Do we want our children to grow up as self-assured mature adults? Do we want them to care about others? Do we want them to control their tempers? Please take my advice, don’t hit them! It isn’t necessary to beat a child to make them behave.
It is especially important never to hit a child in anger. We are teaching them to hit others when they are angry. It is also important never to lash out verbally at a child in anger; who is the child here anyway?
Establishing rules, consequences for breaking those rules and enforcing both consistently in a cool mature manner is the best way to parent a child. It is also one of the hardest things we have ever done in our life as well as one of the most rewarding. It is much easier to hit or scream than it is to parent properly.
Recently there is much on the news about an African-American father who has beaten his child who had to be hospitalized (“ Vikings’ Peterson indicted in Texas,” Sept. 13 sports article). Some of the conversation concerns cultural differences in disciplining children. Some people didn’t think this was a bad thing because it was the way they were raised. That may be, but child abuse happens behind closed doors. Believe me, it knows no racial barriers.
I say this from firsthand experience. I am now in my mid-60s and come from a generation where “spankings” were common. However, the “spankings” in our Caucasian household consisted of being punched in the stomach, knocking the breath out of us, flung across the room, kicked while we were on the floor and beaten not only on buttocks but on legs, arms and abdomen. These beatings, most of the time, were for minor infractions such as too much noise or having a messy room and were given with no warnings. My father never hit us in the face and seldom with a belt, but he had been a semi-professional boxer so, believe me, his fists were lethal enough.
The child learns from the behavior of the parent. If we were being beaten, then we must deserve it. There must be something really wrong with us for someone who supposedly loves us to treat us like this. The scars this treatment leaves aren’t just on the body. We now know that abuse by a trusted adult such as a parent often results in what are now defined as personality disorders, resulting in an adult constantly filled with anger (like my dad was).
Eventually I figured out that this was his problem, not mine, but it turns out I am the exception, most people just continue the cycle. Please, Please, Please break this cycle. There are places to go for help in learning how to parent effectively.
We love your children, don’t cripple them physically or emotionally. It takes hard work, but we can do it.
The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response to the issue.