through a process of self-reconstruction spiritually, emotionally and cognitively in order for him to forge ahead in life with peace and progress. I advised him to enrol in a speaking class because he was really losing out on the beneficial outcomes of good interpersonal relationships with people around him.

There is an age long belief in my village that child training is a collective responsibility of members of the society. Therefore, in the traditional environment, the child-training process made it possible for children to have access to neighbours and relations who modelled characters that provided support for children in areas that their parents have weaknesses in. The traditional architectural designs also encouraged this positive character modelling by responsible adults.

On the contrary, the modern designs of buildings are closed-up flats with limited interactions with neighbours. Although this design has the advantage of shielding children from negative peer pressure, it limits the children’s access to adults in the neighbourhood who are able to model desired behaviours and provide parenting support. There is then the need for the government, non-governmental organisations, religious groups, schools and others to establish effective parenting training programmes for adults in different communities and train workers who will provide parenting support to children.

Finally, no one should continue to live with a bad habit that was acquired during the childhood period. All available options for self-reconstruction should be followed up faithfully until the habit is dropped.

 

-Uchenna N. Nduka

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Children learn from their mistakes naturally

A few days ago, I read an interesting story in a group chat.

“When I was about nine years old on a Saturday morning, my mum travelled and my siblings weren’t around. It was only me and my dad that were at home. I decided to do something great, first to make my dad happy and second to make my mom ask who did this when she returned. I decided to mop the house to make it clean. I took the rubber bucket in the house while my dad was in his room, put some water and was carrying it to clean the room. Suddenly, the bucket slipped from my hand and broke… I was sad, but I felt bad more because I couldn’t fulfil my dream … I had to first clean the spilled water… So when my dad came out and saw the splashed water and broken bucket … I was still explaining… He flogged me… I wept and so much bitterness filled my heart… As I was crying, I vowed that I will do evil… The experience is still fresh even after two decades”

Dear readers,

The correction process was already on course…

The ‘rod of discipline’ was obviously available and staring the boy in the face – to first clean the spilled water. That would have been an opportunity to improve his problem-resolution skill and his dexterity at mopping. He was lucky that he didn’t fall because of the slippery floor.

The grief of disillusionment, remorseful sorrow, was being excited to spur him to take corrective actions and work towards doing it better in the future. The correction process was almost completed before his dad arrived at the scene. The application of effective parenting skill was all that was needed from him to consolidate the correction process. He should have listened to his child, supervised the mopping and skilfully provided a guide that would help the child act with more wisdom in the future.

But no! His dad truncated the correction process ignorantly. His dad “spared the rod”. He just replaced godly sorrow that was correcting with worldly sorrow that was destructive (2 Cor 7:10). The child ended up in confusion and sorrow. I doubt if nothing much was achieved in terms of learning on the child’s part.

This story is a good illustration of how the cane, misinterpretation of intentions, condemnation, disregard for the feelings of children and punishments are applied to frustrate the proper development of children. Ironically, many adults mistakenly see these as necessities for good upbringing. This approach excites anger and rebellion in children, and develops adults who are strangers to themselves, cannot achieve much with their talents but merely exist.

It is becoming clearer that parents shouldn’t just quickly reach for the cane whenever the child is being corrected. Enduring discipline in children is achievable with the right parenting support. There is need for parents to keep learning for improved results.

 

Uchenna N. Nduka

The boy Withdrew in Defiance, Took a Few Steps Backwards and Clung…

In my class today was a smart boy who was about two years old. Mid way into the lesson, I needed to relocate him to another part of the class. He was standing beside his sister when I spotted him. My understanding was that the two other children sitting next to where he was standing were also his siblings. The boy was therefore not comfortable with my relocation move, but he needed to be with his age mates.

When he understood my intention, the boy withdrew in defiance, took a few steps backwards and clung to one of his siblings. I walked towards him saying calmly, firmly and faithfully, “You have to obey my instruction.” His eyes were misty by the time I got to where he was standing. I held his hands and told him that I had a good sit for him in front of the class. He followed me reluctantly.

I kept observing him. Few minutes after he was repositioned, his misty eyes cleared and his mood became brighter. He became happy with his age mates who sat close him. Before the class was concluded, I announced that the children in my class were smart and obedient, especially the boy who was relocated. I told him to stand up for applause because he obeyed an instruction even though he preferred to sit with his siblings.

That boy finally made my day when he turned towards me and gave me a hug at the stair case after the Sunday school class.

I was encouraged by this experience. I, however, imagined other approaches people may adopt in similar situations.

  1. Immediately threaten him with all sorts of punishment and frighten him into obedience.
  2. Jerk him up without saying a word and reposition him forcefully.

For these two options, the boy might not have just had misty eyes, he might have cried for a longer period, not benefiting from the class. If he had cried, the class would have been distracted, especially his siblings. Also, he would have missed out on the positive impact of his being able to obey that instruction willingly and sorting out his emotions.

Effective parenting skills aim at raising children who have self discipline and are well developed intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically.

 

-Uchenna N. Nduka

Discipline: Anchored on Punishment?

