Parenting young children doesn’t have to be a battle! You can get your children to behave in socially acceptable ways without hitting, threatening, yelling, bribing or giving in! At the end of the day, most parents want a happy, self-confident, co-operative child with whom they have a great relationship. And they want their little one to grow up and develop in a happy, peaceful home, where each member of the family feels loved, respected, understood, accepted and supported. This can be achieved through positive parenting and positive discipline!

Parents in all cultures and across thousands of years of history have used discipline as a way of teaching their children so that they can protect them from danger, help them learn self-control and develop a sense of responsibility, as well as to instill the values they believe in. Positive discipline ensures this is done in a way that respects the child and builds his or her self-esteem and self-confidence.

Many Mums and Dads bring up their children in the way they were brought up, and if they were smacked or hit, they believe they need to smack or hit their children. However, there is plenty of research that shows that physically hurting children is really damaging to children and is not the best way to teach children ways to behave. Sadly, too many parents do react in this way because of other stresses in their own lives which boil over when they are angry or frustrated at their young child’s behaviour. But extensive research has shown that this is a really bad way to try and change your child’s behaviour, is seriously damaging to your child and can lead to even more difficult behaviour in the future.

Young children will do as you do, not as you say, so you need to model the behaviour that you want. You should not do anything in front of your child that you do not want them to do. They will copy you! Yelling will produce kids who yell; hitting will produce kids who hit and who think physical violence is the way to solve problems.

And hitting or using any form of physical punishment against children is illegal! This has now been confirmed by the unanimous Constitutional Court ruling in September 2019. As you know, South Africa has a strong human rights Constitution that is the envy of many countries in the world. All South African citizens have rights, including children from birth. One of those rights is the right not to be subjected to physical violence. South Africa has also signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. That means that the government has a duty to protect children against any form of violence, including smacking or physical punishment. So it is illegal to physically hurt children in any way and schools, teachers or parents who do so, can be charged.

In fact a recently released document, ‘The African Report on Violence against Children’, reports that African children are subjected to alarming levels of violence that include corporal (or physical) punishment both at home and at school, sexual violence, neglect and emotional or psychological violence. Children who experience any form of violence will not grow up as stable, loving, happy and competent adults in any society.

Positive discipline may take a little more thought, anticipation and maturity on the part of parents, but is more than worth it in the long term. Happy confident children make happy confident people who make happy families!



Learn more about what you can do to change your child’s future by listening weekly to LOVE, PLAY TALK, the radio programme on Nkomazi FM aired EVERY Thursday from 11h00 to 11h30 brought to you by Ilifa Labantwana, RCL FOODS and the DO MORE FOUNDATION. Each week Nkomazi FM hosts a guest speaker to deal with a different topic to support you, the parent of a young child, give your child the best start in life.

The LOVE, PLAY, TALK radio programme is part of the RCL FOODS  sponsored LEAVE NO YOUNG CHILD BEHIND early childhood development initiative in Nkomazi Wards 16 and 19 that aims to ensure every young child in these wards has access to improved quality of essential services so that they get the very best start in life. And you, the parent, have a critically important role to play!

Get more information from the following websites:

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