First , I thank the the organisers of the TOSSE 2019, for a job welldone on the just concluded event.

I do not take for granted the privilege to be part of the panelists on the Parent Forum session at the event. Let me equally use this opportunity to pay a glowing tribute to the great submissions made by the other sound minds on the panel session in their respective assignment on the day; Mrs Helen Essien, Mrs Charity Babatunde, Mrs Abimbola Somolu, and Mrs Daisy Jonathan. THEY WERE AWESOME. The Lord bless you and increase your knowledge

I was given the task to discuss CHILD DISCIPLINE, covering these areas;

1. “Spare the rod and spoil the child”. Fact or myth. Was the “rod” as used here metaphorical or literal?

2. Assuming without conceding, that the cane has lost it’s usefulness, it would appear that it’s also lost it’s legality as some states have outlawed caning in schools (note: not home).

3. Why do teachers in particular feel helpless and hapless with this new development?

4. Are there non-caning options which are just as effective, or more effective than caning?

5. Is negotiation with the child an option?

The following are the questions and comments on child discipline; i actually fussed some together into one question.

1. What are other measures of disciplining a child who doesn’t listen to his/her parents?

2. What do you do to a child who is 13 year old that refuses to obey the parents especially when it comes to doing home work but she’s an angel at school?

3. I dont agree with your issue on discipline. It was because the parents/teachers stopped caning that led us to this situation we are today because we brought in foreign culture into our system. We should just train the teacher to use cane on the buttocks of students.

4. Is asking children not to watch certain films a way to control what they watch?


But what, exactly, is discipline ? Is it simply about keeping kids within particular boundaries, or is it about teaching them new skills? Is it for their own safety, or to serve the purpose, fancy and the needs of the PARENTS? These are pertinent questions and must be answered dispassionately otherwise we may be unconsciously damaging our children through the methods we adopt to correct them of any of the social infractions. If the purpose is unknown, abuse then is inevitable, so says Myles Monroe.

I make bold as to say that as parents, if the goal and purpose of discipline is to teach the child, then educational approaches would make the most sense. But on the other hand, if we only need to command immediate obedience through dominance from our children, then aggressive physical punishment is an excellent strategy. I wouldn’t suggest the latter for any parent, nonetheless, because its structures are deeply rooted in fear, intimidation, retaliation, and spitefulness. But I hear people often say that physical punishment works for them. Then I ask, to what extent with respect to the final outputs of the child (ren) involved is this true. ?

Many parents and teachers still feel that without caning, children will continue brazenly in abysmal error and run amok, but I submit that there is no emperical evidence to support that the idea of agression results in learning either.

Research has shown that when children comply at the sight of cane or any other physical punishment it is because they are afraid and not because learning has taking place in them. I have been to a school where a rowdy hall session by the students prompted the Head teacher to stand up, the students reading his body and facial languages COMPLIED within seconds and palpable pin silence was thus observed. Same couldn’t be said of another I witnessed in which the students promptly maintained silence spotting the School’s head hand with the stack of canes. The School head later told me he didn’t mean to beat them with the cane but to SCARE them into obeying him and it works. He said.

Juxtaposing the two scenarios we can then deduce which is the better method of discipline as applied by these two seperate school heads.

This is what the power of conditioning can do to our children’s mind. We model after what we want and desire of them. One conditioned them to be a reasoning being , another conditioned them to be an instinct being, in the word of Barrister Taiwo Akinlami.

The biblical ‘rod’ to many means cane and physical punishment while to some it is ‘teaching, ‘instructions, ‘solutions’, and ‘knowledge’ Again, we are free to interpret the ‘rod’ to suit our desire and purpose, but I’d like to state that the writer of that aspect of the Scriptures didn’t begin with the ‘rod’ (to mean physical cane) but with TEACHING. He spent the better part of the whole books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes in to teach in reinforcing positive values on his children. So to teach a child to develop new skills to grow effectively in life requires a dint of hardwork, patience, intense knowledge , and educational nurturing for parents to navigate effectively.

But no thanks really to most of the State governments for outlawing the use of cane with no corresponding training support and intervention for teachers on how to effectively develop new skills on the alternative method of discipline. This is the reason why teachers in those schools seem helpless and result to a state of recluse, watching the students wreaking havok on themselves by flagrant disobeying the schools social rules.

Are there alternatives to caning? Yes there are. One of them is to allow the consequences to do the shouting. Of course this can only be effective after the parents and teachers must have invested their quality time to study the child’s temperament. Child discipline is a process; it is never a sprint, neither is it a race. When parents go for short term goals, benefits, and comfort at the expense of their core roles, there’s a greater tendency that such will lead to eternal damnation. Easier choices are mostly suggested by our emotions and feelings; we shouldn’t trust them always.

The choice is ours as parents and teachers; let us think about it. For every of our actions we are absolutely certain that we will get the result we want, and that result would either be long life-changing with the help of coping skills to live as they (children) grow up or a short lived obedience from our children. Educational approaches of discipline offer kids right opportunities to ask questions about anything and everything and also have the abilities to present to them skills to overcome challenges in life.

Thank you once again, the Tosse Edumark first, for this mind enlightening parents forum. We are not ungrateful (apology to Mr Kayode Adeogun)

And to every parent and teacher, school owner, and school administrator, who took time to comment and ask questions, I say thank you, together we can present a progressive and clearer family and parenting lifestyle for our precious kids TODAY!

Akinropo Akinola
Founder/Director, Parenmark School of Parenting

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