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Discipline is perhaps only a tool in the art of parenting but it is so important
that it has been treated in an entire chapter. Such is the importance of
discipline that it is considered the enabling environment for the entire
teaching project. Once the habit of discipline is in place, all other issues
relating to parenting will flow easily and naturally.
Take control early or lose control forever.
Once issues of discipline are sorted out, you have created the ideal environment
for all that the child will learn.
To help understand discipline
better, let us note the Advanced Learner’s dictionary’s definition.
Discipline             Is the
practice of training people to obey rules and orders and punishment for not
obeying them.
controlled behavior or situation that results in this training.
ability to control your behavior or the way you live and work.
Establishing rules
The first step in establishing
discipline is therefore establishing rules.
Children learn better in
regulated environs anyway so we should establish rules for almost everything.
The number one rule in the home is, parents are in charge, (you will be
surprised that the most basic things need to be established).
When in school, children should
be told that they automatically should convey the authority and respect for
their parents to the teacher, the head teacher, the school authorities. Parents
must protect the authority of the teacher and the head teacher as dearly as
they protect their own and so, they must never undermine the authority of the
teacher or the school, either in the presence of the child or in the absence of
the teacher!
Research has shown the
Years ……age
of regulation
This is the age when a child should be closely regulated and good habits
can be established.
Suggested rules for this period include the following
Time to sleep and time to wake-up
Time to eat and what food to eat (if possible
have a food time table)
Time to clean up 
(after food, after play)
Time to do Home work
Time to bath or shower
Time for going out with friends, playing
Time for television
8-12 Years ….age of imitation
The children will imitate you at this stage so as parents, you have to ‘do
what you say’- when we are seen to obey rules ourselves, they will
more easily follow the rules we lay down.
Suggested rules for this period
Time to do Home work
Time to bath or shower
Time for going out with friends, playing
No lying
breaking school rules
jumping queues  
13-20 Years ….teenage years
These years are identified as the difficult years.
Physical changes begin when girls are between the ages of ten and thirteen and
boys are between twelve and fifteen years old.
Research has shown that adults think with the
prefrontal cortex – the rational part of the brain located in front. The pre
frontal cortex is however not fully developed till after the age of eighteen.
Before then children think with their ‘Amygdala’, another organ in
the brain which acts more on impulse than on reason. We can therefore begin
to understand why children cannot be abandoned to their own reasoning. We must
be our children’s coach & consultant till they can reason maturely.
Suggested rules for this period
include the following
Time for going out with friends, playing
Time for dating
Time for make-up
Time to be home- curfews
How to dress
How to talk (no talking back, no funny accents,
no slurs)
How to manage pocket money and allowances
Enforcement of Discipline
Rules must then be enforced and
punishment must be meted out when they are flouted.

