Posted by: Diane | 2009-08-20


From what age do you start disciplining a child? The reason why i' m asking is because a colleague of mine brought his son yesterday. He was making lots of noise, jumping up and down the stairs. His father gave him an apple. He was spitting the apple on the stairway and this one time he was eating a banana and when i looked at him, he opened his mouth doing that nasty thing playing with the food in his mouth, disgusting. And when told i told his father about it he said that he is like any other kid. But i told him that he needs to respect elders and you know what he said, he said that how do you expect a 3 year old to distinguish between an adult and someone younger or his age? Am i exaggerating here or what?

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Our expert says:
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From birth. In the sense that the way you respond to what the child does, will start to shape the child's behaviour. And that's what I mean by Discipline --- helping the child to learn what behaviours are good and helpful. This is not about punishment ( which doesn't work, anyway ) but about encouraging good behaviour and discouraging bad behaviour
The father you mention sounds a bit naive. Obviously a kid of 3 couldn't describe the definition of an elder, but as soon as they can speak reasonably, they can distingish between "grown-ups" and "us kids".Its not rocket science to convey to a child that displaying the food in your mouth to others is unpleasant to them. If this father inores his kid as much as i sounds, the kidm may be desperate to get atention, one way or another.

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