When discipline goes too far

Naughty child
Naughty child
No parent in their right mind wants to discipline their children. If we could all live in a perfect world where kids always behave and parents never have to raise their voices, that would be great!

Unfortunately that is not the case. Unfortunately parents need to set boundaries and children are going to overstep those boundaries again and again.

Of course there's a right way and a wrong way of discipling a child. You need to find what type of discipline works for you and your kids - that's the right way. The wrong way is when that discipline turns bad and goes too far.

When discipline is attempted murder

Recently TwinCities reported that a surgeon from Minnesota was arrested after trying to shove his glove-clad fist down the throat of his 10-year-old foster child. Thankfully his wife walked in on the scene and stopped him. Dennis James Sullivan was charged with second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault and second-degree assault.

He claims that he was trying to discipline his foster child.

Forcing your fist into the mouth of a child is the perfect example of the type of "discipline" that is never okay.

Thoughts and advice on discipline

We've collected a library of information and personal experiences that other parents have shared about the crazy roller-coaster of learning to discipline while parenting. Take a look:

Is there a right way to discipline?

Discipline in public

How South African parents discipline

Bring back the smack?

Make tough love work

Kids need boundaries, not hidings

10 top discipline tips

Cricket aims to boost self-confidence and discipline

"I will always smack my kids"

Expert advice

Parenting expert Anne Cawood gave this advice when asked what can be done about difficult to discipline kids.

"It is not too late. It is a good idea to sit quietly with your child and spell out that there are rules and limits. If your child chooses to break the rules or push the limits, they must accept that there will be consequences. You are not being hard or nasty. It is just simply that you have rules - which they need to know - and that they have choices.

Your child can abide by the rules and all will be well. But if they choose to break the rules, they will have chosen the agreed-upon consequences.

When parents move towards a positive approach to discipline - and away from old-fashioned ideas of punishment, things usually fall into place. My book "Children Need Boundaries" should help with a positive approach to discipline.

Also, it should not matter if your child admits if they are wrong or not - if they breaks a rule, then that is that. And, blaming others is just a "ploy" to side-track you from the main issue. Don't allow any red-herrings - just stick to the main issue." 

How do you choose to discipline? What works for you? Share with us below.
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Authorities should bring in the army already
10% - 1566 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
54% - 8555 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
33% - 5276 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
3% - 506 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.