We all remember getting a good telling-off from Mum or Dad. And it didn’t appear to do us any harm. According to a survey, a quarter of adults are so afraid of upsetting their children that they do not discipline them at all. Three in ten admitted to being “a pushover” with their kids. This is despite the fact that 55 per cent of those polled said their parents had been stricter with them and more than a third said they feared a lack of boundaries could lead to their kids getting into trouble.

Friendly vibes

More than half of parents saw themselves more as their child’s friend than parents and would rather sit down and talk things through than discipline them. But nine in ten of the parents said they had been subject to strict discipline as a child. Six in ten were smacked, a similar proportion were sent to their room and close to half were sent to bed early.

One in five said they were made to miss dinner, while one in ten had their “ears boxed” or their mouths washed out with soap. The majority — 93 per cent — grew up respecting their elders and eight in ten said one telling-off was enough to stop them misbehaving.

Easy ride

But today’s kids have a much easier ride. One in four parents said they shied away from telling off their kids because they wanted “an easy life”.
Three in ten said they had sent their child to bed early. One in three had restricted a child’s access to an iPod, mobile phone or computer. One in 20 said they would do nothing to punish a child. But a quarter said they wished they were stricter. Kids are told off on average twice a day but most parents think the lecture falls on deaf ears. The survey of 2,000 parents was conducted for the Armed Forces Cadet movement.

“Participating in challenging structured activities in their spare time can help kids discover the benefits of self-discipline and respect for others.”