The setting of boundaries within which behaviour can flourish, is a fundamental facet of child discipline.
Boundaries should be set by parents by consistent and clear communication with children, and also by their own examples of good behaviour.
We live in an age of enlightenment and political correctness that threatens to gradually dismantle society as we have known and loved it for centuries. The major reason for this potential disruption of civilised society, is that the young people are growing to adulthood with very little idea of what are good and bad behavioural boundaries. The softening of parental discipline, and the gradual, insidious acceptance of inappropriate behaviour, has served to shift the boundaries of what is and is not acceptable behaviour, to ridiculous levels.
In the latter decades of the 20th Century, and in the 21st Century to date, are increasingly forgetting the basic tenets on which the formation of their children into socially acceptable adults, hinge. These are:
The setting of boundaries within which behaviour can flourish, is a fundamental facet of child discipline. These boundaries should be set by parents by consistent and clear communication with children, and also by their own examples of good behaviour. Boundaries should be set by parents by creating the expectation of consequences for both good and bad behaviour. The consequences of good behaviour should be praise, or reward, or both, whilst the consequences for poor behaviour should be carried out immediately, and the parent should communicate clearly to the child what behaviour was unacceptable, and what the correct behaviour should have been.
Children must grow through their formative years with an intuitive understanding of where poor behaviour becomes unacceptable.
Discipline is a vital part of establishing boundaries for children. Discipline no longer incorporates physical punishment, even for severely bad behaviour. It should, however, be strong when called for, and milder when called for. In cases of both severely unacceptable and mildly unacceptable behaviour, the discipline should be unambiguous.
Discipline need not be punitive, in fact first transgressions should not attract punishment, but explanations about why they are unacceptable, and what the consequences of repeating the transgression could be. Repeated transgressions should be punished. The reasons for the meting of punishment must be made clear to the child, and should fit the behaviour. For example, a child who has been found playing with fire should be made to understand that the consequence of doing so could be severe burns or damage to goods in the home. If the child repeats the act, the consequences must be repeated to the child, and a mild censure must be applied, and the child must be made aware of the displeasure of the parent. Repeats of the behaviour should never be over-looked, the message from the parent to the child about playing with fire should be consistent, namely, playing with fire is unacceptable!
A “punishment only” system of discipline should be avoided, and the parents must be aware of, and must praise, or reward, good behaviour. Children who grow in a home where they receive more praise and reward for good behaviour than punishment for bad behaviour, show greater balance in their personalities as teenagers, and as young adults, than children who respect boundaries, but never receive praise or reward.
On a daily basis, modern parents are bombarded by facts about what constitutes good parenting, and what constitutes bad. The rights of children are the focus of modern society to a level never seen before, and it is little wonder that parents are sometimes afraid to exercise their rights as parents to raise respectful and well-behaved members of society. The result is an emerging society in which children do not have boundaries, receive no discipline from their parents, either in the form of praise, or punishment. These parents find it easier to opt out of parenting, than fight the minefield of regulation and threat from a sometimes over-zealous child-protection authority.
Parenting is not difficult if boundaries are established from an early age. The results of such good parenting are well-adjusted young adults who contribute meaningfully to society.