There are many parenting practices that greatly negate the efforts at achieving discipline in children. Some of them are listed below. They are not part of any healthy parenting relationship.
- Using a child to achieve revenge or perpetrate evil for whatever reason.
- Making threats of punishment each time instructions are given. This is like adding noise into a sweet music.
- Giving a child a name as a result of a wrong past behavior. This actually makes the wrong action stick to the child’s personality.
- Calling some children angels as a constant reminder to others who are branded as devils. The reality is that human beings are hardly always right or always wrong.
- Unrealistic expectations beyond the developmental maturity or ability of the child. For instance, expecting toddlers to obey the instruction of sitting down quietly without talking or being involved in an engaging activity for a long period of time.
- Indefinite reference to a past misdeed. This works against the purpose of achieving discipline.
- Giving instructions upside down with the intention of achieving emphasis. For instance, “Make sure you pour the oil on the floor!” instead of saying “Be careful so that the oil will not pour on the floor.”
- Cursing a child with the intention of correcting a wrong behavior.
- Frustrating a child’s effort to seek clarification on an instruction.
- Frustrating a child’s effort to communicate an offence or seek redress.
- Making wrong negative assumptions on the child’s intentions when a child’s behavior is contrary to expectations. It is safe to assume that the child failed because he was not wise enough. It is wrong when parents and teachers are quick to describe children as stubborn or wicked.
- Making a child to bear the consequence of an action he is innocent of. It is better for the guilty to go unpunished than to punish the innocent. This usually occurs with group punishment.
- Making negative reference to the child’s biological parents by foster parents and teachers. It is offensive to tell a child “I don’t blame you. Can your parents afford it?”
- Working with children with a mindset that they are stubborn or uncooperative. Even a delinquent child will be happy to get an adult who will work with him with the expectation of good behavior.
- Relating with a child in a way that totally disregards his or her unique personality.
- Threatening to disown a child. Parents are ‘the brace of endless love’ in a child’s life.
- Corporal punishment.
- Uchenna N Nduka