Friday, September 11, 2009

Spare the rod !!

Parenting is tough. It is tough when there is only one child. It becomes exponentially tougher when the number of children increases. Each child is unique and has a different personality which needs to be managed differently. If we try to use the same approach with each child, it is a sure route to disaster and confusion. 'Different strokes for different folks' is a useful philosophy to follow in parenting.

Many of you may have heard a saying "Spare the rod and spoil the child". This essentially suggests that it is OK once in a while to spank your child for mischief done in order to create a sense of fear of punishment and prevent mischief in future. In India, of course, spanking / bashing a child is not uncommon. Parents do it routinely and nobody raises an eyebrow when it happens. It is felt that the children become much more disciplined if subjected to this from time to time.

I have often internally debated on this. Over a period of time, I have come to the conclusion that more than punishment, it is the fear of punishment which works. As long as the child has not experienced the punishment, the fear factor may be present. Once the devil is known to the child, it is no longer scary. The only way to continue on that path is by increasing the quantum and severity. This, however, can lead to huge mental and psychological problems for the child.

There is another way - tried successfully by a few parents. They use motivation and positive messages to get desired output from the child. They shower praises on seeing good behaviour and frown upon bad behaviour without using violence. They use a system of incentives and disincentives to encourage the child. They create strong emotional bonding and get desired results. By doing this, they mould and create a happy and confident child who is ready to face the world. This also results in a healthy and friendly parent child relationship over the years.

Between motivation and fear, I would favour motivation as a more effective and long lasting tool. I would therefore strongly urge parents to "Spare the Rod".

What is your take on this?


lakshmi said...

That is a nice post...something each and every parent is undergoing.
Spanking does have its way of getting things done....though the effect is temporary...they outgrow the fear very fast. (But it puts in a lot of inferiority complex in the child....especially when they are spanked in public)
Yes motivating is a lot better than creating fear.
But you know Vish....present day kids know how to lead you....thanks for a beautiful post

Anonymous said...

Children depend on us to guide them through what is right and wrong in life.It is our duty to explain to the child,guide them,motivate them & build their self confidence.Hitting the child would be a temporary solution,rather could have a wrong impact on the child when he grows up.He or she could become introverted or a rebel.Each child is different and has to be dealt accordingly.Spanking is not the solution..
A very nice post..


Rakesh Vanamali said...

Great post! Parenting is definitely tough! I believe it is a continuous process of exhibiting values, teaching by example and constantly motivating with providing a strong support for all good things that are done and critique everything that is not accepted - of course in a very polite and loving manner!

Being Pramoda... said...

I would prefer the second way to the first. I shed love and they will understand the scnaros..:)

Very mtivating post :)Thanks for this.

Amritbir Kaur said...

A very well-concluded post! Initially I paused when you suggested that it is the fear of punishment that works,but then the conclusion you have drawn was most appropriate. An eye-opener for all the parents!

KParthasarathi said...

Opinions can differ.There is a
Sanskrit verse.
Meaning:-Fondle your child upto the age of 5,Next 10 years be strict with him,discipline him,educate him & when he attains the age of 16, treat him as a friend,guide him,hear him & mould him to become a good son, a good citizen & a noble man.
Let us remember & act accordingly.
A limited and gentle use of ferrule has its advantages when the child is young.

Sneha said...

I dont remember i was ever smacked but i developed a fair understanding of what my parents liked and disliked. And I think this was because my parents handled me intelligently and smartly.:)

Nice post.

shri ramesh sadasivam said...

Excellent Vish. I agree 100% with you. Spanking can give only short time results.

The best way is to motivate them.

We got to be loving, informative and inspirational to the child. We need to guide them develop their intuition and then all is set. Intuition is developed only by devotion to God.

So i believe we must help the child be in sync with God. All will be well.