Dubai/ Abu Dhabi/ Fujairah: Where should the line be drawn when disciplining a child?

Some residents say that parents are the only ones with the authority to spank a child, but that it should only be a last resort. However, others argue that spanking should never happen and that children can only learn from their mistakes by having a meaningful conversation with their parents.

In a recent Gulf News poll, 23 per cent of respondents said that children should be disciplined by putting them on time-out, 19 per cent said they would tell them off, 15 per cent said they would smack them, and 15 per cent did not have children.

Twelve per cent of respondents said that grounding them is the best way to discipline them, nine per cent said to smack them harder and six per cent said they would just ignore them.

City Talk took to the streets and asked residents what they think is the best way to discipline a child, and if spanking is necessary in certain cases.

Leonora Alvendia, a 42-year-old Filipina accountant, said: "Talking to them is the best way. If the child continues to misbehave, then parents should not lose their temper but should continue talking to them. Spanking is not the way to go because it can have detrimental effects on a child."

Aradhana Dass, a 25-year-old administrative manager from India, said: "I am not a parent, but if I was I would use the same method of discipline that my parents used on me, which is talking. From personal experience, shouting and spanking never worked. The child has to understand what is right and wrong, so that he will not do it again. It is important for children to learn that what they are doing will not be tolerated, and the only way they can learn that is by having a meaningful conversation with their parents."

Elie Nehme, a 25-year-old media executive from Lebanon, said: "It is important for parents to talk about the child's behaviour with them. Spanking should be used as the last resort and only if the child did something very, very wrong."

Ronel Barcellos, a 42-year-old conservationist from South Africa, said: "You should use positive reinforcement with your children. When they do something good, you should reward them and show them that this is the behaviour that you want, and when they do something negative they do not get a reward."

Filipina nurse Theresa Lagrimas, 40, said: "If you pressure your children, they will not improve or absorb what you want to convey to them. But if you speak with them in a calm manner at the right time and place and privately without embarrassing them in front of others, then they would respond better. As for spanking, if they have committed an unforgivable mistake then spanking can be a parent's last resort."

Tarek Ansari, a doctor from Egypt, said: "If you discipline your children through words and end up behaving in a different way, whatever you said will be irrelevant. There has to be respect and barriers set, and there should always be a difference between a parent and a friend."

Luz Dayrit, a 49-year-old sales assistant from the Philippines, said: "For me, communication and honesty are the best ways of raising children. My children are back in the Philippines and I try to give them as much moral support as possible, but if they need to be disciplined then I ask their aunts and uncles to ground them. I do not believe hitting children is beneficial. If you hit them they just become more stubborn and will not listen to you. It is better to try and advise them against things that are bad for them, like drugs."

Mohammad Sabri, a 31-year-old pharmacist from Egypt, said: "I am not against spanking per se, but there are ways of doing it responsibly without hurting the child and it must only be used as a last resort. Obviously the best way to show children right from wrong is to educate and advise them, but that might not always be enough and then you have to discipline them."

Your comments

It is very difficult to control today's children based on the readers' suggestions. Now a days, children are addicted to TV and violent electronic games, which leads to behavioural disorders/changes. Parents should leave unruly children to their own destinies.
Posted: March 01, 2009, 09:20

The more you impose rules on a child, the more he/she finds ways to bypass them. Never give them that chance. Having a talk is the best option, but at times a slight pinch won't do any damage either. None of the parents would forcefully harm their own child. In this modern world the chances for the children to wander away are far too high. A control on them is always required, irrespective of age or sex.
Jimmy Jacob
Posted: March 01, 2009, 06:47