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Modern-day parenting in crisis

Children throwing tantrums here and there, insisting things be done their way is a familiar case. Are parents becoming helpless in terms of instilling discipline in their children?

Every parent would like to raise a disciplined child. The challenge is how to do this. Modern-day parents have been accused of being too soft when dealing with their children.

For instance, last week there was this video that was doing rounds on social media. A man had hosted his friend and her child. He ranted how out of control the child was.

The young bloke damaged his remote and his precious watch. All the mother could do was threaten her son saying he would not be taken out for icecream, among others. However, the host believes the mother would have taken better measures when it came to putting her son in check.

Methods such as grounding are taking root and the occasional ‘If you do…I will not.’ “I have come across cases even in class where parents do the wrong things left right and centre,” Dr Philomena Ndambuki, a child psychologist and lecturer says.

We have a generation of parents who act as if they fear their children. You find a case where a child insists for example, they want to watch cartoon when the family wants to watch news.

And because the parents do not want the child to throw tantrums, they give in. Many parents no longer spank their children. However, Ndambuki says caning should not be fully crossed from discipline list, especially when children are young.

“As long as a child knows why they are being caned, they will stop misbehaving. Also, when the child is stubborn or rude, you can use it. In order for caning to work, it must be explained,” she advises.

When children misbehave, whether it’s by way of public outburst or private surliness, parents are apt to shrug their shoulders as if to say, “That’s just the way it is with children.”

But it doesn’t have to be. “Children are capable of much more than parents typically expect from them, whether it’s in the form of proper manners, respect for elders, chores, generosity or self-control. You don’t think a child can sit through dinner at a restaurant?

You don’t think a child can clear the table without being asked? Think again. The only reason they don’t behave is because you haven’t shown them how and you haven’t expected it! Raise the bar and your child shall rise to the occasion,” says Beatrice Nderitu, a sociologist.

Have a conversation Another challenge is that parents today have become busy. “They wake up early and come back late. The levels of interaction is limited and that has a ripple effect.

What happens is that the child lacks positive socialising. So, when a parent resorts to grounding, more often than not, the child would feel hated.

The only way that can be corrected and overcome is if the parent sits down with the child, listens to them and tells them why this or that should be done,” Dr Ndambuki says. Having a level-headed conversation with a child does not demean the authority of a parent.

“The two types of authority is essence, authoritarian and authoritative all have different results. Telling your child ‘If you do not do this you shall find out this or that, you are doing the wrong thing may not always work,” she says. Grounding only gives the child more time to sit down and think.

“They have their own minds too and have their opinions and thoughts,” Dr Ndambuki says. “It does not help them, none of the parties involved are receiving any help really. If you sneak on middle-aged children and hear what they have to say about their parents, you will be surprised.

It will cause a parent to think twice about parenting and bringing up children. At the end of the day, we want the children to laud their parents and that way, even in their old age, they will obey them a thousand times over,” she adds.

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