If you don’t teach, don’t discipline

Caning (Credit: The Conversation)

Last week Friday, I had given my 8 year old son the sum of N400 to buy some stuff in school. By the time I got into the school compound, he ran to me a little agitated “Mum I lost the money you gave me” .

I was upset. I felt he was careless because I felt he should know it was money and should be handled carefully; but what I didn’t realize immediately was that we had not really taught them how to handle money all by themselves.

So it hit me, I had a “teaching moment at hand not a punishable or yelling moment”.
I took control of my emotions. It was not a lot of money but if I don’t teach him to handle small monies, how will he learn to place value on every Kobo he has, and learn to manage bigger amounts?

Here was my response :

“So I will need you to tell me when last you saw that money?”
“I can only remember putting it in my back pocket immediately you gave it to me,” he said still a little agitated and went on to narrate where he went and all.

After his narration I went on;

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“First things first. You must understand that money must be valued no matter how much it is.”

You were careless with handling that money. When next you are given money for any kind of transaction, ensure you put it in a safe place. Where would this safe place be in this case?
He responded “my school bag” not my back pocket.

……And we were home and dry. No blames, no accusations, no raising of voices.
Do you know why?
I understood it was a teachable moment not a shouting match. The truth was that we hadn’t taught him what to do, we assumed he knew!!

The very next day I gave him money for something else, I saw him carefully put the money in his bag and zipped it.
He understands, he has being thought!

Dear parents,

Whenever you think of discipline , think of teaching first. Any child you haven’t taught you have no right to discipline.

It is important to take time for training/teaching. Many times parents expect children to accomplish tasks or know a particular skill without teaching them.
Never assume teaching, It must be deliberate.
Your yelling, blaming and beating can be counter productive in most cases.

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Learn to teach first, before you discipline.

Do you know when these teachable moments present themselves?


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