Children’s Day Edition – A Case For Child Discipline

mom-disciplining-son-500pxThe decision to take on this subject matter came very late as I had prepared to publish something else entirely, but I thought to sort of commemorate the children’s day celebration (never mind that this is coming a day after) by doing a piece on our children and the huge responsibility we have towards them, whether we are already parents or hope to be. I also decided to this piece because of the terror we are currently battling as a country. A reader of this blog requested that I write on Boko Haram and the menace they are unleashing and I made mental note of that, but I am taking it from a different angle.

I was discussing with a friend last week, and the conversation found its way to the issue of the deadly sect called Boko Haram who are holding not just the northern part of the country, but the whole of Nigeria by the jugular at the moment. And I can remember that my focus concerning this matter was that these evil ones called Boko Haram have parents or at least had at one time! Abubarkar Shekau the leader of this group did not fall from the sky!  He was born by a man and a woman just like the rest of us! Now, the question is…how was he brought up? How did he turn out to be  such a monster? Who are his parents? Where did they go wrong in bringing him up?

The truth is that Shekau was once an innocent child. Something went wrong along the line. Having children is not exactly a tea party and should be taken with utmost seriousness. This may sound cliche but it has to be reiterated from to time. I watched the video of the 12 year old girl who was being beaten by her mother for posting semi-nude pictures of herself on Facebook and my first reaction was, what’s a 12 year old doing on Facebook? The video went viral and sparked various reactions from different people. While some believed her mother did the right thing by trying to beat some sense into her, others were upset and angry that corporal punishment was applied calling it child abuse. Child abuse my foot! I thought her mum did the right thing as I don’t even want to imagine what I would do in that kind of situation, though it would have been far better had it not occurred at all.

The fad nowadays is to have “tush” children which often translates to spoilt, ill-mannered kids who are not useful to themselves talkless of the society at large. We have been brain washed that our children will be tagged “ajebutters” when they can’t do anything for themselves. You who was flogged several times as a kid to keep you on the straight and narrow path and are now the better for it, think that your parents didn’t know what they were doing and spanking a child now is archaic. Someone scolds your child for doing something wrong and you take offense. Your child comes home with a strange possession, and you don’t bother asking where they got it. You are told that your child is a bully in school, and you wave it off as a phase that will pass. Well, you are only postponing the doomsday! Let me say that I don’t believe that children should be spanked at the slightest offense, I believe that you can actually talk to a child and make him realise what he is doing wrong, that being said, I am not against corporal punishment for kids either as long as it doesn’t border on abuse or sadism.

Children’s day should not only be about buying chocolates and ice-cream for our children. We can make a renewed commitment to be better parents and guardians as the way a society will turn out depends largely on the quality of  upbringing provided by the family unit. Let’s take heed to these little ones while we can to forestall raising other Shekaus in the near future.


45 Replies to “Children’s Day Edition – A Case For Child Discipline”

  1. Nice 1 as usual Lolo.
    As a parent, tho still learning, I strongly believe in d adage’ spare the rod and spoil the child ‘. The upbringing of children matters a lot. Motherly love for children is beautiful and natural but allowing children misbehave without being corrected, is wrong. Few spanks with love won’t kill . God help us all,Amen
    Ng Anwuli

    1. Thank you Anwuli. I am just concerned about the quality of adults we have nowadays, and it all starts from childhood.

  2. I rem hw u dare not take someone else’s stuff home, sure to be spanked, then parents, it is called stealing but parents nowadays, wld I say it also has to do with d economic situation of d country, mothers those days didnt use to work or did jobs like teaching, nursing whr they can av time for d kids& d family but nowadays women are competing for d same jobs men do&take them away frm home for a long time.hw wld they knw when d kids r going wrong for them to be corrected&spanked if necessary.May God help our children. ..

