DISCIPLINING your child may not be easy, especially if the child is bent on having his own way. But irrespective of what is happening, as a parent you have to be firm in your handling of temper tantrums, setting healthy limits and managing power struggles, while doing so in love.
This type of love is commonly referred to as 'tough love', because even though it breaks your own heart to take a particular route or action against a child who refuses to comply, you realise that it must be done in order to bring about a change.
Child psychologist Camille Lemonious said the aim of growing up a child is to make him into someone who is emotionally intelligent.
"It is important that parents/guardians decide on what kind of a person they want their children to become," Lemonious said.
"It would be good to have children who are emotionally intelligent; they can cope with disappointments, can manage fame, have a healthy way of dealing with conflicts/disagreements, their moral conscience is intact," she said.
But a number of parents will admit that they have tried all in their powers to discipline their children, but nothing seems to work. They have tried time outs for the younger kids, taking away something that the child really loves, slapped, coaxed, you name it, only to come up empty handed.
So what next?
The child psychologist said when certain traits are seen in a child after long-term discipline has been applied, then it's time to bring in the professional who will make an assessment and advise on the next step to take.
"When a parent has been disciplining 'in love', and the discipline is consistent; where the discipline may be geared to breaking a stubborn will of a child, and not to break the spirit of the child, but yet the child over time has not changed, then that is when it's time to seek professional help," Lemonious said.
The three main things, Lemonious noted, that will tell when it's time to seek help are when the child:
1. Continues to be rebellious
2. Is aggressive towards the loving authority figure/figures in the home
3. Is not performing academically.
"It is important to note that the environment in which children are being socialised will, in most cases, determine how they respond to life's situations," she advised.