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Updated on November 17, 2016

Steps You Can Take To Make A Difference

Several months ago some individuals on face book posted statements on spanking children as being a good form of discipline for children. It made me cringe to think that in this day and age that there are people who are promoting violence in the home as being acceptable. Hinduism teaches ahimsa, first do no harm. It starts in the home.

These people use a quote from the Bible even though they are Hindus. The quote from Proverbs 13:24, which is from the Old Testament, is this: "Spare the rod and spoil the child." You have to understand what the rod meant in that time and culture to really understand what is really meant in understanding this passage. The rod is the shepherd's rod which guided the sheep to go to the pasture or back to the pen. Christian psychologists say that this passage does not mean that you should hit the child. The rod is meant to be symbolic of actually guiding the child in the right way to go as you would with guiding a sheep to the right location. Sheep and other livestock were very valued in this culture because people made their living off the wool and milk of the livestock. So they would never be hitting an animal so valuable. Guiding the animal would be the goal.

Keep in mind there are alternatives which are better and more effective than using violence in the family. Hitting the child is considered child abuse in most Western countries and is punishable by law. Teachers, counselors, psychologists, social workers, child care and health care workers must report suspected child abuse to human services departments. Neighbors can also report suspected cases to human services and police departments.

There was a famous football player with the Minnesota Vikings who used a switch on his three year old son. He was suspended from football action for awhile until the case was resolved in court. So child abuse can happen in wealthy households as well as middle class and working class households. This is also true of wife abuse. When you use violence towards your child, it gives the child the message that violence is okay to use when you are trying to solve problems in the home. Society has violent movies and there is certainly violence in the streets. By using it in the home, it only makes it more likely that your own child will use violence to solve problems in the future. Instead it is better to talk to the child about how their behavior harms others. It is better to have fewer rules and have them enforced consistently than to have many rules and only had few which are enforced. Rules should be reasonable and rational based on safety, health and consideration. I worked in a women's shelter and was a child"s advocate. I learned how to deal with different kinds of behavioral issues. I also worked as a counselor in a summer music camp. One of my degrees is in Social Work, so I learned a whole lot about the legal issues concerning child abuse, too.

What can you do when the child has a behavior problem? You can give a child a time out from the environment after explaining why the behavior is unacceptable. You can fine the child if the child has an allowance or a paycheck, or you can dock the child from a privilege. You could ground them for a while, so they have to stay home on the weekends. You could also dock them from use of the car for a while. When you discuss the situation with the child, you will be teaching ethics and consideration of others. If you only tell the child stop the behavior, the child will not be guided in the future on how to treat others in a similar situation.

Children under six may not understand the reasons behind their behavior like an older child would. You may have to simply remove the child from the environment which the child can't handle. You might decide the best course is not to bring the child into the environment at all. Taking a young child into a grocery store is probably not the best course of action. Having a friend or family member watch the child at home is probably the best course of action.

Parenting classes can be very helpful for first time parents or parents who have teens. These classes can give you helpful hints on how to deal with difficult situations. Parent support groups can also be very valuable. Members can share their experience or knowledge. Every child is unique and motivated by unique values and situations. What works for one child might not work for another child. Children have different personalities and abilities. Some children test out the rules a lot. Others are quieter and might not challenge you as much. Family life can be many things to your children. You can also reward good behavior. Peace starts in the home. Communication is the key. Finding out how your child is doing mentally and physically can be what is needed in many situations. Some children have food intolerances affecting their behavior, so having your child evaluated by a health care provider may be helpful. Keep them away from refined sugar and pop. Be all you can be. Happy parenting!




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