Posted By alchemist on May 25, 2009
The last day of school me and my wife met with our son’s teacher. While there one of my son’s fellow classmates asked my wife what happens when Jihad brings home an orange card (orange means that a student has had a baaaad day).
My wife told the child we talk to our son. The child with a confused look said “you don’t whip him”… The child repeated this statement several times…
The reason I tell this story, is because I’ve experienced this same attitude when I speak with other parents about discipline (and by “discipline” I don’t mean “punishment” but rather “instruction”). I’ve heard parents say, “Well my child is 18 months now, so I think we’re about ready to start disciplining.” What do parents really mean when they say this? Do they mean that for 18 months the child has experienced virtually no discipline, and then suddenly, his or her whole way of interacting with his or her parents changes? If so, is this really fair to the child — or the parents? By 18 months, habits of interaction between parent and child have been well established. For all parties involved to have to suddenly change those habits based on some arbitrary age is, well, unnecessary. To me, discipline is all those interactions that teach a child to wait, to moderate their impulses, to recognize and obey social guidelines, to begin to consider other people. It’s a long, slow, gradual process. Many times, it is accomplished in the very gentlest of ways.