Many years ago, my daughter could not contain the euphoria of her newfound ability to walk around the house. She was in a hurry to explore everything in the house. I was practically engaged full time, watching over her as long as she was awake! Thanks to ‘baby discs’ which provided a reliable distraction to contain her hyperactivity. It was not long, we noticed her great fascination and attraction for one particular item. Alas, and much to her frustration, she was never allowed to touch it. That was the kerosene lantern.
Communication on its dangers was pretty difficult as one can imagine with the child who was just a little over one year old! We simply made efforts, as parents, to protect her from the lantern when it was hot so that she would not experience a burn and also when it was cold so that she would not get black stains from the soot. Over a period of time we employed various strategies to prevent her from touching the lantern, including keeping the lantern up where her hands would not reach it, employing distraction, and blockage. All these seemed to feed her curiosity and she would always attempt to utilise any available opportunity to reach out for the lantern. Of course the situation almost generated a lot of anxiety on our part as parents because of the potential hazards.
Then one day the “rod of correction” was allowed to provide the discipline we desired in that situation. After the lantern was lit, the temperature was monitored for a few minutes. When the lantern was fairly hot, just enough to achieve the desired purpose, the child was given the freedom to touch it, under parental supervision. She did not get a burn when she touched it because the temperature of the lantern was not that hot, but she was immediately repelled and never wanted to have anything to do with the lantern for a long time!
- In the right disciplinary atmosphere, children would naturally learn from the results of their actions.
- Parents are usually advised to take protective measures to ensure that the health and safety of their children are not compromised, even on those occasions when it may be necessary to allow some learning experiences.
- Parents who spend enough time with their children would have the opportunity of providing the necessary guidance as children learn from their daily experiences in right atmosphere of love.
- It is not necessary to pollute the right atmosphere of discipline with the cane, whip, corporal punishment and the other pollutants that were highlighted in our reflection post of 7th Jan, 2016.
- Uchenna N. Nduka