Methods of

These will range from simple
commands or even mere disapproving looks to physical action, examples include:
1. Saying a firm “no”
2. Smacks or the cane for younger ones
3. Withdrawal of privileges and toys (such as television time, mobile
Phones, electronic games, footballs, etc)
4. Lectures
5. Grounding
Use of Enforcement Tools
Study your children in order
to identify the best tool to use on each child.
Children are usually
different. They could be rebellious, co-operative or passive.
Parenting styles are also
different and will depend on our character.
Authoritarian       Rules clear and
inflexible, domineering, set family goals, gives rewards. 
Equalitarian         Family a
team, decisions democratic, rules simple and flexible.
Permissive      Compassionate,
sympathetic, and encouraging, motivates children in the right direction,
respectful, open.
For some of us discipline is
not a particularly happy subject as discipline seemed to be the particular
preserve of the African father. Some remember with trepidation the stern,
silent, uncompromising father, who ruled the entire household including the,
mother (or mothers) and any number of children with fear! Some even remember
running under the seats as soon as they heard the horn of their father’s car,
for fear of the cane that would most certainly be inflicted when the latest
misdemeanor was discovered.
The female children in
particular vowed not to have husbands like that, whilst they also determined
they would not practice that type of discipline in their own homes.
To a large extent however, most
of the men felt this was how to be the man in the house and this explains why
they strove to put this mode of parenting in place.
We now find, with hindsight,
that our parent’s style did at least keep the entire family in check even if it
did not allow for much expression of individual creativity! In addition to that
it was motivated by an intention to keep the family name and reputation intact.
Parents must together now determine
their own individual methods of disciplining our children, with an intention to
raise balanced and responsible adults. Parents should not display divergent
disciplinary methods as it encourages children to play one against the other
for their own benefit and at the parent’s detriment.
Parents must not undermine each
other’s authority, neither must they undermine the authority of the school or
anyone they put in authority over their children, such as lesson teachers,
grandmothers and grandfathers and even house helps.
Special cases where parents are
divorced or are “warring” require special care and will be discussed later on.
If parents have an issue with
the school they should discuss it with the school away from the child’s
presence. Parents should work with the school as a team. There must be no
division!  A house divided against itself
will surely fall!
Time for starting discipline
I believe you begin to enforce
discipline right from infancy!
Several babies have been
trained to wake up for their nightly feeds by parents enforcing the discipline
of not picking them up every time they cry.
Discipline requires commitment and
resolve on the part of the parents. Rules that are not enforced, or
inconsistently enforced are no rules!
Compared to what obtained in our parents days we have learnt to be more
expressive and demonstrative in our show of affection and love towards our
children, therefore when we discipline them it should also be in love.
Respect the kids.
Unless there is a particular
lesson to be taught by humiliating the kids publicly, even when being
disciplined they should be respected so that their self confidence is not
permanently damaged.
Do not tell everyone about their problems.
It adds no value to run our kids
down in the presence of the next person that comes in after the child has misbehaved.
It can only further erode the child’s self esteem.
Praise them when they do well.
Praise is an important tool
that works as efficiently as discipline. Encouragement causes them to desire to
continue to please.
Do not discipline in anger
Though this may be easier said
than done, it is better to be calm when administering discipline so that the
message is not lost in the surrounding emotions.
Keep communication lines open.
It is especially recommended that,
after discipline is administered, the reason be fully explained to the child.
Sullenness and malice should not be allowed to breed as an aftermath of discipline.
Rather, genuine remorse should be the evident emotion.
S.V. Mums
I have a group of mums I call S.V. mums (special
vision mums). For some reason, they cannot have an unbiased opinion of their
children. I have tried to understand how it happens. The most logical, normal
woman has a child and all of a sudden everything about her vision changes. She
can only see her child’s side of any story; her child can do no wrong. She can
never say no to the child, the child must get whatever she wants, whenever she
wants. No harm must befall the child. Indeed she must do all within her means
to prevent any harm whatsoever from befalling the child!
This child is the most important of all children. As I
see this behavior manifesting in so many, I truly begin to wonder how those
women can get out of those situations (incidentally it seems to strictly be a
women’s thing, I am yet to meet an S.V. dad.) Because women often do not even
know that they have this problem I suggest you conduct a test on yourself. If
your children are thoroughly spoilt – this is usually the first external sign,
(again how do you know your children are spoilt? ask someone that will tell you
the truth!), and you are constantly making excuses for the children, then you
are an S.V. mum. If you took offence at the person who told you your child is
spoilt, then you are an S.V. mum!
If you are an S.V. mum, for the sake of that child you
must not make disciplinary decisions alone concerning him or her. The child
will never get any discipline. You have to begin to take decisions concerning
the child with your husband or a sensible friend. Usually, husbands of S.V.
wives have been ‘battered’ into silence and therefore never express a contrary
opinion, for fear of incurring the wrath of the S.V. mum For the good of
this child, S.V. mums therefore usually have to work with outside help, and if
they can restore ‘battered’ husband’s confidence, his help as well. S.V. mums are
incapable of making sensible decisions concerning their children, no matter how
sensible they may be about other people’s children or other matters. With
consistent help they may eventually become normal mums!   
Mr. and Mrs. Iwalewa have four children. Kayode who is
15yrs old is known as Kd both at home and in school, though in school KD stands
for Kool Dude. He is usually the one Daddy and Mummy put in charge, and when he
is in charge he is really in charge. Everybody does their homework and he rules
with an iron fist. The good news (for the other kids), though, is that he loves
football, and once a match is on, he forgets everything and everybody then does
whatever they want. He also loves to play football with the neighbours’
children and has broken the windscreen of Daddy’s Mercedez M class car and
several things in the sitting room.
Nkiru is 14 yrs old – Inkybaby (as she is called) is a
very careful girl. No one is allowed to enter her room and mess up her
carefully arranged beads and makeup. She has lots of money because she saves
all her pocket money. She is planning to buy more clothes to wear at Christmas
when she plans to go to the cinemas everyday with her new boyfriend who attends
St. Georges secondary school and who she loves dearly. She does not let
her mummy see the clothes she buys because mummy is always complaining that her
clothes are too tight or too short.   
Mopileola (‘Mopsy’) is 12 yrs old – Mopsy is
everybody’s favorite. She helps out with everything. She helps mummy in the
kitchen, helps KD wash his football jerseys and occasionally helps her baby
brother tidy his room. Because of this she often does not finish her homework,
especially whilst the T.V. reality show Teen Zone is on, because she would
not miss the program for anything.
Azuka, 9 yr old– ‘Ziboy’, is the baby of the house.
His room is like a Hurricane Katrina affected zone! His laundry basket is
always filled and flowing over. His bathroom smells of the dirty pants he
soaked two weeks earlier. His soccer boots and socks smell under the bed. Once
or twice he has come back wearing someone else’s shoes and mummy had to go to
school to sort it out when the other parent reported that Ziboy had stolen his
Using some of these words, (diligence, thoughtfulness, responsibility,
discipline and honesty), what are the qualities that can be found in the
different children and how such qualities can be reinforced?
State some of the negative qualities evident in the children.
What do you think of the parents?
Revival University was one of the new private
universities the government had recently licensed. It was very well built and
equipped with the best science laboratories, computer laboratories etc. etc. It
had a good student population also as both parents and students were impressed
with the quality of tuition and facilities it had to offer and flocked there
for admission. The parents were particularly impressed with the level of
discipline the University offered. Students were not allowed off campus without
written permission of their parents two weeks before the proposed outing and
parties were not allowed on campus. So all was well, or was it really?
The undergraduate students of Revival university
jumped over the wall- about a dozen boys and girls – and got into the ‘danfo’ whose
driver had been waiting furtively across the street. ‘Tonite was going to be one
hell of a nite’! They headed for the club Yesmina in Ibadan. They partied, rocked and had a swell
In the early hours of the morning a quarrel ensued. No
one could remember what it was all about.
Lo and behold, in the midst of the argument a knife
appeared. Someone was stabbed. A student died.
The ‘danfo’ driver disappeared. All the guests in the
night club were rounded up by the police. The kids could not get back into ‘uni’.
The school authorities found out. All those who were not in ‘uni’ that morning
were expelled.

1.     To what extent should
undergraduates be restricted?

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