Spare the rod if you wish, but disclipline is a must!

Bagucci got me thinking about discipline. Do any of the following ring bells in your memory?

  • kneeling in a corner with your eyes closed and your arms straight up in the air
  • a good old knuckle to the head
  • a hot slap (for talking back)
  • the belt (reserved for telling lies)

I am the eldest child and a lot was expected of me. I was the example, after all, so any bad behaviour I exhibited had to be curbed so that my younger impressionable siblings didn’t follow my atrocious example. In my family you could count on my mom to deliver on her promises to discipline us for a misdeed. My dad, however, was often more merciful, and you knew if he said “when we get home you’re going to get it”, he’d conveniently forget and we’d be off the hook. My mom wasn’t a fan of telling us that we’d “get it” when we got home; she’d mete out discipline right away so she never forgot.

I think most children thinks their younger siblings received less discipline than they did. My sister definitely did, but she was an obedient, unmouthy child, and quiet as a mouse. I was less so. ;) One of my younger brothers definitely rivaled me for the amount of discipline he received (though I still don’t think he received enough). By the time my brothers arrived in the family, my parents were less creative when it came to discipline, and the boys received less variety of discipline as a result, maybe because North Americans are bigger fans of Time Outs or taking away a favourite toy or video game than some good hand-to-child contact. One thing that I appreciated (more as an adult than when I was a child) is the fact that neither parent ENJOYED meting out physical discipline, not before they administered it, and not after. My dad always made sure we knew that. No loving parent wants to cause their child pain, so their motivation was the hope that this would get through where words had not, in most cases.

While we were in Nigeria last year, we were waken up by some terrible screams (ok, I lied: they didn’t wake me up because I can sleep through anything, but my sister woke me up because the noise woke her up). The noise was truly disturbing: you’d hear some hard-to-decipher noises, then screams for mercy, someone literally begging for their life. We went to where our grandmother was sleeping, and we huddled there until the noise stopped. The next morning we found out that a boy who lives in the neighbourhood is regularly beaten by his father in the wee hours of the morning so that others in the neighbourhood can’t hear it because he (child) is apparently a thief in need of punishment. I was disturbed by the severity of the beating that must have taken place and his screams, and I’m glad I never saw the boy.

I haven’t thought much to how I will discipline my own children (why waste time on that when the father of my children is still missing in action), but they will be disciplined. In my personal experience, no method of discipline is consistently effective from the first time it’s used (though that probably depends on the “will” of the child being disciplined). I like to think I’m living proof that a message delivered with a little “emphasis” doesn’t damage a child, as long as the emphasis doesn’t turn into abuse. And I’m certainly not saying that physical discipline doesn’t hurt like heck, because it does. The whole matter is a definite point of contention though, so I’m in favour of leaving final decisions on the matter to the parents or persons charged with raising the child (and not strangers as Solomon Sydelle recounted), with the hope that any discipline decisions made by these individuals will be with a goal of making the child better, and not simply venting one’s anger. One thing I will say is that failing to raise a child in a way that will make him or her a well-adjusted, decent human being is a crime, and someone should punish parents who unleash their undisciplined children into the world for doing them a disservice.

23 thoughts on “Spare the rod if you wish, but disclipline is a must!

  1. I will definitely discipline my kids… with as much emphasis as possible!!!

    A part in the Bible says spare the rod and spoil the child…people interpret it the way they want and go like…it is the rod of correction…me thinks it is physical rod o!

    And I am not saying "abuse" the child…no way… I'm not a fan of that either!!!

  2. Ever wonder why children these days are so disrespectful? 'Cus of child protective services! There is a difference between discipline and abuse. Those people should know. As for me, the day my child calls child protective services is the day he/she goes into foster care and see how much they like it.

  3. I’m in agreement. I don’t think physical discipline is bad when it is controlled. You see so many parents that beat their children and they are out of control when they do it. They let their emotion get the best of them and basically attack their children. There needs to be some discipline in the discipline!

  4. Someone once told me that if you hit a child even in the name of discipline, you are teaching them that violence is the way to solve things. I dont know how true that is, because as an adult i dont hit people, but yes whenever i wanted to make an impression on my siblings, i felt i had to hit them and who knows…maybe i learned that from my parents :)

  5. I can relate to the boy in the neigborhood screaming early in the wee hours of the morning because I'm the boy screaming for mercy. My dad was one angry man that was mad at thing not going right in his life and come home and take it on us. I will NEVER hit my kids. There are different ways of effective discipline that are more effective.

  6. ………..Spare the rod, spoil the child period'

    copied n pasted from 'chayoma

    *dearie its been a while, hope u r doing fine, howz d fam?

  7. i so used to kneel down behind the door and hold my lips because i so loved to talk and to play but now things have changed, i don't play with quite as much zest as i used to.

  8. i so remember kneel and fly your arms, Frog jump aka ko ma kuru ko ma ga in yoruba! I totally endorse corporal punishment but as with everything in life it should be done in moderation

  9. my parents never touched me once. I turned out pretty awesome. I feel there are better ways to discipline a child than to whip them till they’re begging. To me it looks like nothing more than brutality. And the crying bugs the hell out of me.

