Disciplining Your Child: What is too Far?

Disciplining Your Child: What is too Far?


Any parent who has raised a child constantly questioned him or herself about discipline. This is an important issue, and a necessity. It is a parent’s responsibility to ensure their child learns respect, self-reliance, self-control, and good moral character. Obviously, the first choice is through communication. When that fails, what is the next option; and when is using other options a step too far?

Here is a case where discipline became child abuse.

In Troy, Missouri, a mother, grandmother, and aunt of a six-year-old boy decided he was too ‘friendly’ and posed a danger to himself of being kidnapped or sexually assaulted. They had a plan. The aunt sought the help of a man she worked with. He lured the boy into his pickup after he got off of the school bus. He then tied his hands and feet with plastic bags, and blindfolded him with a jacket. He told the young boy that he ‘would never see his mommy again,’ and that he would be ‘nailed to a wall in a shed.’

The man drove the boy to his home and left him in the basement. He was left there for a while; when he was untied he went upstairs where family members lectured him once more about ‘stranger danger.’

The authorities were alerted after school officials became aware of the incident. All four have been charged with felony kidnapping; additional charges of child abuse and child endangerment were levied against the mother. Each has bail set at $250,000.

Another form of discipline is in practice in the Atlanta, Georgia, suburbs.

What would you do if your child was defiant towards all disciplinary methods, and you were afraid to use corporal punishment for fear of police involvement? A barber says he has a solution. After he used the method on his own son, he is offering his services for free three days a week; one mother has already accepted his service and others are considering doing the same.

He shaves the top of the boy’s heads, and grooms the remainder to appear as though he is an aging, balding man. He claims that before he cut his son’s hair, he had been failing in school. Afterwards his grades began to rise dramatically.

Child psychology experts and others agree that discipline is extremely important in order to bring a child to adulthood where he and she will be a respected and contribute to society in a positive manner. They have several suggestions, but the primary factor is made by a choice regarding which type of parent the adult chooses to become.

Authorities have determined that the best form of parenting is to be an ‘authoritative parent.’ This may be termed ‘child-specific’ discipline. These parents are affectionate and maintain flexibility while deciding solutions to behavioral problems in consort with the child.

If the parent chooses to be more of an authoritarian, uses phrases such as ‘because I said so,’ or ‘my home, my rules,’ while displaying little or no affection, he or she will likely create a feeling of separation between parent and child.

Some parents believe in virtually no discipline while showing enormous affection. Experts believe that being a permissive parent is the least effective form of parenting.

Once again the solution to interpersonal relationships is honest and frequent communication.

By James Turnage


Star Tribune

Web MD

Washington Post

Photo Courtesy of Kris Gonzalez

Flickr License