Fear psychosis towards any parent/teacher could lead to lack of confidence, diminutive or surreptitious behaviour and a permanent chasm between child and parent bridging which could become extremely difficult in later years. So what does one do to instil the values, good habits and a sense of discipline in budding children?
I suggest from the very beginning instil in children the ability to differentiate between RESPECT and FEAR. It is necessary for parents to be able to logically explain to children the relationship between misdemeanour and punishment and your own noble intention behind punishing him/her. As you punish your child for maybe misbehaving with domestic help etc., the process should lead to REFORMATION not REPRESSION. Choose the punishment wisely – not flogging, screaming or threatening but may be any one parent not talking to him for a few hours, reducing/ completely banning his TV/play station time for a day or making him do his chores without the assistance of your helper for one whole week etc. Let him learn from his very formative years the value of his family and others around him – let him learn RESPECT for himself and for others alike. Let FEAR not disguise itself as GRAVITY or RESPECT. Teach your children honesty by telling them stories of your own childhood or any other people around you or from books so that they grow up to be upright individuals.
After coming home from work (not immediately maybe, but some time later) disclose the whole day’s activities before your child (taking his age and intelligibility into account) and tell him/her how your day was. In return encourage him to talk about small little details of his own day at school. Every little thing from sharing tiffin, to punishments to the smileys he got, to the boy who stamped on his toe in the bus line – every little thing he remembers. Communication and transparency in this age are the major pre-requisites of good parenting.
Children emulate and imbibe what they observe. They swiftly internalize whatever they see around them and that reflects in their overall behaviour. Maintain an ambience of friendship and co-operation in the house. Do not lose your nerve over spilt milk, littered books, flying pages, dirty bedspreads, half-eaten tiffin boxes, stains on walls and so on. It is true that children should be taught discipline from an early age but that should not restrict or clip their imagination or freedom. Wherever there are children there will be chaos but if they don’t mess around at home once in a while, where will they?
Raise happy children BEFORE ordered children. If you are the meticulous kind then give your children one day in a week when they are allowed to create a mess at home – have pillow fights, run around the house, eat whatever they please to ( in proportion monitored by you) raid the fridge and so on. Later make these very children help you clean up after them. They will learn discipline with happiness…..
To be continued