Okay I get that everyone has the ‘right’ to raise their children as they see fit. I also get that not everyone agrees on every issue. I also understand that there are different methods that work AND there are different methods that do NOT work. But here’s the thing. you will never convince me that physical violence against children ‘works’. I understand that people do not believe that “a little tap on the bum’ isn’t the same as whacking your kids with a belt but I’m sick and tired of people defending physically hurting someone with little to no power to defend themselves under the guise of discipline. The only people who win in that fight are the over tired, over strained parent. Do I really believe that a little tap on the fingers will forever damage a child? No. I just think it’s wrong. I think it’s the wrong message to send to a child that if you are bigger and in charge you can do what you want to another human being physically. Do you really want to teach your daughters that if someone is bigger they get to hit you? Do you really want to teach your sons that if you don’t get your way just hit someone? If a man said “I told my wife over and over NOT to burn my toast, and she just keeps doing it so I smacked her. I mean it wasn’t hard, just enough so she knows I mean business”. Dear lord we would go INSANE. But say the same thing about little Johnny and his inability to listen and it’s a-ok. WHY? Is Johnny less of a person than the MOM? Well to be fair, that was exactly what men said about their wives just a couple of generations ago….
And no matter how many times I hear someone casually mention how they ‘spank’ their kids, it still hurts my heart. Not for them really, cause I’m sure they think they are doing the right thing…but for the loss of what could have been. I picture a little toddler staring up at the mother who kisses his booboos, terrified of her hand coming down and hitting his leg. Not understanding WHY? Why is my mommy hurting me. It pains me for the girl who is already struggling to fit in with her friends coming home to the place she’s supposed to feel safe and getting slapped for ‘talking back’. I just don’t get the logic. I’ve never wanted my kids to fear me. I’ve always thought that we are partners in this life. I’m here to guide them into adulthood. It’s my honor to do so. I’m the one with the life experience, I’m the adult. So it’s up to me to model the behaviour I want them to follow. I don’t want them to be subjected to bullies on the playground, so why would I be a bully at home. The definition of bully….
noun – a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.
verb – use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.
As SOON as I start talking about not hitting my kids someone always brings up that kids who aren’t ‘spanked’ have no discipline. I have THREE wonderful kids. They have never been hit in their lives. They also have a very strict mother. I have high standards that I expect my children to live up to….and they do. Every day. Do my kids back talk? Of course they do…they are learning to stand their ground. They are learning to negotiate for what they want. They are learning when things don’t go their way they need to voice their displeasure at the situation. They are also learning that the MUST do that in a respectful manner. If they chose to be disrespectful to me, the conversation is over. That I’m not willing to engage in conversations that aren’t mutually respectful. I don’t talk over them, and they don’t talk over me. If I haven’t listened to them, they will point that out to me, and because I believe that neither of us is “above” the other, if they are right in a disagreement, I tell them that. If I’ve messed up, I will apologize, and I expect the same in return. And there are punishments for repeat behaviours. My middle kid would HAPPILY inform you of the many varied and horrible punishments that she has had to endure. Granted they were mutually agreed upon prior and SHE is usually the one to come up with them…but whatevs. My kids are sweet, intelligent, witty people who can be annoying little shits. I get frustrated with them just like every body does. There have been times when I wanted to just haul off and hit one or more of them but I don’t. Just like I don’t hit my boss when he says something I don’t like or I don’t backhand my mother for a snarky comment. Cause you know….it’s NOT what a mature, respectful ADULT does.
I just wish that more people were open to the idea that the little life that you are lucky enough to be guiding to adulthood is able to get there without the constant threat that if you mess up, you get smacked. I mean you might get the reasoned explanation but you know…you’ll still get smacked. Don’t worry, they have a great reason why they are hitting you, and most times THEY were hit too so you know, that has to be reason enough for it to be okay. Sigh.