Other Articles from Millicent Muigai
A Superaunt’s Guide to Discipline your Children
I admire parents, especially the older generation. They made sure to discipline us and often they got us to do their bidding with a single look.
I am not yet a parent, but I am definitely a professional aunt. At the rate the people around me are popping little bundles of joy, I have my fair share of ‘aunting.’ Since I have enough perspective to be both stern and loving, aunting often involves providing needed discipline.
Kids will test their parents and caregivers at every chance they get. My niece is no exception. She is a threenager now and that small girl really knows how to dance around your boundaries. These are a few of the ways I have come to deal with her temper tantrums and misbehavior. As her pseudo-mum given that I have lived with her in her entire 3 years of existence
1. The agreement: talk to your child, niece or nephew and agree on a few things related to being a good girl or boy. Simply state your expectations: “No shouting,” “No screaming,” “No fighting” and such-like terms. Use what works best for your situation. Every time they do any of these things, remind them of the phrases you made together or that you declared. These can be used as warnings before the methods below are put in effect.
2. The look and stare: A bit creepy if someone watches you from a far, but quite effective. I have mastered the Look. Why do kids test your patience especially when you are in public? Yet they were perfectly well behaved at home? Who knew that with just one look, a child can conform to your bidding? It’s amazing. Semi-squinted eyes with a raised eyebrow and a down turned mouth will do the trick. Try it.
3. The voice: Have you ever called a child with a certain tone and they immediately stop in their tracks? I have worked hard to get a tone to let my niece know that I ain’t playing. She does not like it at all, but she knows to stop what she’s doing. It never worked in the beginning but with time, I perfected it. She still tests me, so I use a combination of the voice and the look to keep her in check.
4. The hot mwiko: my cousin uses this term to let her boys know that someone is about to get a beating. A small cane works wonders even when not used. Get something small and create a fable on how it is used to discipline naughty children and share that information with the child. Every time she sees this, it will resonate with pain. Even if you are not inclined to use it on your child, the symbol of discipline/punishment may be invaluable in helping them behave.
5. The combination: None of these pointers work in isolation. Kids test the limits all the time. You can opt to use all the methods in succession based on the threat level or the tantrum escalation.
One thing you need to remember is that all of these discipline methods should only come after you have issued warnings and they have ignored.
It is only fair to enforce consequences AFTER you have already stated your expectations of their behaviour. Remember to reward them for good behaviour with kind words, high fives, the happy song or gifts. Be sure to commend them and even brag about their good efforts to other people in their hearing. This works wonders as positive behavioural reinforcement. Note that each child has a different personality, and as this mother found out, siblings respond differently to various forms of discipline.
Which ones have you tried? Comment below to let us know what works to discipline your child, niece or nephew.
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