Effective discipline lives on long after childhood
Marlon Abrahams considers the lasting effects of “good” discipline.
I come from an era where corporal punishment was acceptable at schools and in the home. Getting caned for messing up was not only expected, but graciously accepted. When we got “six of the best” at the all-boys’ Catholic school I attended, it was welcomed as some kind of badge of honour which you wore with pride. At home it was not uncommon or even considered a big deal if my mom grabbed whatever she could find to inflict punishment in the name of discipline. The truth is that some of us survived that kind of upbringing without too many emotional scars, and some of us have made sure not to continue that cycle of violent discipline. And we’ve gone on to become model citizens.

Others have found it impossible not to resort to that same violent example when settling disputes or disciplining their own children. The proof of the psychological impact of corporal punishment in the name of discipline is available online at one click, and its reality does not need to be debated. The simple fact is that those who have been beaten will resort to beating, unless there has been a successful attempt to break the cycle and replace it with something more effective.

These days corporal punishment is banned at schools, and while some parents still resort to it in the privacy of their own homes, it’s certainly not the norm as far as modern day parenting techniques go. There are all kinds of alternatives in place these days such as the “time out” technique where kids are told to go and stand in a corner for a while to “think about” what they’ve done.

The 1.2.3 Magic system is also proving popular among parents today. The premise being that if you get to 3, the child goes to time out. No discussion, no yelling, no spanking, no other discipline; it's as much about getting the parent under control as the kid. Those who argue for the 1.2.3 Magic system say that when parents resort to yelling and spanking, the discipline process has become about the parent who becomes the one having the tantrum. Which of-course sets a bad example for the kid, in that it teaches that resorting to yelling and spanking is an acceptable way to deal with issues.

Those against it say it might be too cold and unemotional and could leave the child wondering where the love’s gone.

Another style of discipline is to explain to the child why they’re being disciplined or punished, in whichever form you find most effective, and then after dispensing the punishment, you reinforce your love and caring with hugs and even a reward of some kind.

Psychologists agree that discipline in children is vital to the establishment of boundaries and routines, which will manifest in their adult lives. The effect of good or bad discipline has an impact long after the child has grown up.

Children’s personalities vary, and in my experience the effectiveness of discipline styles is personality-dependent. However, the experts agree that in the modern age, corporal punishment is definitely not the way to go, and that the alternatives are far more conducive to developing emotionally balanced children and adults.

Tune in to my show Who’s Your Daddy? on Saturday 26 November 2011 on DSTV Mindset channel 319 at 21:00 where my guests Pauline Mulkerrins, advocate of the 1.2.3 Magic system, and Educational Psychologist Leila Abdool Gafoor, shed more light on effective discipline and its impact on the child and adult psyche of the individual involved.

Read more by Marlon Abrahams

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

Would you agree that the age of corporal punishment is over?

Read Parent24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Everything from parties to pre-schools in your area.

Jobs - Find your dream job

Reporting Accountant

Cape Town
Network Finance Professional / Prudential
R310 000.00 - R360 000.00 Per Year

Java Developer

Network IT Recruitment
R450 000.00 - R500 000.00 Per Month

Financial Manager

Communicate Recruitment: Finance 3
R750 000.00 - R800 000.00 Per Month

Property - Find a new home