Spare the rod: Alternative ways of disciplining your child without spanking

Spare the rod: Alternative ways of disciplining your child without spanking

On Wednesday, the Constitutional court ruled that it is unconstitutional for parents to spank their children. We had a sit down with Nonhlanhla Makhathini, a Social Worker in Gauteng following the ruling.

Girl hiding from man holding a belt
Girl hiding from man holding a belt/ iStock

The ruling received a mixed reaction from the public. 

READ: ConCourt upholds judgement outlawing spanking

Nonhlanhla Makhathini, a Social Worker based in Gauteng says she supports the new law because it will help build a better society and protect vulnerable children whose parents have aggressive behaviour. 

“Looking at the nature of aggression towards children nowadays, even parents are not immune to aggression. They can easily go beyond the limit. That needs to be controlled. At the end, children need to be protected,” says Makhathini.

She believes the aggression is caused by the mental distress and depression that many people are suffering from. 

“Our society has changed. Our society has more psychological problems than before. Parents are going through different pressures in their lives. Parents overwhelmed by all their roles - roles at work, roles at home, marital roles, parenting. If you look at it, you can just see that parents are overwhelmed. There is no way that situation can be just left to the parents to see how to manage the children knowing that more and more people are suffering from some form of mental stress,” says Makhathini. 

Makhathini adds that though “we know not every parent is like that, but what about those children whose parents are in trouble, and somewhere, somehow, the government has to intervene in that area.”

She says there are many ways parents can discipline their children, besides spanking them. 

"We have alternatives, because in any way, hitting a child, we cannot say it works 100%. We know that even when the children are fine and can perform at their optimal level, but they will still have some psychological effects. Some children are reported to have anxiety disorders and can’t relate to people without being forceful to them, and they believe, sometimes, that aggression is a way of getting what you want,” says Makhathini. 

She says children emulate the behaviour of their parents, and this is why some kids will get to creche and pre-school and start hitting others in order to get their way. 

“We know that children learn more from observing behaviour,” says Makhathini.

READ: Tia Mowry on why she doesn't choose to spank her kids

Alternative ways of disciplining 

She, therefore, believes parents should rather discipline or punish their children by taking away from them what they love, instead of making them feel physical pain. 

“Children are attached to a whole lot of things. They are attached to TV, they are attached to gadgets, they are attached to cell phones, they are attached to pocket money. There are so many things you can take away from them,” says Makhathini. 

She concludes that parents should remember that the main thing they are trying to do is give a lesson. 

“If a child has transgressed, you want the child to learn a lesson from it. So, the child should know that every behaviour has consequences,” she concluded. 

READ: High Court spanking judgement: Does the law affect your parenting style?

Image courtesy of iStock/ Zinkevych

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