Be the hand that loves and the word that guides
National campaign for promoting non-violent disciplining of children
Every parent strives to provide their child with the best opportunities for development, care, support and protection while they are growing up. With the development of society, the challenges of modern life, but also with new knowledge, parents are getting chances and opportunities to improve their approaches to raising their children.
During the last 15 years, we have witnessed a significant change in the attitude of parents regarding which disciplinary practices yield results when it comes to forming desirable child behaviours. Today, over 90 per cent of parents agree that violent disciplining is not good for the child. The experience from professional practice and research also confirms its harmfulness. Corporal or psychological punishment harms and humiliates the child, develops mistrust and insecurity, and undesirable behaviours are often repeated. Because the authority built on fear and violence generates fear and violence that the child transfers into relationships with others, often throughout their entire life.
However, almost half (45 per cent) of children aged 1 to 14 still experience corporal and psychological punishment. Such disciplining methods are most often used with small children who start receiving corporal punishment already at the age of 2 to 3.
Today, we know for sure that there are non-violent alternatives that are more effective and many parents in Serbia are already using them. We encourage all other parents to stop, think, and take a brave new step. Listening to and understanding the child's needs and adopting non-violent parenting practices is the best way to be a positive example for your child for establishing boundaries that are based on understanding, patience, consistency and respect.
GUIDE FOR PARENTS - COUNT TO 5
1 - Provide
It is important to understand the child, their way of thinking and their needs, and for the child to know that we are always there as reliable support. When we create such a relationship of trust, the child will understand and accept the boundaries with much greater ease and adopt the rules as their own and not something imposed on them.
2 - Reconsider
We adopt parenting methods even before we become parents, and this is the foundation that we all start from. In the meantime, we and the world around us are changing, and together with our children, we are facing new and different challenges, and that is why it is important to constantly re-assess how our parenting methods affect our child’s well-being and to improve ourselves as parents while raising our children.
3 - Avoid
As a child develops and learns to manage their feelings, it is common for them to sometimes show resistance, disagreement, and a tendency to defy the rules. Violent disciplining of such behaviours harms the child and the parent-child relationship.
4 - Apply
There are a number of methods that can help us focus, calm or change the child’s behaviour in a way that will be better and more beneficial for both the child and our relationship. Non-violent and constructive solutions are possible and are the best alternative to harmful disciplining.
5 - Seek help
A parent knows their child better than anyone and does what’s best for the child. That is precisely why it is very important to always look for as much quality information, advice and support as possible, because parenting is an important and responsible role, but it is also a job that you have to learn how to do.
Children with disabilities
Disciplining is an integral part of parenting and growing up of every child. When a child has a developmental or physical disability or a health problem, the parenting challenges parents face can be more demanding. Consistency and patience and the family as a team – those are the key strengths in ensuring care for the child, re-assessing, changing and improving parenting practices.
The period of adolescence has its own challenges. As the child grows and changes, the parenting practices of parents also gradually change and “grow”. On that path, it is equally important to understand what adolescents need from their parents, to be aware of the most common parental mistakes, and to be ready to apply the educational strategies that are the most age-appropriate.