Seven Common Disciplinary Mistakes Parents Make

Sometimes, as I reminisce on the beautiful years of our childhood, I am left to wonder in and wander into the glaring future of the upcoming parents. Unforgettable is the discipline we went through in the hands (and mouths) of our parents. Is it the koboko stripes baring on  our skin after committing a grave misconduct, or the “two eyes gives birth while two hundred others does the upbringing” proverb, the late night of recompense when dead sins suddenly resurrect, the midnight witty advice mummy gives and… If you know, you know!


These disciplinarian tactics may sound archaic and unbelievable to the world of today. With the ever increasing children rights campaigns and organizations, how durable and practicable will our disciplinarian approach be in the nearest future? Before we’re being questioned by the upcoming generation of parents; let’s attempt a critic of our disciplinary measures and approaches.

1. Covering up for a misdemeanor

Building trust and love in a child should not include hiding their ‘sins’ and subverting the truths. There are parents who would rather lie than be realistic about their child’s misconduct. Some would blame their boy’s rascality on gender and defend whatever misdemeanor carried out by the child. Perhaps, this is to avert punishment, shame or protect the parent’s image. Unfortunately, greater is likely to become the shame and punishments of an uncorrected child.

2. Double standards in discipline.

If you’re the kind of parent who has no tolerance for disrespect and insolence, yet, your child speaks ill of his/her teacher and you are amused, you need to question your standards. Employing double standards in the discipline of a child is like taking one step forward and two backwards; it leads to nowhere!
In the disciplinarian aspect of parenting, if an act is worth condemning, it should stand no chance of being excused whether perpetrated to an outsider, an older sibling or a domestic staff.

3. Gender basing responsibility

A mother of four boys complained bitterly about how her husband’s male students usually visit, making feast and leaving all the plates unwashed and kitchen untidied. But she lost my sympathy when she pointed out that they shouldn’t have behaved so knowing fully well that she’s a mother of boys (The youngest being 8). Definitely, she would have found the students’ act less offensive if her children were girls.


Many parents are guilty of gender basing discipline in one way or the other. Someone once said that if all the efforts put at raising a chaste, decent and modest girl is also expended on upbringing a morally upright and respectful boy, most problems of sexual abuse and harassment would be inexistent. Parents should not pass a wrong message  to the children by being critical of the girls’ movement outside the home while the boys could stay out late as they wish.

4. Anger induced spanking

Some parents who believe that spanking is a form of discipline are guilty of reason. When a child has misbehaved, the parents needs to exclude personal annoyance from the cause and effect of the misdemeanor. Else, the aim of discipline goes defeated.

Self control and delay of punishment until anger subsides are better ways of addressing the problem.

5. Delegating disciplinary role to the father/mother 

Children upbringing as well as discipline should be a joint effort of both parent. When every hearing, discipline and correction is delayed until the father returns, there’s a grievous lapse in the disciplinary system of the house.


It is advised that parents not only be on the same  page on child ethical training, but also act as individual partners who can take charge of situations.

6. Blaming results on the older child.

An African proverb says; “the latter horse models after the foremost.” Perhaps this has influenced many parents into believing that an older child has more responsibility, charge and influence on the younger siblings. In any way, discipline of children should entail making everyone responsible for their actions and not puling the blame on an older child.


In a situation where the older child is held responsible for the failures and mistakes of others, he/she becomes overburdened. Children may get a wrong message as regards whatever rationale is involved while the younger child may likely become irresponsible.

7. Expecting perfection

Some parents despite their awareness of the children’s age, strengths and weaknesses expect the best academic results, moral  conducts and skillfulness in their children. When parents take offense when glasses are broken, girls earrings and hairpins gets lost, book covers get torn, soup is poured on the rug and all the annoying things that can happen, they can as well be called mothers /fathers of real angels. For no human; adult or child is a master at averting mistakes.


It is pertinent not to overlook these mistakes but harness ways of making our disciplinary approach unregretful because a stitch in time saves nine. Be that as it may, the good news is that, just as we do, our children will likely grow up adoring and appreciating us for our efforts. That is why a little more effort is worth the sweat.