"One of the most difficult parental challenges is to discipline children appropriately. Child-rearing is so individualistic. Every child is different and unique. What works with one may not work with another," says James E. Faust, but we can all agree that the difference between punishment and discipline is a robust child.
And while times may have changed, the principles of child-rearing remain the same. To think that discipline is the essence of parenting isn't parenting. Parenting is not simply redirecting when a child misbehaves. Parenting is providing the conditions in which a child can realize his or her full human potential.
Knowing how your children will turn out once adults is beyond you; the least you can do with the bit of influence you have is give our best and pray that they turn out okay. I do not know any parent who wants to see their child end up in jail or, worse. But what do you do when your best is not enough? When no matter what you do for your children, some still turn out bad?
Research shows that a child's ability to develop emotional maturity, critical thinking and decision making relies on the care(disciplining) they get from both their parents when they are young, posing a challenge to the current society where parents work long hours, others are partially or entirely out of the picture, and some don't have what it takes to nurture children that can handle the pressures of life.
Simply put, the moral touchstone has been laid too low. That is not to say that parenting is a walk in the park or that modern society is void of excellent parents and role models; there are so many. The challenges a modern-day parent faces in bringing up children in a constantly changing world are unimaginable.
Challenges to disciplining your child in the 21st century have been hugely linked to changing cultural practices and government regulations that limit the amount, methods, and tactics that parents and teachers can use to instill discipline in children to mere words.
In addition, a lack of support and adjustment to family dysfunction, divorce, remarriage, and a lack of parental awareness of how this impacts their child has led to depression and anxiety, difficulty in school, and relationships as adults. Where discipline lacks, bad things follow. Children grow into lawless adults, unruly, suicidal, drug addicts, irresponsible and attach less importance to relationships or education. In recent times, the worst we've seen is the bust of teenage murderers killing teachers and fellow students.
Remember the time when teenagers used to be the innocent generation of our society, the hope for the future? Though this still holds, times have changed. More crime and vice are now found among the young than the older generation. Older people are prey to the young ones, and worse even is their deliberate defiance of nature's laws. The young generation is now involved in grave acts that defy reason; for instance, you've probably heard those kids who use curse words before they can crawl.
The most troubling development in most recent times is the killing of teachers and fellow students in Kenyan schools that has been on the rise. Could this be a sign of profound underlying evil, a mirror of a society ailing from dysfunctional family units? Think about it, how does a child grow up to be a killer at 16? What pushes him or her? Suppose it is not torture, abandonment, child abuse of any kind, domestic violence, or even lousy example from their parents. It must be a lack of proper direction and correction.
Newsflash, being present and providing all their needs is not enough. Chastise your child and, if need be, with more than just words. Children need active correction, and it goes without saying, the alternative is worse. Pampering your child while he or she is in error is like putting a gun in the hands of a madman and expecting him not to use it.
Protect your child as is your duty, from all kinds of danger, physical or mental, within and without. With love and tenderness, use different methods of discipline to correct them for their errors; they'll love you for it.
Blaming it on drugs and substance abuse, online violence, and video games are vain attempts to cover the sad truth. It all starts in the family, parental care, and discipline. Should this be taken lightly, we haven't seen the last of these teenage killings, and we will undoubtedly pay the price.
“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and he bends you with his might that his arrows may go swift and far.”
Featured Image: healthychildren.org