When new parents come to me, meeting me for the first time at the panel for admission, one of my questions is invariably on knowing how a parent ‘disciplines’ her child. So I ask:
What do you do when you feel your child is completely unmanageable?
Many a times, pop comes up the reply, albeit coyly:
‘Mam,’ what else? Give a good spanking, of course. I am desperate. I don’t know what else I can do at such infuriating behavior. I am always quick to admonish them, saying, ‘I’m sure there are many others ways you could employ at such testing moments.’ Your child can teach you through many instances, to help you learn to weild the magic wand of patience and tolerance.
To think that the best way to enforce discipline on my child is by sheer usage of the rod is blasphemous. Think again. Think over and over again and replay your past experiences. Have you felt that the adage ‘once bitten twice shy’ works with punishment – never so. Just look back. Have you ever let out a sign of relief and thanked yourself for the act of punishing your child? Never.
One: Because you are only left with a lot of remorse and feelings of guilt after an episode of punishment is over – shattering you as well as your child, not to mention the people who witnessed it.
Second: You will be shocked to see the same behavior displayed by the child just after a few hours or sometimes days. It may lead you to think, ‘See, only last night I gave him such a sound spanking and how dare he do the same thing today’. What a futile effort at disciplining!
Yes, indeed, disciplining a child by harsh physical punishments is a futile effort, a vain attempt.
The reason is: The consequences of beating are far worse than you may have been led to believe in say, YOUR OWN childhood.
The consequences of beating up your child are very grave, very dangerous and very disastrous too.
The first thing I would say is punishment by spanking could be a dangerous affair, followed by a traumatic aftermath experienced by the child – both physically and mentally. We do not know that in a fit of fury, one takes up an erroneous and enormous amount of energy into oneself. Gripped by this disastrous power, we literally become blind with rage. Result: Danger looming large in your child’s eye.
We hardly know that there are positive ways (very many) of relating with our child’s misbehavior. This is because, from our own childhood, we have seen parenting as a power struggle. Our parents have used the very same technique: Beating, spanking, hitting, physically abusing using rods, scales or sticks, even. We believe that the only one-stop-one-shop panacea for indiscipline is beauty the child. The simple fact is that we are ignorant; ignorant of alternative ways of healthy ways of correcting a child when she goes/behaves inappropriately. Thus the frequency of such occurrences is steadily on the rise and this could do nothing but serious damage to the child’s emotional fulfillment. The child is thus subjected to mental trauma and physical pain.
One another thing we must know is that a child cannot express his anger and frustration as well as we can. So after a severe beauty, the anger and frustration are actually bottled up and keep festering within the child. In course of time, ‘A Poison Tree’ – a hatred root is slowly growing within the child. One day, child grows up, old enough and strong enough to ‘repay’ the parent what was ‘given’ earlier. Punishment may seem to present ‘good behavior’ in the early years but definitely at a high price which is claimed back in adolescence and adulthood by the child.
An angry teenager who was game to intensive punishments at home may grow into an insensitive adult, who does not hesitate to beat up someone who is powerless or less powerful than him. This could be the cause for growing violence in society and a lack of tolerance among youngsters.
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