‘We live in a country and continent where we are so excessively generous with chastisement and extremely stingy with commendation for our children. We have an eagle eye to locate every fault and mete out chastisement but we are chronically blind to the good behaviour of our children. The impact on our children is a Siege Mentality. A child suffering from a Siege Mentality feels he/she is in the enemy’s territories, where he/she is not only under serious attacks but he/she is also completely unprotected.’
Dear friends please join me as I share with you the 9th core habit of a purposeful, disciplined and effective disciplinarian: Give commendations
One of the four abuses a child is exposed is emotional abuse. I define it as a situation where a child is chastised for everything he/she does wrong and he/she is never commended for anything he/she does right. Emotional abuse in the form I just described has dire and seemingly irreparable implication on the child in the immediate and in the future. Its impact is so devastating that like every impact of childhood abuse that it is eternal except there is divine intervention and deliberate efforts on the side of the abused.
We live in a country and continent where we are so excessively generous with chastisement and extremely stingy with commendation for our children. We have an eagle eye to locate every fault and mete out chastisement but we are chronically blind to the good behaviour of our children. The impact on our children is a Siege Mentality. A child suffering from a Siege Mentality feels he/she is in the enemy’s territories, where he/she is not only under serious attacks but he/she is also completely unprotected.
When a child is down with a Siege Mentality, he/she loses the sense to do right. He/she in fact believes, he/she does not have the capacity to do anything rights. He/she is under intense fear, loses touch with his/her dignity of human person and begins to lie. Though, the custodians may have good intentions, the child does not feel loved and accepted. He/she simply becomes disoriented, begins to second-guess his/her faults. A child in this situation becomes unhappy and feels enslaved. And once a child feels enslaved, he/she begins to look for the day of emancipation. At that point chastisement loses meaning and piles up negative impact from which a child may never recover.
The crescendo of the impact of the foregoing is that the child is not able to strike a difference between himself/herself and his/her wrong. It is important to note that it is our duty to differentiate between our children and their wrongs. Their acts or omissions of wrong must not be equated for who they are. Besides, we must make deliberate efforts to communicate to the child this much.
Why? It is very simply, by law of auto-suggestion, it is the part of the child’s the custodians affirm that the child becomes. There is not magic about it.
I grew up abused emotionally. I was chastised for everything I did wrong and never commended for anything I did right. I suffered from the Siege Mentality. It takes extra-ordinary efforts for me to think in the positive. My default thinking till today is negative. It takes real efforts for me to believe the best of people and situations. Laura Schlessinger in her book, Bad Childhood Good Life: ‘I believe that many people don’t even realize that their childhood history has impacted their adult thought and behavioral patterns in unproductive ways. They don’t realize that some of their less pleasant or destructive adult emotional reactions are reflexive responses forged by their unfortunate childhood challenges. They don’t realize that much of their adult life has been dedicated to repeating ugly childhood dynamics in an attempt to repair deep childhood hurts and hurting.’
My charge to you today is very simply. I charge you to make it a point of duty to balance chastisement with commendation. We may even commend more than we chastise. It is high time we began to believe the best of our children and begin to say so to them. In a chain of events, when something goes wrong, it is not likely that all it all that go wrong, we must therefore consider the good intention of the child and go ahead to chastise the child for what is wrong and commend the child for what is right. It takes a lot of discipline and self-control to do this.
Let me illustrate with this story. A child return from school and he wanted to join his friends in the neighbourhood to play his favourite game of football. He met his younger brother at home suffering from fever and running temperature. It was the brother’s turn to wash the dishes. He got into the kitchen to get some water for his ailing younger brother and found that the dishes had not been watched.
Determined to help his ailing brother do his dish washing chore and to relieve their mum when she returns from the market, she abandoned her delightful football game and decided to wash the dishes. After washing, rinsing and setting the dishes in the tray, he was taking the tray to the table where it is normally kept when he slipped and fell. Most of the dishes got broken. When the mother returned, he got the canning of his life. His noble and good intention did not matter to the mother. I think it should be. So dejected, he was thinking to himself, ‘and I was just trying to help as a sacrifice.’ If you were the child, what would be your conclusion from then on?
I think that is a symposium discussion for another day and another forum. I hope you found your visit and stay here today worth the time. If you do, please leave your comments. Stay INSPIRED.
Think the Child…Think Today…Think the Future…
POINT 2 PONDER:
‘‘And once a child feels enslaved, he/she begins to look for the day of emancipation. At that point chastisement loses meaning and piles up negative impact from which a child may never recover.’’
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