So there is this petition we are getting everyone to sign at the moment: It’s all about stopping the use of violence to get children to obey the rules in school. Of course Discipline is crucial in the education of our children, but we must be careful not to raise hypocrites as one of my friends put it.
When we use the cane or start yelling sometimes our children freeze up and do as they are told out of fear. They pretend that they are obedient when in fact all they are doing is pretending! As soon as you are out of sight and mind, they continue on their way doing that which you just told them not to do.
This is really sad as we could avoid all this by just changing our approach.
I have been talking about this for a while now so instead of rehashing the same old ideas, I want to give us some pointers of what to do when our children do misbehave which they will.
5 things you can do when a child misbehaves:
- Calm down take a deep breath: never react in anger… Please be aware that their misbehavior is just what it is. ‘A child doing something wrong’. It is not about you, but when we react and start shouting, or in anger reach for the cane, belt or that wooden cooking spoon, we are over reacting in anger. Don’t do that, just take some deep breaths to start with.
- Depending on the age of the child please redirect attention to something else for the time being. This is crucial for the younger ones especially. A simple: ‘Bimpe please can you help me, bring the duster, I can’t believe how dusty these pictures are!’ etc. could make all the difference to a complete disintegration of the child’s misbehavior. Or remove the items of contention between the children if they are fighting over a toy. Whatever it is, redirect.
- Part of the redirection may include getting them to withdraw to a quiet place where they can calm down. Remember reacting in the heat of the moment may not solve the problem but may end up escalating it. Also do not send them away in anger, instead be kind as them to take a break as they seem to need it and come back when they are ready to talk and resolve the issue. (In the Montessori setting this is the Peace corner.)
- If you have set limits and those limits are broken. Please stick to your guns and take action. If you don’t, then don’t be surprised that the children continue to misbehave! This also goes without saying that your limits and consequences should be age appropriate and should not include beatings and floggings or any of that kind of punishment. First thing, it is pristine to be silent and let consequences unfold naturally, (If your Secondary student is in the habbit of not doing their homework for example, and you are in the habbit of always reminding them and sitting on their necks till they do it, please leave your child to his bad habbit, when the teacher gives the zero mark several time, no one will need to do the reminding before the homework is done! It’s called natural consequences. If on the other hand you do need to decide on the consequence yourself choose what will help your child get the message, I find that my son responds more to the withdrawal of the remote control as a consequence than shouting! I also like the idea that this will prevent me form raising my BP, so it works for me as well!)
- Schools should have specific laid out rules on what is expected of the children. Let them know what the consequences of not doing the right thing would be. Please again be fair and reasonable in your choices and let the consequences be relatable for the offence.
I have found the tools above very useful personally. It is important to realise and I hope the tips above have shown, the route to discipline is not punishment!
Seriously I find it difficult to understand why the poor teacher has to decide on the spot how to deal with the abject misbehavior of a child in her/his classroom. Are there no laid down procedures in place?
As you can see and as I have always said, you the adult must learn how to control yourself first, to discipline a child.
Have you signed the petition yet?