16th Aug Sense with Dr. Kinyanjui Nganga
Principle 9: Discipline your child
From a biblical perspective, when you don’t discipline your child, you set them up for failure and you don’t love them (Prov. 13:24). Amidst all arguments about corporal punishment, to me, the Word of God reigns supreme and has a parental tool called, ‘the rod of discipline’ – Prov. 22:15. Don’t experiment with your child lest you set them up for failure in this life and lose them in the life hereafter (Prov. 19:18; 23:13-14).
I recommend the use of ‘the rod of discipline’ very minimally and strictly for kids below the age of 7. Never use your hands to spank a child. Your hands are for embracing them. You should engage this tool only on one condition: defiance to authority. Between age 8 and 12, withdraw privileges when a child errs. From the age of 13 to 19, negotiate with them on how they want to be disciplined. After the age of 19, no worries, the government of the day will step in par excellence!
Of prime importance while disciplining children is consistency. Children learn not to touch fire because fire consistently burns. Be predictable. Let your ‘no’ be ‘no’ at all times and children will learn how to set the right moral boundaries.
Three simple rules that I recommend on disciplining your child:-
i) Never overlook a discipline issue – by so doing, you encourage the child to repeat the undesired behaviour.
ii) Don’t over-do it (the child questions your love); don’t under-do it (the child pushes the moral limits).
iii) Praise in public; reprimand in privacy (reprimanding a child in the presence of anyone else can potentially injure their ego).
Q. In view of rule (iii) above, what do you do if a child misbehaves in public?