I remember being beaten black and blue and humiliated in front of visitors or passer-by’s. At time’s I’d wished the ground beneath my feet would swallow me instead of having to put up with such extreme forms of punishment, and at times I thought it better to be beaten senseless so it ends at once rather than having to endure a humiliating scolding whose scars would last a lifetime.
Somali parents, though adroit at many things, are not very skilful when it comes to disciplining their children, then they wonder why their children are violent and behave in shameful ways. Good behaviour stems from good relationships and good role models, doesn’t it?
A child learns everything there is learn from his home – if he is shouted at at home, he would shout at others, if he is constantly being beaten, he would lose self-confidence and become hostile, if he is respected, he learns to respect others, if complimented, he learns to praise others, and so on. Yet with regards to behaviour we teach our children so little and expect so much from them. You’re more likely to achieve compliance by respecting the child and listening to his needs, instead of shouting at him. It is also important to remember that the tonalities of your speech and your behaviour all have a direct bearing on the actions of a child later on in life.
Children should be taught to have an inner voice – some of us call it conscious – so that they can police themselves instead of us having to punish them repeatedly for mistakes they would repeat. They need to be taught the consequences of making good choices and bad choices – cause and effect but with wisdom and tolerance! If you punish them they would only avoid what they are being punished for because they know you are going to punish them, not because they think it is wrong. Also our brains do not work on negative commands. If I were to tell you “do NOT think about an Orange” you probably would have thought about it long before I finished saying it. How we behave as adults towards our children is going to influence how they behave towards others!