  3. Nice one Lolo. This is a wake up call for all parent. My prayer is that, God should grant us the wisdom and knowledge on how to raise our children in a godly way IJN Amen

  4. Present parents have a whole lot 2 do concerning our kids. With prayers all should b well. As a mom, I get 2 hear abt so many unbelievable stories, a 14yr boy impregnating his 12yr old cuz, n so on. Parents have 2 work in ds economy we av now. There s even a scare 2 hire nanny, uncles defiling their 2yr old nieces. Internet s not helping matters & we can’t deny them access 2 new tech, tv content s hmmmn even cartoons o . I just place my kids in God’s hands o not forgetting 2 do my part sha

    1. You can say that! so many unbelievable stories that we hear these days about children who are still supposed to be innocent. God help us.

  5. Maybe I’m going off point with what I’m about to say and it might be long but pls permit me. Its somthng that been on my mind and I’m glad u brought up a topic on parenting and childhood. Its the responsibilty of parents to bring out the best in their children. Many parents today want their children to be what the parents wish for not the child’s wish. I knw som child wishes are odd but I’m talking of genuine ones. A child has a passion for music and he wants to have a career in it and study music in d university. Then d parents say, are you crazy? Music? How will you get a job, against his wish he does what the parents want but doesn’t live to do what he wants. Just because a child failed maths in school, you shout on him like its d end of the world. Parents forget that he did well in the theory based subjects like government, history, literature and the likes. Shouldn’t that be that the child has a passion to write? But no the parents don’t spot that, they continue to shout at him failing maths while ignoring what could be his possible strength and were a gret career can wait for him. Som children turn out to be rebels because their parents never listened or paid attention to what they desired. Even if it sounds odd, as a parent, look deep into it and find out if there are prospects in it. Don’t just say no to what a child thinks. Being harsh with words can make d child feel unloved. It only takes a child with courage and determination to face his ambition regardless of what his parents say while many will feel dejected because theybelieve their parents had no care.

  6. Also using an iron hand is not always the solution. If parents keep beating and don’t want to have a listening ear to what a child says, such child can do things behind the parents back because they won’t listen. Such should not be. As a family, you should open up. This african mentality of the family setting being kind of dictatorial is not the way at all. Let children speak openly, when they do, things won’t be done behind parents backs. Doing things behind parents back can be responsible for the wrong characters children turn out to be when they grow up.

    1. I appreciate your comments on this issue. Like I said in my article, the focus shouldn’t be about spanking all the time…we should also have a listening ear and learn to dialogue with our kids. Thanks Kunle

  7. Lolade,big thanks for making my day.I TOTALLY agree wt u.Just like u knew exactly what I was goin thru.At least now I know I’m not alone. Yesterday,I had to pour out my hrt to a friend concerning how she handles her naughty 4yr old boy..I mean,a boy that hit me wt a stick and yet I couldn’t spank him cos the mother frowns at that. I reported d matter to her but yet she said NOTHING! I left her house ds morning in annoyance (though I was meant to spend more days) wt no impression that I was angry.However, ur write-up uplifted my spirit. Thanks ones again.

    1. Honestly, you got me laughing Semmie though it’s not funny at all because I can imagine how annoyed you must have been. Let’s hope she keeps her kid in check on time before it’s too late.

  8. This is a serious discourse and an attempt to comment appropriately may mean another article. Thanks for sharing from this angle. Parents, uncles & aunts, teachers etc…let us commit to handing down proper training to the kids within our guide.

  9. Nice writeup Lolade. Interesting perspective raised, in this, as well as all the other articles. I also feel very strongly on the issue of ill-raised and rotten kids, whether rich or poor.
    As you know, I’m a very strong advocate for women staying home to raise their kids especially at the early stages of development. I believe this has a huge role to play in the “misdevelopment” of children today.
    A good rule with spanking is one that an older woman friend gave me the other day – she said that spanking should be reserved for insolence and defiance. It immediately aligned with my unconscious inclination on how I discipline my kids. For all other forms of wrong behaviour I think deprivation is always a good way to handle it.
    Just one more thing, an incident I recently dealt with makes me want to reiterate the point that spanking is the sole preserve of parents, not teachers, househelps or whoever, no matter how strong a case they may have.

    1. Thank you so much Efe, i certainly learnt a lot from your perspective though i may want to differ slightly on the notion that spanking should be the sole preserve of parents. Wish you could shed more light on the situation that caused you to take that stance.

