May 24 2002
May 24, 2002


Love overrides multiple errors of poor disciplining with children. If it did not most of our youth would not be able to function and the world would come to an end. By the time we realize our errors, the child is an adult bringing up his/her own children and making more errors of judgment. Each generation tries their best to raise their offspring with whatever information, intelligence and services that are available at the time. A major difficulty is " that each individual needs to be handled differently and by the time we understand each child's personality (if we ever do) that person has probably grown to become an adult.

However we can follow basic rules that will make their life easier, and ours as parents, also. The two previous columns discuss some of these guidelines. I will suggest some methods that have worked for me and for many of my clients who have applied them. Children are naturally rambunctious. In fact most young animals have a high energy level that creates friskiness. They also test out fighting skills that in the animal world come in handy for adulthood. In our society we frown on this aggression, unless it is wartime. Just watch Gazelles as they bound several feet into the air continuously all day long. Or observe lion cubs as they maul and push each other. Nature shows abound in illustrating the extreme energy that the progeny have. Since our offspring also generate the same antics we need to be aware of how to siphon off this energy safely so that they don't drive the adults crazy or hurt each other as they roughhouse.

Roughhousing must be nipped in the bud so to speak. As soon as it begins an elder must insist that the young ones (who are capable of being trusted outside alone, usually about age 9 or 10) be ordered outside to run around the house or the compound. Suggest they race each other. This still pertains to only children. For a fidgety single child the exercise will do him/her good. Provide a stopwatch so that the child may clock him/herself. If there is no place to run outside or it is inclement weather, suggest jumping jacks. If you live above a neighbor; have them roll around by holding their toes seated on the floor, inclining as far forward and backward as they can go. If you need the exercise, join them. The old games of "May I", Red Light- Green Light, or Simon Says can be resurrected.

At the end of the evening try this unique way to positively show them what they have done incorrectly and how they can correct it by relating a story to them filled with magical animals. Pick any animal to play the part of the naughty boy or girl and have the animal play the part of all the wrong things that the child did during the day. Then pick another animal and have that one review all the daysí events in the correct fashion. In this manner the child learns how to change the behavior without feeling unloved or put down. Most children know exactly what you are doing. It is not necessary to spell it out for them. For the child that does not make connections, s/he will still subconsciously get the message.

Discipline does not have to hurt mentally or physically. It can and should be loving and directive, firm and consistent. Expect that at least eighteen years of loving guidance continually given discreetly so that they barely feel guided should be applied daily. The last five years of direction should be allowing the teenager to make choices. Perhaps another column is needed to cover that.