I wasn’t sure what was happening when I woke up at about midnight. The pain on the heel of my left foot was excruciating! What came to my mind immediately was the sharp pain I had on the same spot during the day which didn’t take time to resolve. I was able to exercise restraint for a few hours before I made a call to an orthopaedic doctor. Before I made this call, all I could think of was that the doctor was going to recommend a ‘strong’ pain-relieving drug. The pain was really severe. It was as though there was a bleeding wound on that spot. I was actually panicking when I made that call.

I was thrilled by the doctor’s confidence as he observed that my spinal cord was probably complaining because of my sitting position in the office. He guided me on the correct sitting position and advised that I ensure strict compliance. My health was restored that same day. It then became clear to me that the emphasis of a good health care system is not on drugs. I would have been exposed to taking drugs for a long time if that problem was not well diagnosed.

Somehow, it can be reasoned that the emphasis of a good health care system is not on drugs the same way that the emphasis of a parenting or educational system should not be on punishment. What is important in any case is the proper behavioural pattern that will aim at achieving the right results and proper diagnosis of problems when they manifest so that the right corrective actions can be taken.

It is clear by now that discipline is the central focus of effective parenting skills as consistently communicated in the Passion in parenting blog. Our focus has always been that parents and teachers should create the enabling environment for children to acquire discipline and self-control as a way of life. An enabling environment for this purpose firmly models and insists on disciplined behaviour and makes corrections including rebuke whenever the need arises. In the right environment, children learn from their experiences with proper parental guidance. Parents who are not unduly defensive allow children to learn from both pleasant and unpleasant experiences as long as safety is not compromised. In other words, we do not rely on the common understanding that a parent “disciplined”a child which means that corporal punishment was applied on the child. The parenting technique we teach is not anchored on punishment.

 

-Uchenna N. Nduka

The future of a society will depend on the experiences and practices children are exposed to.

As a child, I remember that on many occasions, especially in the village environment, I heard adults request for caution to be applied on an issue or an action to be put on hold because children were around. The traditional societies were very protective of the ideologies, knowledge and practices that children were exposed to.  The fact that child training then was everybody’s responsibility provided the drive for societies to set up structures to achieve this purpose even at the communal level. The implication of this was that conscious efforts were made to expose children to activities that would provide reinforcement for desired societal values of love, discipline, self control, hard work, peace and sanctity of the human life. Children were thus shielded from a lot of obscene and violent practices.

No doubt, the absorbent mind of a child functions with urgency, and makes the issue of practices and experiences children are exposed to a critical one. For instance, societies and nations in which children have unrestricted access to events (live or recorded) where human beings are slaughtered as result of personal, family, or communal conflicts face the risk of genocide in the future. Children in such societies may grow up to be people who will quickly resort to murder in settling issues or challenges of life.

This practice of being careful of the things children are allowed to view or hear is really worthy of emulation and is applicable even in the modern world. This explains why television programmes that are safe for children are classified as such. This also advises the actions of careful parents, who take time to watch children games and read their books, to be sure that they are free from negative contents before they are released to the children.

In that regard, nations that are faced with violent communal conflicts should hasten up with peaceful resolution, otherwise  violence will be so etched in the minds of the children that they will grow up to be aggressive adults and resort to violence at the slightest provocation.

It is therefore important that efforts should be made to create parenting environments where love, discipline and other godly virtues are practised. In other words, exposure of children to events that will lay foundation of hatred, violence and attraction to social vices should be avoided for positive personality development and peaceful co-existence.

 

-Uchenna N. Nduka

Greetings

Greetings to the passion in parenting readers. I hope you are all making parenting efforts in the right direction.

Sorry that I have not been posting as regularly as I used to. I have been busy with a task. I will soon be through with it.

Meanwhile let’s all keep applying the parenting skills that are effective. I will encourage those in my part of the world to be consistent in resisting the ever increasing pressure to join the popular practice of violence towards children in the name of training. One should wonder how much training is achieved with the wrong method if terrorism, insecurity, kidnapping and other social vices are on the increase.

Effective parenting methods is the preferred option for raising disciplined children. It is peaceful. Lovely and produced enduring result.

-Uchenna New. Nduka

Continuous Training and Supervision of Teachers: A Necessity for Quality Child Care and Education

I was giving a message in a gathering of children aged between one and eight years old when I noticed one adult going round the class. Initially I was too deeply engaged in the message to take particular notice of what she was doing. Suddenly, I fixed my gaze on her and noticed that she was slapping the children on their cheeks. When I got closer, I observed that some of them had misty eyes. Her explanation was that they were talking while I was teaching. I called her aside and told her not to slap them. She decided not to be part of the class and left immediately.  It was obvious that she was stopped from applying the only skill she had on how to work with children.

Many teachers have refused to work with children because their parents complained about unnecessary aggressive behaviours towards the children. Usually, such teachers would give up all efforts at assisting the child to learn and may even go as far as orchestrating confusion around the child’s academic progress to prove that aggression must necessarily be allowed in order to achieve progress with the child.

Like the biblical Sampson who lost his strength when his hair was shaved, some care givers and teachers lose their whole drive and strength to assist a child in situations where they are required to apply the motivational and positive approach to child care and education. This situation is unfortunate and can be quite frustrating to any child.

The ownership of schools and child care centers should stick to sound and effective child training and educational methods ensure that teachers are properly trained and put in place quality control strategies which will forestall theapplication of substandard practices by deviant teachers.

 

-Uchenna N Nduka