I do not believe my parents loved me any less, nor that they were abusive monsters. I love and respect my parents, and not because they hit me (I hate the horrible meme that goes around saying “I learnt respect because I was smacked/hit as a child” what a load of horse-poo) but because they are good people who did the best they can, and I imagine this is how they themselves were parented.
I can’t understand how in this day and age, we still think the best method to teach our children right from wrong is to physically hurt them. Its 2015! Surely we have learnt far better and more effective methods of teaching and disciplining a child then hurting them?
Hitting a person does not teach them to respect you, it teaches them to fear you. Plus, guess what? You just HIT A CHILD. How does that make you feel deep down? I bet it makes you feel sick. There are laws against hurting animals, there are laws against hurting another adult… But a child? A tiny child whose brain and body is not fully formed yet? Who has no one else in the world to speak for them, who relies wholly and solely on YOU to love and fight for them? And a child who cannot PROTECT itself. Because that’s YOUR JOB. But what do we do? We strike them. With a hand, with a belt, with a wooden spoon. But you know, it’s good for them.
Makes sense huhh?
I can rarely remember a time when my parents hit me and it wasn’t from pure rage and frustration. And my parents will tell you I was not an easy child. I probably wasn’t. I don’t BLAME them, not at all, but the point is, it taught me nothing. Except fear and distrust. And, naturally, I was in physical pain, from being struck. There is also an element of shame the victim feels when being hit, let’s not forget that.
There are days when I am frustrated with my toddler, and if I gave into learned behavior I would ‘smack’ him in those moments — and don’t think I haven’t been tempted to. But if I hit him, it wouldn’t be for ‘his own good’, it would be because I am angry with him. What does that teach him? To hit someone when you are angry with them? To hit someone when they have done wrong by you? Everyone is saying look at young people today! It’s a disgrace
Doesn’t that give us more reason to teach our children compassion, patience, to learn to control anger and tantrums in a peaceful way? To expel the anger and frustration in a safe environment? Instead of in the middle of a tantrum or an act of disobedience we strike them?
Imagine this, I come home from work and my husband has left the house a mess, there is no dinner and I’m exhausted so I get angry and act like a jerk. Hell, just imagine he did none of that and I was being a jerk anyway, so then my husband says to me “that’s bad behavior”! And strikes me, because you know, “It’s good for me”. It will teach me not to do it next time.
Yep. I bet we can hear the crickets right now. Not so easy to justify is it?
I can say, from our experience (and I understand that every child learns differently) that for us, our son learns from example. The respect and love we show him and each other, the way we speak to our son is the same way we ourselves, would like to be spoken to. The behavior we try to reflect is the behavior we want him to emulate. That when I am upset or angry — I need some time alone to calm down and think properly, so this is what I do with our son. I give him time alone. I give him the chance to do the right thing, and if he doesn’t there are consequences, and trust me — our son knows his boundaries, he is by no means a spoilt brat. It’s hard work sometimes. Although not giving into the urge to physically punish him is hard, it’s still better then raising my hand and watching the fear on my sons face while I strike him “for his own good”.
My husband is less inclined to explain why we decide to parent this way, instead he stated (after a discussion on parenting methods with some people who did not agree with us) that should anyone hurt or hit our son, that they themselves can expect the same treatment. From him. Trent then crossed his arms across considerably large his chest, with a defiant look on his face. No one said anything of course, all you could hear was the darn crickets again. Gee Trent, maybe not QUITE the way we wanted to get our point across — but I think they got the message. No one hurts our son, especially not the people who love him, and whom he relies on to protect him.
Its 2015 people, surely we can do it better.