Parenting children – Spanking or not Spanking?

22 Feb

How difficult is parenting a child? I am sure many of us ask ourselves the question as we go along the aisles of the supermarkets, or pick up our kids after school. There are no parenting schools, and no “Parenting University” graduation. Yet, we are all able, even without qualification, to embark on the parenting journey, caramba!

My friend admitted having a “light” hand with her children. This kind of affirmation is usually followed by nods, and smiles… and maybe one other parent admitting to lacking patience “at times” and reverting to her Neanderthal-self. The conversation then dies as everyone reminisces past experiences of either hitting a child or being hit as a child.

As I listened to my friend today, I wondered… what would I say? I am an educator, a firm believer that no one, not even the person who gave him life, should raise a hand towards a child. But I do not want to loose my friends by sounding off everytime we exchange parenting anecdotes. So I decided to write about it.

Loosing temper with a child is an easy thing to do. After all, go and spend an entire day in the company of a little human being who looses her cool every hour and you’ll see that this is as easy as counting one, two, three. Then, go and loose your temper (just like a 2 year old would, but with words) only to be faced with a puzzled pair of eyes and… yes! more tantrums, more lack of cooperation. What then?

I used to start my parenting classes with a sentence: “All parents on  day or another feels like throwing their child out the window… bad parents do it.”
This was meant to break the eternal frustration of fulfilling the myth of “The Perfect Parent.” I added a pinch of French humour and expected everyone to laugh and sigh.
No one usually did. All the parents who had signed up for the class came with a battalion of dreams and ideals and my first sentences made them all explode in their heads. I am pretty sure some of them even hated me after that.

But, really, let’s face it… E-ve-ry parent is bound to experience that crazy feeling of wanting to physically hurt someone, that someone who is piercing through their eardrum, does not want to listen to reason… What can a loving parent do? How can any law abiding parent find a civilized way to control the temper of the child whose love is now put in question in front of their bewildered eyes?
This is the million-dollar question, isn’t it? And I have the answer, and you are lucky because I will give you the answer and you can use it!
The advise you are about to read are like medicine for falling hair… it only works if you use it!

Rather than asking the question if spanking is ok or not, or how to control that little child’s mood, I would advise anyone to follow a Chinese proverb: “in order to control it, stop it before it happens.”

Baby step number one for today:

Don’t focus on the child, focus on the situation. Assess if the time of the day or the circumstances are the factor contributing to the tension.
Is it close to naptime? Has your child had a stressful day? Did you change something to the normal routine?
If you answer yes to one of these questions, ease up, things are bound to get wild. So, don’t voice any dramatic request (“you will clean up your room immediately!” or… “you will immediately say sorry for throwing that toy” etc.).

Don’t wake up the beast! Instead hug the little child who is lost and does not understand anything anymore!

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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Parenting


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