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Focus: Disciplining children

Gulf News readers debate: How far do you think parents seem to have been pushed?

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When teenagers are upset, they vent – apparently most often nowadays on Facebook. A venting exercise by a young girl in South Carolina, US, however, backfired when her father came across a post. He is now famous on the internet as the “laptop-shooting dad”, because that is literally what he did - he posted a video on YouTube reprimanding his daughter and then shooting bullets into his daughter’s laptop. The video seems to have divided parents – while some believe that putting your foot down to control a rebellious teenager is the best way to react, others have criticised him for setting a bad example. How far do you think parents seem to have been pushed? Post your thoughts on our Facebook page ‘Gulf News Al Nisr Publishing UAE’ or tell us at

16:06 Gulf News: Most parents are too concerned about being politically correct to put their foot down.

16:10 Sumanta Banerjee: We need to first understand what discipline is. You want to put into place a guidance system that keeps the child in check at age four and keeps his behaviour on track at age 40 and you want this system to be integrated into the child’s personality.

16:11 Lily Guna: Sometimes we have to put our foot down, but before we deliberately make children unhappy in order to get them to get into the car or to do their home work, we need to weigh whether what we’re doing to make it happen is worth the possible strain on our relationship with them. It does not always work. My son does not listen to me, if I force him to do anything or I scream at him in a loud voice. But this video is an extreme style of parenting.

16:13 Nazneen Sabir: Violent actions should not be done in front of children because they tend to adapt and use the same on others.

16:15 Vaishnav Rajkumar: The girl also had no right to be harsh on her parents. Going by her father’s facial expressions and comments, he looked extremely humiliated.

16:15 Dorothy Naveena: I don’t support what the father has done for one good reason – it is bitter to react just the way your child has behaved. There are better ways of conditioning children and while we do that we should remember never to repeat the same language or the same actions.

16:22 Shiuli Dutt: After a certain age when children enter their teens, parents need to re-mould their style of parenting to adapt to the changes or needs of their children. What worked at five will not work at 15! In the latter case, the parent needs to be a friend as well; wielding the rod will only yield undesirable results.

16:28 Lily Guna: I agree. We cannot be overly sweet. We need to say no at times. Stop trying to perfect your child, but keep trying to perfect your relationship with him, because feelings matter. As your children grow they may forget what we said, but won’t forget how we made them feel.

16:29 Feroze Hamid: I don’t think politically correct are the appropriate words to describe parents attempting to put their foot down. Intention and methodology should be more important. Children look up to parents and learn from whatever is available, it’s more important to get them to understand where you’re coming from.

16:31 Saleh Al Beloushi: Too much love can spoil children, so at time parents should be harsh. It is better not to show your love openly to your children because this might create a feeling in the child that my parents love me so they won’t scold me or beat me up.

16:31 Dorothy Naveena: Very few actually put their foot down, that’s the sad part. Most parents these days conveniently push the responsibility on the schools where they feel discipline has to be taught. They forget that the first lesson begins at home.

16:31 Ishfaq Mir: Too much of love can indeed spoil a child. But hitting them for even the smallest mistake is bad and should be avoided. Parents have the right to do anything with their children but only to an extent. As a reader has already said, it is necessary to say ‘no’ at times. But at the same time explaining why you said no to the child will help them to not go against your decision.

16:31 Saleh Al Beloushi: The biggest problem in today’s parents is that sometimes they enjoy their children’s mistake, which encourages them to attempt to do such things even more!

4:33 Gulf News: An easy existence has made children ungrateful of their parents’ efforts.

16:34 Simran Vedvyas: It is not that children are ungrateful of their parents’ efforts, most of the times they just don’t feel the need or find the time to express it.

16:37 Nazneen Sabir: The hardships that parents face today include school admissions, enrolling children in college, making identity cards, fulfilling material needs and everything else that the children need. But, in return, sometimes they get nothing.

16:38 Gulf News: Too many gadgets in a child’s life automatically influence their ability to focus and maintain discipline.

16:39 Sumanta Banerjee: To an extent I do agree. Children spend a large time sitting in front of the television set. One can only wonder what effect this passive activity has on their minds, especially on their comprehension of the world around them. Secondly, what affects their upbringing in worrying ways is the absence of a parent at home during the day, as many mothers work in order to sustain the family.

16:41 Sophy Aqeel: Giving them gadgets is our fault. Now both parents work, so we don’t give them the time our parents used to give us.

16:42 Pooja Vishwanathan: To a certain extent, yes, parents need to know where to draw the line. All this is highly subjective. A responsible child will not get distracted and stay focused, no matter how many gadgets you keep in front of him or her. No parent would ever mind giving such a responsible child a gadget, since it might act as a motivator.

16:43 Salim Mohammad: I partly agree – one can’t be more disciplined if you are having gadgets. It just helps you to communicate in a better way… discipline can be moulded in a way of developing self-esteem, better communication and doing good for the society. What else do we need discipline for?

4:46 Gulf News: The openness of the platforms provided by social media is encouraging bad behaviour among children.

16:52 Vaishnav Rajkumar: Don’t you think parents should be blamed for buying children these gadgets? Parents should also know in what way their child will use the gadget.



Aisha Abdul Noor Al Janahi, Dubai

I don’t agree with what the father did — his daughter is an adolescent, he should be looking after her instead of displaying such toxic behaviour. This is one of the reasons why children prefer to be closer to people other than their own parents — they just won’t listen to you if you behave in such a way. I know that if I am upset, I can go to my father... for guidance.”


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Aisha Abdul Noor Al Janahi, Dubai

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