The mother was wrong to have threatened, or given a warning to her misbehaving daughter only to chicken out when challenged by the child.
Where is the mother's authority? What respect can the child have for someone who makes empty threats or does not honour her words?
This is a mistake that many parents and teachers make in trying to discipline children. They threaten children with punishment that can never be carried out. The result is disrespect for the person making those empty threats, and his/her authority and discipline goes down the drain.
It is not the children of today who are different, but the adults. In the 1960s and 1970s, if a warning was given, it was carried out.
So, the children dared not challenge the authority of the person. That is what made the difference.
So, please do not blame the children. The way they learn to respect authority has not changed.
The mother of the 10-year-old girl should have taken the cane to the defiant girl, asked her to put out either palm and give her a two hard whacks.
That would have brought change to the girl who would then realise she cannot bully her mother anymore. But by chickening out when challenged, the mother only let the girl rule the mother.
This child might have been spared at a much younger age and knows that her mother would not do what she threatened to do. Why was the child allowed to get away with misbehaving all these years?
In the early stages, the strategies mentioned by Lim could have worked, but again, only if strictly and consistently enforced.
There has to be firmness and consistency in whatever strategies that are applied in disciplining children from an early age. The cane (a light one) should be the last method to be used when all else fail. Without these, the desired results cannot be achieved.
We should stop blaming children for their indiscipline. The fault is ours for we have allowed them to become such through misplaced love, ignorance and inability to be firm with them.
By Ravinder Singh, Batu Maung, Penang Source: New Straits Times Letters to the Editor 09 July 2012