The need to discipline children
Beckley Crandley sitting next to her Son during a lesson to stop him from being rude to his teachers

I read the story of a mum who got a report from her son’s school about his disruptive behaviour and bad attitude. She (with the school’s permission) decided to show up at the school and sat beside him during his maths lesson. Not surprisingly, his name was already on the board for naughty behaviour before her arrival. The rest of the lesson went on without any event apart from the embarrassed look on the boy’s face 😄. I’m pretty sure he’ll think twice before messing around during lessons again.

“I’m not bringing him up to talk down to people, especially women, and I won’t stand for it – teachers don’t deserve it. They’re not there to parent our children, they’re there to teach and guide.

Beckley Crandley

I found the story amusing – more so because it’s an action I’m not sure I’ll ever consider but it’s a pretty good way of disciplining a child. So would you take such action? It also made me think of the different ways we correct our children, some Scold, some smack, some ground, some remove privileges.

The importance of disciplining children

Why discipline is necessary

Every parent wants a well-behaved, respectful and happy child that can function well both at home and in public. Truth is, that’s not always the reality, children are human and humans are bound to err. How do you then correct any misbehaviour?

Misbehaviour is when an action is considered inappropriate for a particular situation or setting it occurred. When children misbehave, it is necessary to set them straight. How do you know when to give mild, or severe discipline? How do you draw the line of strictness? While there’s no definitive answer, the following can serve as a guide:

Types of discipline

From my research into this topic, I found that there are 3 types of discipline:

  • Preventive: this is when guidelines, expectations and rules are established to help prevent misbehaviour. The goal is to provide proactive intervention to potential bad behaviour. Children know what is expected of them and what behaviours are acceptable and not acceptable.
  • Supportive: Rules and guidelines will sometimes be broken, no matter how well thought through they are. This is where supportive discipline comes in. Supportive discipline is where a verbal warning or alternative suggestion is given to a child that is misbehaving. Supportive discipline gives options and suggestions for correction so that there are no consequences. It is an action to accept or to avoid further punishments. Reminders, redirections and nonverbal communication (warning stare) are types of supportive discipline.
  • Corrective: This becomes necessary after failure of a child to behave appropriately after reminders and warnings. These are the consequences children face as a result of unruly behaviour. They defer and some are more effective than others. Some help children to learn and still build a connection to the parent while others could get them to obey but not learn what is expected, or it could just get them to always do want the parents want and not necessarily learn what is expected. Here are a few common methods:
  1. Using consequences:
  2. TIme out.
  3. Losing a privilege
  4. Grounding
  5. Physical punishment (smacking)
The importance of disciplining children

I also found that there are 4 main types of parenting, they are:

Parenting Styles

  1. Authoritarian: An authoritarian parent has clear expectations and consequences for their children but shows little or no affection. It’s all about obeying their rules regardless of the Childs feelings – ‘my way or the highway’. They believe rules must ve obeyed without exceptions.
  2. Authoritative: An authoritative parent has clear expectations and consequences of their child and is affectionate towards them. They engage some flexibility and collaboration with their children in dealing with behavioural changes. It’s an ideal form of parenting as it takes the children’s opinion into consideration. This fosters self-confidence in children.
  3. Permissive: A permissive parent shows a lot of affection towards their child but provides little or no discipline. It is a less effective way of parenting. Parents in this category believe that ‘kids will be kids’ and often excuse bad behaviour. They don’t stick to set boundaries and often give in after their child begs them. Children of such parents are likely to have behavioural problems.
  4. Uninvolved: Uninvolved parents are parents who have little knowledge of what their children are doing. They set few rules and children receive little nurturing and guidance. Such children tend to have self-esteem issues and struggle with work at school.

Sometimes, parents could fit into two or more of these types of parenting. The important thing is to always maintain a good relationship with your child. Find what works for both parent and child. A parent should strive to maintain a healthy relationship with their child and still establish authority in a healthy manner.


I decided to treat smacking on its own because it’s a very controversial form of discipline. Smacking is hitting someone or something forcefully and deliberately with the hand or a weapon. Many parents smack their children with the belief that it’ll stop them from bad behaviour. Most parents that believe in smacking do so because they were smacked as children and it was effective on them.

While a lot of parents smack, it is important to know that it is illegal in some countries and if you smack a Child and are arrested, you’ll be prosecuted irrespective of the fact that it was done on your Child. In the United Kingdom, under Section 58 of the Children’s Act of 2004, smacking remains legal as long as it does not cause visible bruises, grazes, scratches, swelling or cuts.

Recently, Scotland became the 58th country to make smacking children illegal. Sweden was the first country to do so, bringing in the law in 1979, while Ireland banned smacking in 2015. Other countries include Isreal, Norway, Finland, South Africa, Austria, Denmark, Tunisia, Kenya, Peru, Congo etc.

People against smacking argue that allowing smacking “sends a message to our children that hitting someone is a way of resolving a dispute, or if you don’t like their behaviour”. They believe smacking is a form of violence and violence should never be acceptable in any setting”.

My Opinion on Smacking

Smacking is not strange to me as I was smacked a few times as a child (we actually dreaded been scolded by my dad more). I rarely got into trouble as a child – not because I was such an angel but because I could talk myself out of most situations (thanks to boarding school). I have also smacked my Boys a few times but I think I threaten to smack more than the actual smacking – and it seems it works.

What I have discovered is that taking privileges works better for me. Just the threat of not getting their tablet over the weekend brings the Boys back to their senses. Smacking really is violence, my Boys threaten to smack themselves and actually do hit themselves sometimes which I believe is from the few times I’ve smacked them. Smacking may be fast and effective but could have longterm consequences. I, therefore, encourage other effective ways of correcting a Child.


The temperament of a child is important in determining the appropriate discipline. The type of inappropriate behaviour should also be considered as well as the child’s age. It helps to commend and reward good behaviour, this encourages them to continue being good. Avoid yelling (aren’t we all guilty) it serves no purpose. Yelling just gets everyone worked up and causes irrational reactions.

Most importantly, avoid criticism and comparison. Always correct not criticise, this is done by addressing the bad behaviour and not the child. Be careful with the words you use, words stay with children. If you keep telling them they’re bad or naughty they may start to believe it. Don’t condemn your child(ren). Lastly, correct in love.

Aunty Lulu


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