Discipline, Western culture & smacking

discipline_western_culture_and_smackingAny society failing in its administration of discipline is a society in trouble. Western culture has taken a relaxed approach to discipline...

Is Western Culture failing to discipline?

It is safe to say that regardless of culture, race, or creed the concept of discipline isn’t strange, however when we begin to look at discipline within each culture then we begin to unpack some interesting facts.”Spare the rod and spoil the child” is a famous line from one popular book - is this to be taken literally or is there a deeper meaning?

Before we go any further can we at least agree that any society failing in its administration of discipline is a society in trouble. There’s a pervading argument that says western culture has taken, (some say over the last generation) a relaxed approach to discipline. A TV program reported a worrying statistic, it claimed a report found that 2/3 of teenagers living with their parents are in fact “in control” and dictate home life leaving the parents feeling powerless. In addition the household is controlled by the mood of the children. But if western culture were to answer the charge then it would be good to first define what is meant by discipline.

Defining discipline

The Chambers Dictionary defines discipline as ‘training designed to engender self-control and subjection’, other online dictionaries define it as ‘training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behaviour, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement’.

Hence, discipline is defined as a positive influence - we all want the best for our children & we need to consider how we can provide the training required.

As fathers we should consider how it makes us feel when we take the decision to smack. Does the choice come easily, are we in control, or is the decision made because we’ve lost our temper?

And once the smacking is administered what happens next? Do you wait for an opportunity to speak to your child or do you seek a place away from them for a while? Have you given harsh smacking and decided you’d never do it again?

This is a topic that should be discussed - not hidden away. Discipline is a vital component of parenting, but there are many different methods which can be used. The key is to understand what discipline is (and isn’t) and not to lose sight of this purpose.


Updated: Oct 2017

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Guest Thursday, 27 February 2020

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