On my journey across the ‘www’ today, I came across an article by Anna Chui called “How Discipline Makes Children More Out of Control”. As a single mother, the title hit me like a slap to the face.
In this article, Anna recounts the story of a 7 year old boy who was “disciplined” by his parents for throwing stones at passing cars.
The parents chose to discipline their son by leaving him in the woods of Nannae, Hokkaido in May of 2016. How long the boy was there, I have no idea, the article doesn’t say. But it does say that “the bear infested area was scoured by local authorities, but heart-breakingly, the little boy never turned up.” No shit.
Throughout this entire piece, I couldn’t stop thinking “What the hell does a missing child, left in the bush by a pair of abusive parents for God knows how long, have to do with disciplining children making those children get out of control????”
I’m confused here Anna. Help me out.
The child in the beginning of the piece didn’t “go rotten” because of excessive discipline. He went MISSING, because of straight up abuse.
I’m the mother of 3 children. Of the three, no two have the same personality. When they were much younger, I quickly learned that they couldn’t be disciplined the same way; the oldest was into technology, so as punishment, I took away her technology. The middle child was very social, so grounding her worked as punishment. And the youngest was all about video games, so you can guess what kind of punishment straightened him out. At no point EVER did I think “hey, I’m going to drive my kid out to the bear-infested bush, and leave him there. Yeah…that’s a great punishment. That’ll teach him.”
Now that my children are older, as a parent, they no longer need any type of “punishment” from me. Any consequence of decisions that they might make, is their punishment. Now that they’re adults, I’m here for them purely for guidance and friendship.
My point; it boils my blood when people hold up the misguided and abusive actions of parents who do sick things like leaving their 7 year old in “bear infested woods” as “punishment”, having the child go missing as a result, as an example of why you shouldn’t “discipline” a child. I can’t…the two aren’t even marginally comparable. I’m even having trouble writing this post, because wrapping my brain around this example is just too disturbing.
The three paragraph story of the kid who was left in the bush by himself could have been left out completely. The piece would have made much more sense, and I hope those parents were arrested.
Anna does go on to say that “Parents set guidelines and boundaries for their children to ensure their safety, as well as the safety of others…” which is the general purpose of discipline. When you step to the outer reaches of discipline to the point where you’re now into abuse territory, that’s where the problems begin.
I’ll tell you straight up, I believe that LACK OF DISCIPLINE makes children out of control. Plain and simple. Not every child can be disciplined in the same way, but putting your child in harm’s way to correct ‘bad behavior’ isn’t discipline. It’s abuse. Know the difference.