5 ways you can discipline your child without hitting them

Mother disciplines child. (PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/GALLO IMAGES)
Mother disciplines child. (PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/GALLO IMAGES)

Discipline is a way of guiding children. With a country that has a culture of violence, beating children is not only illegal but can promote the act. Move! speaks to child psychologist Karen Moross and parents about ways you can discipline your child without resorting to violence.


According to child psychologist Karen Moross, there are forms of disciplining your kids other than a hiding. “You could take away a privilege such as playing with their cell phone after doing their homework, in that case the child learns the consequences of their behaviour,” says Karen.


According to Karen involving your children in the decision making when it comes to their punishment can be very useful. “Suppose your child is wrong, giving them two or three options to choose from can help them feel like they are taking responsibility for their actions. This is confidence parenting,” says Karen. 

Parent Taelo Ramatlo (33) says she and her 11-year-old son had an agreement about the kind of discipline she enforces. “If he does not do the dishes and clean his school shoes, he will not get his pocket money the following day. If he doesn’t do his homework, or I have to remind him to do something more than once I take away his right to go to the next school trip or outing,” she says.


Taking time out is crucial for both the parent and the child says Karen. 

“Time out allows children to think about what they did and the consequences thereof. It also gives the parent time to calm down and be rational in their approach regarding the child’s behaviour. Never discipline your child when you are angry you can end up saying and doing things that you might regret later,” Karen advises. The psychologist says that she finds that this time gives the child, especially the adolescent child, time to cool off and think about their behaviour.


The psychologist who is also a parent says, “Another method would be to not allow your child to attend a planned social arrangement as a form of punishment.” Taelo agrees with this form of punishment. “This is the best way to get my son to behave better, being at home doing homework, knowing your peers are having a good time really teaches them to behave better,” says the mother of one.


A conversation, not a screaming match, can help your child identify what it is they did wrong or how they should behave. Karen advises, “Asking them questions like ‘How do you think your teacher feels when you spoke to them like that?, ‘how would you feel if that was you?’ Once they have identified the problem and the effects of the problem you can speak to them about making things right. 

This can be by forms of a letter or a personal apology to the person whom they have wronged.”

Karen also adds that parents must not forget to commend their children when they do go things like apologise when they are wrong, make their bed and are kind to others.

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