Infant discipline is one of the aspects of infant care that has caught the attention of many researchers, psychologists and writers. Different tips as to the proper rearing and taking care of a child from their infancy thus circulated as early as in the 1940s (Vincent, 1951).With the onset of psychoanalysis and other theories in the field of psychology, many psychologists wrote about the relationship between specific nursing disciplines and their psychological impact on a child (Vincent, 1951).
More specifically, the stages of infancy and early childhood are seen as critical phases in the formation of a child’s personality (Vincent, 1951).Thus, it is believed that proper discipline from infancy and early childhood could lead to the rearing of people who are morally superior to the present generation (Vincent, 1951). However, in the early 1950s, these theories could not look at any empirical basis for support, and they rested on shaky ground (Vincent, 1951).More than forty years later, the literature on the subject has increased significantly, and the advantages and issues relating to infant discipline had been more investigated on by various researchers and psychologists.Infancy and early childhood are seen as advantageous starting ground to discipline a child (Larzelere, Amberson, & Martin, 1992). The relevant factors and effects at play on the matter of child discipline vary depending on the age of the child (Larzelere, Amberson, & Martin, 1992).
Encounters that allow for parents’ exercise of disciplining authority are considered as critical incidents for social-emotional development (Larzelere, Amberson, & Martin, 1992).These incidents allow parents to observe whether their child would comply with their exercise of disciplining authority (Larzelere, Amberson, & Martin, 1992). In the affirmative, they can be assured of a normally developing child development, because compliance is held to be “an important characteristic of optimal development (Larzelere, Amberson, & Martin, 1992).”However, despite the perceived advantage of exercising disciplining authority by parents in the early stages of development of a child, parents must be careful to strike a balance between controlling the child’s behavior and allowing him to grab a sense of his developing autonomy (Larzelere, Amberson, & Martin, 1992).
Infant discipline, when practiced carefully and with full awareness of the child’s needs, could give the parents a head start in making sure that their child conforms to moral norms established in society (Larzelere, Amberson, & Martin, 1992).Moreover, the response of infants or toddlers in discipline encounters could give the parents a clue of possible emotional instability or family characteristics that may have been acquired by the child (Larzelere, Amberson, & Martin, 1992).In sum, disciplining infants is a practice long recognized by society and the psychological field (Vincent, 1951). It offers many advantages for parents who are concerned about the normal development of their child (Larzelere, Amberson, & Martin, 1992).However, parents must be cautious in striking a balance between imposing discipline and allowing autonomy, due to the significance of this stage in a child’s social-emotional development (Larzelere, Amberson, & Martin, 1992).ReferencesLarzelere, R.
E., Amberson, T. G. & Martin, J.
A. (1992). Age Differences in Perceived Discipline Problems from 9 to 48 Months. [Electronic version]. Family Relations 41(2), 192-199.
Vincent, C. E. (1951). Trends in Infant Care Ideas. [Electronic version].
Child Development 22(3), 199-209.