  10. The world is changing, even in our schools now,i dont think teachers are allowed to use the cane on students anymore but to a large extent that has caused a lot of gross indiscipline amongst students and back to the home,back then,i guess I was kinda stubborn so I used to get it a lot and sincerely, anytime I wronged my peeps,i would be like what the worst could happen? I would only be beaten and I guess that made me have a mind set that,anytime I did anything wrong,i would get beaten and that’s the worst and I don’t think that changed me,i noticed that with time,i dropped all those excesses,i think it would be hard for me to hit my child but that does not mean there are no other disciplinary measures that can be taken to put that child in check, “spoiling” a child is not about making them not know the harsh realities of life,most of us don’t want them to go through what we went through but that does not mean the child should be spoilt rotten, sparing the rod,is always an option but not the main option but any child of mine that misbehaves might just get it,lol

    1. Lol, tell me about it…you don’t want to know how often I was flogged as a child especially by my mum. Thanks Babatunde

  11. I seriously agree wit u. I gave my husband ur piece to read cos he is always declaring how he is going to pamper our baby. No better way to preach this msg Lola. kip it up. And may God continue to give u more wisdom to share.

  12. Not sure I’d like to go into details. But my problem is where to draw the line. Someone told me of an instance where a teacher called a parent to say she forgot to send a note home through the child that he should be given painkillers as she had given him a sound beating at school. I can’t stomach that….. I definitely believe in spanking, but it is not a cure-all & children are different & need to be treated individually. How do I know who will study my children or not, etc and that’s why I think to keep matters simple, only parents should spank their own children. Of course there are other family members who will know not to cross the line and parents will be able to distinguish these, but largely, external parties should abstain from beating other people’s kids.

    1. I think I totally understand your point now. Can’t imagine a teacher sending me that kind of note too. Thanks for your valuable contribution Efe.

  13. You got me laughing too…Let me quickly add here that using d ‘rod’ on a child(when necessary) doesn’t mean “inflicting injuries on d child”.Neither is it a means of transfering one’s aggression.Rather,it’s a corrective measure and so should be done in a loving way.i.e. d child SHOULD know why such is being administered on him/her. However,for parents who feel it’s their sole responsibility to flog their ‘unrepentant children’,well,I pray they succeed in doing that all alone. In any case,I know children will always be what they are -children. But for those ones who require d rod,I will LOVINGLY GIVE IT TO THEM and gladly wait for ACTION on d part of d parents.

    1. Exactly Semmie. Some people are sadists and will constantly beat a child to vent their frustrations and that’s so wrong on many levels.

  14. @Lolo u rightly said u wonder d kind of parents we even have des days.
    @Efe,I disagree with you ma that external parties should not be involved in spanking a child.ders a Yoruba adage which says and it’s translated as”it’s one person dat born d child but many people will train d child””enikan Lon bimo amo igbagberun eniyan lon tomo”.I advocate dat beating a child is not d only means and shouldn’t be abused but hey I will gladly accept anyone who corrects my child depending on d age of d child and d offense committed with beating wher necessary.
    I can look back to my pry school teachers/ secondary school teachers dat helped in shaping our lives and instilling discipline to us today,Mr.Pepper (pry school).Mr.Apo/Mr.Oyeyemi/Miss Pinheiro/Bro SOJ (sec sch) to mention a few,and even some spanking in Sunday school where we misbehaved has helped in making me a better person dat I am today.We used to think dey were WICKED but now we know better and am grateful for all d various people dat has contributed to my training as a child.


    1. Thank you Funmi. I also believe other adults, especially family should be able to spank a child if necessary
      My subtle motto is this: Take your ill-mannered child far away from me if you don’t want me spanking him because as much as I like kids, I can’t stand the unruly ones!

  15. Beautiful piece as usual. And indeed I agree with you that expression of love is not complete nor balanced if discipline is excused when required. I belive the very best gift you can give a child is to grow them into displined, well mannered, well behaved young adult. Then they can achieve greater feats in life that the whole world, not only the parents will be proud of.

