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A few parents have approached Train Kids with their struggle regarding discipline.

To speak on this, the book PARENTING WITH PANACHE of South African author Dereck Jackson was used as reference.

Dereck Jackson is an educator, counselor and parent.

He studied education and psychology in SA and in the USA.

He is a former head of a gifted-child center and ran a guidance center for children with educational problems.

Dereck describes panache as a confident, stylish manner.

The first chapter of Dereck’s book is called DISCIPLINE WITHOUT ANGER OR TEARS.

He has found that parent’s major concern is how to discipline effectively while still maintaining a good relationship with their children.

Dereck says he considers effective discipline the key to parenting - when parents get discipline right, almost everything else falls into place.

To do this, you need a structured, integrated plan.

So, when does discipline begin?

Discipline begins the day the child becomes mobile.

Before that, it is the parents who need to be disciplined, and in a routine.

If you don’t begin the day the child becomes mobile, he/she will destroy your home and destroy themselves by running across a road, or doing something equally dangerous.

There are 5 elements of effective discipline

1. Limit setting or rules

2. Models of discipline

3. Give an effective command

4. Question of punishment - what action is appropriate

5. How to handle difficult situations


1.1 Establish clear rules

- Parents feel rules will crush their child’s spirit

They want their children to be creative like Vincent van Gogh and paint beautiful paintings

If you don’t have rules you will get a Vincent who paints beautiful but also a Vincent who will cut of someone’s ear!

- If you want a successful child, they will need to respect the rules of society

1.2 Rules provide security

- Gives a sense of stability and set boundaries


Children without boundaries will keep on testing where the boundaries are

Children love rules – it makes them feel safe

Even adults need rules – what game doesn’t have rules?

Want a harmonious house – when children turn 4, have family meeting and discuss the house rules.

Order, structure and routine creates a happy home

Example – Boucher household



What kind of emotional dwarf of 35 needs a best friend of 5 and more so, what kind of mixed up child needs a friend of 35

There is a difference between being your child’s friend and being friendly, loving, supportive and comforting


Now you can sit and brainstorm and let children suggest rules.

Choose rules that make your life happier

A few common rules:

1. Parents are in charge

2. Set bed time and set get up time

3. Set time to eat

4. Time to tidy up

5. Set time to do homework (for older children)

6. Set time for bathing/showering

7. You speak to your parents with respect – it is in the 10 commandments

When you allow your children to speak to you with disrespect, they will do the same to other adults.

Rules have to do with time – Time gives order and structure

Tidy up is an important skill to learn

Under achievers often lack organization

Parents need to teach how to tidy up – teach them order – where does what go?

When can they start – from as young as 17 months old – age appropriate of course – not making beds

1.3 Applying the rules

Consistently but not rigidly

This is not a paradox

E.g. staying up late on weekday is not negotiable but on a Friday – let’s talk about it.

But it still a set time and not to be messed with

Rules and a sense of humour

When a child breaks a rule it is not ARMAGEDDON! DON’T THROW A FIT

Dereck says if teenage sons hang their towel on the rail, he has serious emotional problems…

You will struggle with some rules – one day their own children will do it to them too…



· The Assertive model

· The Behaviouristic model

· The Problem-solving model

2.1 The Assertive model

Children know when parents are serious – THE BODY IS COMING AT ME!

Make use of effective assertive body language and tone of voice

It is not yelling. It is speaking with authority

Before making a command -

Is it worth the fuss?

Do I have the energy to see it through?

If not – rather not give the command, because by not following through you undermine your own discipline

Why do parents get commands wrong?

Ineffective mothers – NAG (the child does not know where the cutoff point is)

Ineffective fathers – PREACH





If the child doesn’t respond, go into action

2.2 The Behaviouristic approach

These refer to manipulative or attention seeking behaviour such as tantrums or the sulk…

Child or adult will repeat behaviour that brings attention

We will rather have negative attention than no attention at all

Normally between 5 & 7 pm all conversations is negative: don’t do that…

The way to alter negative behaviour is to reward positive behaviour

Tantrums – pretend you don’t see it

Read a book, ignore

As soon as the child has calmed down say: What a lovely smile. Come and give me a hug. Let’s go and play

Gradually the child realizes he doesn’t get attention when being disruptive. I get attention when I am positive

BEWARE! The behaviour will get worse before it gets better

Have nerves of steel because they will think they are ignoring my tantrum I must be doing it wrong…

It will not work within 24 hours – rather 6-8 weeks – you are trying to change years of negative behaviour!

2.3 The Problem solving model

This method is used on teenage children.

Limits are adjusted to the child’s age

When a problem arises, instead of punishing, you settle down together and discuss the problem. Reach a solution together.

But, start this method at 4 years old.

E.g. child accidentally drops a bottle. Instead of punishing say: get a cloth and help me wipe

Encourage the child to seek solutions


Children begin to realize when parents are serious.