  10. â–ºNollywood Forever
    “There needs to be some discipline in the discipline” – you said it beautifully.

    Like you, finding that happy medium will be my goal. And who knows: maybe God will give me a child who requires no discipline!

    “the day my child calls child protective services is the day he/she goes into foster care and see how much they like it.” LOL! The way you said that I can see you doing it too. I defintely think parents are more lax nowadays, for so many different reasons, and it’s doing most children a disservice.

    â–ºMyne Whitman
    :) Thanks girl!

    Hmm, that’s an interesting point. I think that’s why I will couple any physical discipline I mete out with talking and explaining.

    But like NoLimit said, some have a different idea of whether or not the rod is physical :)

    I’m sorry for what you suffered, especially since it sticks with you even in adulthood. I don’t think anyone here would endorse what you experienced — that is abuse, plain and simple. I am certain that your experience will make you try your hardest to do anything but use physical discipline with your children.

    Balance definitely is is key. My dad isn’t one to react in anger but if he ever feels something he did or said to us in anger was unjustified, he always apologized. He’s such a great role model!

    You’d have a hard time finding many people here who endorse that parents “whip [their children] till they’re begging”, but from the comments so far it seems like experience, whether personal or observed, will play a large role in what people decide to do when they have children requiring discipline, and to me there’s nothing wrong with that (as long as if physical discipline is used, it doesn’t cross the line).

    It has been a while. I’m doing well and so is the family. I hope all is well with you.

    Ah, goodbye childhood abi?

    Ah, that lovely word, moderation. I’ve never heard of the “ko ma kuru ko ma ga” but I’m exhausted just thinking about it! Thank God my parents didn’t put that one into their repertoire!

  11. As the oldest of 6, I definitely understand what you are going through. My younger brothers get off easily with things that I can only dream about. Talk about a double standard. Things that make me go hmmm….

  12. Good discussion going on here.

    In secondary school Command Kaduna, I used to have one friend (with his brother) then who will always come back from holiday with marks all over his body. He would tell us then horrible tales of how his dad had inflicted those marks. To me it felt barbaric then just as it still frightens me now that a father could do such.

    well my dad never beat me (as I can remember), and I must say it took him lots of patience not to do that. As I watch my son grow, I can very well understand the saying of spare the rod and spoil the child.

    I discipline my 1+ year old son because I want to shape his character to the point where I wouldn’t eventually need the "rod".

    I want to end with this: that I think the summary quote is “there should be discipline in discipline".

  13. Your family reminds me of mine, my sisters and I are so disciplined knowing we all were born at the same period in time…my baby sister is 13yrs younger and so spoilt, my daddy can't even shout at her. What the heck? He says, "No energy to treat her the way he did for us?"…it happens in families.

    I still don't recommend using a rod to discipline a child, you can yell once a while and give little task/errands but flogging a child could leave nasty scars for life…

  14. Finding a balance that works is tricky. But I guess every parent hasa duty to find theirs. You have to know the tyrpe of child you are dealing with. Let the punishment fit the wrong doing. But by no means shoild parents use that as an avenue to be abusive towards their kids.

  15. lool…I remember! I was a pretty good kid though. So it wasn't intense… but my mum's buddy was a "cane" and it worked brilliantly as far as I'm concerned because all her kids turned out good…! I will brag about my mum flogging me forever and anyone who judges should faint.. Point?? I am a firm believer in discipline. My intended method? I'm not a disciplinarian so whoever the hubby is..he's got some flogging to do….lol


  16. Yes! Parents who fail to discipline their kids should be punished when they turn out to be miscreants and a social nuisance.

    My kids will know discipline and Love and I'll make sure they understand that both are intertwined.

  17. I always got "a good old knuckle to the head " . There is abuse then there is discipline. I will not abuse my kids, but I will smack them once in a while when needed.

  18. â–ºChi-Chi

    There's nothing more to say to what you've said. That seems to be the way life is and I don't see that ever changing. We'll probably do the same thing actually.


    Oh, this is truly sad. I hope the physical scars as well as the emotional scars your friend experienced have faded by now.


    I know. And you know how it is; it's not common for someone else in the neighbourhood to speak up.


    I know what you mean! Parents definitely mellow with age, and the things that made them scream at us will not even cause them to get excited when our younger siblings do it.

    I know what you mean…one must be carefuly when using physical punishment.


    Preach! I agree with you fully.


    lol my friend is like you: although she will now discipline her son, before she used to let her husband do the discipline, and when he would cry she would be the comforter, which is a role that every mother would rather play. Now they are more equal in doling out punishment so the child knows that the parents are of one mind when it comes to discipline. I think that's important.

    When do you live for the You Kay?


    You are correct that love and discipline (when used correctly) are very strongly intertwined.


    Me too!

  19. Spare the rod spoil the child isn't in the bible just to let you know. Don't use the bible to preach the hitting of children. I guess Imy husband should beat me if I get out of line hmmmm

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