  16. It’s interesting how this topic has evolved. In making a point or two I will quote d Yoruba adaggge – “bami na omo mi ko de inu olomo” (help beat my child isn’t the deepest ddeesire of the parent). No matter how deserving we think our kids need to be disciplined, we will really not be able to stomach it but we need to. Learn to allow discipline from others because some times our children are good at being two faced (they help you see what you want to see) and non parents will likely be void of some sentiments or excuses we give as parents for their indiscipline.
    However when there is ever a need for a spank I recommend that one should have calmed down and decide well how many strokes will be given. Also make sure the offence and the punishment is communicated to the child.
    God bless our children. Amen.

    1. So true that it’s hard for us to accept someone else spanking our kids sometimes but it is for their own good. Thanks sir

  17. Great write up Lolade. I don’t know where we parents of this generation got the idea that beating our kids is wrong. Our parents beat us very well and most of us turned out well. When I see parents @ pta meetings screaming that a teacher beat their kids,i just wonder,cos I know a teacher would not just pick on my child,he/ she must have done something. I strongly believe that as parents we owe our kids a duty to bring them up in the right way.

    1. Thank you Victoria. The reality is that beating is no longer allowed in many private schools nowadays, but then again whether it is allowed or not, is not really the focus here. The fact is that the buck stops with the parents, there’s only so much anyone else can do.

  18. On point as usual Lolade. This madness of raising kids the “tush” way has consumed the “modern parent” like a cancer. You need to hear some views from some parents during PTA meetings. The norm now is to “encourage” the child to do the right thing when he or she errs rather than “scold” or “spank” (as applicable). The advent of social media has worsened it all. If u think a 12 year old on FB is astounding, then I may need to bring u up to speed. . How do you explain 5year olds wit personal Ipads with uncontrolled access to the internet. All in the name of being IT savvy at an early age! In my opinion, raising a child in this times is even more challenging than when we were growing up. Thus, it is very pertinent for every parent to be firm and monitor closely the development of their kids academically, socially and spiritually. . Otherwise, the present day Shekau will turn out to be child’s play to the ones we are unconciously breeding in our homes! May God help us all. Amen.

  19. And dats where some of d current moral decadence comes in as beating is no more allowed in most private schools,we all know d state of our public schools des days,hence I can say 90% of des new generation attends a private school.a child now knows dat no teacher can beat him bcos he’s d one paying dat teacher’s salary(so to speak) hence he behaves anyhow.even parents go all d way to get expo (exam leakage) for pry sch pupils just to get into a good school,hence what foundation are they are dey laying 4 dat child,by JAMB level dat child won’t bother to read,not to talk of higher institution.
    The bulk falls on d parents.

  20. I particularly like this topic Lolade. I am as liberal and open minded as they come. But when it comes to child raising / training..i am team “spank and punish all day ” I don’t have any of mine yet but God knows I will be raising my child exactly how I was raised, I was punished and spanked accordingly for any wrong doing and here I am still alive and not mentally or psychological damaged as therapist here proclaim kids who go thru such will be.
    These new age kids are becoming such a menace to the society. Gosh,I cannot tolerate a badly behaved child. no matter how close I am to the parent,if your child is badly behaved I will not be caught playing nice with that child.
    Like you rightly said, a lot of parents are neglecting to raise their kids accordingly..just so they can be called cool mums/ dads…. these badly behaved kids with smart mouths and access to all electronic gadget available to man seem cute and all until they get into their teenage years and become a menace to the society.

    PS: My house will definitely feature “Pankere’s and Spatulas” for that child that decides to be unruly…future child beware. 🙂

    1. You are exactly like me in that regard…I can’t stand spoilt kids, can only pray our generation of parents realise the importance of discipline before it’s too late. Thanks for your contribution Laporshe.

  21. Oh, having said all that. The other part of the argument : I definitely would not want anyone spanking my kids,especially because of my experiences growing up in high school, I have come to realize a lot of teachers let their power get to their heads, there were so many cases of this. A la’ “Apo” and Co. By all means scold them, light punishment..yes. But do not spank my child.. and this is because some ppl tend to go to far.

  22. Am a stronf believer of spare d rod and spoil d child BUT the rod should not always be our last resort, we should understand our kids and know what works for them some kids hate to be flogged but when you talk to them is settled while u have ro hit them very hard before dey will listen but in all prayers is needed

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