They know that they have 5 chances before you get serious…

When the body is coming at me…

Voice is serious

If you don’t, they will never take you seriously


This is the KEY to discipline

What action is appropriate will depend on:

* Age of the child

* Nature of the offense

* Your belief system

Before a child is mobile – it is the parents that need to be disciplined – don’t go to the mall if the baby is hungry

Once they are mobile – have eyes in the back of your head – take your child away from the danger

Sometimes a smack is reinforcing your verbal communication – it is not to cause pain

This is NOT CHILD ABUSE – you can’t negotiate with a child wanting to run across a busy road

Don’t smack across the face – on the bum

Don’t use and instrument – you might hit harder than you think

Older children can be sent to the bedroom

Come out when you can say sorry and smile

When they refuse – go into your bedroom and say you will sit there until they can say sorry – this will freak them out!

Diverting attention helps when it is and offence of nuisance value

E.g. kicking ball in the house – let Dad invite him to play soccer in the garden

90% of action is diverting attention

You don’t want to be in confrontation with your child all day long

The older the child gets, limiting TV time and deducting pocket money works well

Males keep discipline better than females (because of body language)

But males tend to overreact

Instead of telling a teenager who missed curfew to come in earlier the next time she goes out, Dad gates her for the next two years – the poor girl’s chances of marriage may have blown over by that time…

Dads and children often have bad relationships due to harsh punishments Dads hand out

Women have a wonderful instinct for reasonable punishment – men be guided by your wives.

Rules for punishment

· Short just punishments are productive

· Long, harsh punishments are counter-productive


5.1 Sibling rivalry

Sibling rivalry gives the child the opportunity to stand up for him/herself in a safe environment

Single children do not have this and often struggle with coping with peers and bullying

Advice: never interfere until blood is drawn – only get involved when the situation gets out of hand

Never take sides

Encourage children to solve the problem on their own

When they disturb your peace, separate them

5.2 Sleeping problems

We have 2 problems here

· Getting them down

· Keeping them down

5.2.1 Getting them down

Create a routine around sleep, this gets them mentally prepared

* Bath

* Dinner

* Watch TV with family

* Read a story

* Go to bed

As soon as the routine starts, they know sleep time is ahead

Distinguish between a child that is scared to sleep alone and one who is just manipulating

5.2.2 Keeping them down

When they get up, take them back

Lay them down and press firmly against their shoulder – this is comforting

If it doesn’t work – try controlled crying

The method is described by Dr. Christopher Green in his book Toddler Taming:

Controlled crying refers to my method of letting children cry for a short period, then coming in to give some, but not full comfort, letting them cry a little longer each time, giving more incomplete comfort, gradually increasing the crying time between comforting until eventually they say, “ I know she loves me, I know she will always come, but it is just not worth all the effort.”

If this doesn’t work, or you don’t like the method, you may wish to give up and let them sleep on a mattress next to your bed.

It is not advisable to let your child sleep in your room, but you also need sleep…

If it is not a problem to you, it is not a problem.

5.3 Homework

Parents must provide facilities for children to learn and children must do the learning

Homework is the child’s responsibility and parents should not do it for the child

This a habit that needs to form

5 factors are important when establishing a habit of studying

* When – same time every day

* How long – same amount every day

* Place – same room every time

* Position – not lying down. Use recognized study methods

* Background noise – quiet/quiet background music – no talking or singing

5.4 Household chores

Try and do general jobs around the home as a family/team

Assigning jobs may cause conflict

To create unity - Father washes, mom dries, child packs away

5.5 Teenagers and socializing

Time to loosen bonds and becoming independent

Recreation should have purpose – not just hanging around mall

Establish rules - time for dropping off and picking up

Do the transporting – don’t just trust anyone

Don’t give in to peer pressure: all the other kids are doing it…

Establish and enforce curfews


“Limit-setting and establishing a relationship of mutual respect is the key to effective parenting. It provides the child with sensible boundaries within which to behave and relate to parents and society. It gives the child security through predictability. A child who feels secure will not continually test you until you snap and do something you will later regret.

Most religious people believe that God is a loving God, but they also know that God set limits and applies consequences. In the same way, children must know that their behaviour will result in consequences – good or bad.

The two keys to discipline are consistency and action.

There are 3 phases in effective discipline:

1. Establish the rules

2. If a child breaks the rule, give an assertive, effective command

3. If he still does not respond, you take action immediately – making sure that your action is reasonable.

In the book Mindpower, effective parents are described as follows:

· Emphasize the positive : please pick up your toys instead of don’t leave your toys on the floor

· Reason with your child – from 4 years old they can understand explanation

· Respect the child’s point of view – they deserve a fair hearing

· Repetition – repeat rules until the child is capable of regulating their own behaviour

· Consider the context – are the misbehaving because they are tired, or just testing you


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