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Discipline has been wrongly applied by previous generations. Today, many households have “mini-democracies” where a child’s voice or opinion is equal to those of his/her parents. In some families, the child’s voice even takes over. In other families, certain parents will even fully sacrifice his or her own needs to make their child happy.

Although it’s extremely important for children’s emotions to be heard, a parent still needs to be in charge to create a secure and stable environment for their children. Parents are responsible for setting boundaries in the household, in order to foster an environment where their children can be heard, but also encouraged to develop patience and self-awareness.

Discipline is necessary to help children to understand the rules of society and to learn how to maintain themselves according to these rules. When children have rules they know where they stand. Without rules would there are no predictability.  Discipline is not a punishment but rather a correction of your child’s behaviour.

There are three key results that children with boundaries learn:

A sense of self

Children need to know that their thoughts, feelings and choices are theirs, so they can take responsibility for them. That is why over-compliant children, whose only concern is pleasing their parents, often struggle greatly in their adult relationships. Help your child to understand their emotions.


Children are by nature impulsive and controlled by their whims. Parents who set boundaries for their children also teach them to control their impulses and focus on what needs to be done, such as homework and chores.

Strong relationships

Children will test boundaries.  They, however, need to know what the consequences would be if they violate a boundary. The relationship of parents with their children should be strong so that the child can understand what the consequences will be and also why there will be consequences if they brake the rule. Boundaries teach children how to form appropriate relationships with their peers and to choose the right friends.

Free State Care in Action supports parents by teaching them the skill of setting boundaries and positive discipline.  Parental Guidance is being rendered by social workers through individual sessions, group work and through prevention programmes offered in communities. For more information contact Free State Care in Action on 051-4446143.