To hit or not to hit.
…that is my question. See, I am all for disciplining kids. As I have mentioned a couple of times here on my blog, I hate parents who just utter a meek, “Oh bad yan baby…” when their children run amok, wreaking havoc in public places and interrupting adult business. When these things happen, I feel both glad and frustrated it’s not my kid. Glad, because I am not obliged to deal with it. Frustrated, because I CAN’T deal with the rowdy child (oh how I want to!!!)! I consciously remind myself to make sure I raise a disciplined child who won’t be a sociopath or would cause our family to be a pariah in social circles (Come on, admit it! You have blackballed a dear friend for fear that he/she might bring his/her child whose mere presence is synonymous to disaster!) Thus I am all for disciplining. And if it means I have to spank my child, then so be it.
My husband, who, like Raviv’s Yaya Isay, believes that Raviv is the epitome of a perfect child, is against it. Raviv’s pedia also frowns upon it. Ditto with other blogger moms: they don’t believe in hitting/spanking. Honestly, I used to think they were just softies who do not value the term “tough love”. Because I do. I really do.
And so these past few months, I had been softly hitting Raviv’s hand with my hand whenever he tinkered with electric plugs and trash cans. When he rummaged through the garbage can, I got his hand, spanked it and with an annoyed and loud voice I used to say, “Dirty!” I thought I was really doing the right thing, until these incidents.
One day, I sensed that Raviv was about to rummage through the trash can in our bedroom. I got the trash can and put it away, and then Raviv came to me, got my hand, spanked it and said, “Duh-tee!” And then moved away. I couldn’t move or speak for some seconds. Then I started having second thought about spanking.
Then about a week ago, Raviv kept on refusing from wearing his slippers. I was very tenacious on making him wear it. When I show him I’m mad that he does not wear his slippers, he would just laugh and kiss me. I told myself not to give in to his carinyos. And then when my patience wore off, I got my slipper and whacked it into his thigh. He rubbed it and continued to be cheerful, and then I whacked it again, this time a lot harder. Then he cried while rubbing his thigh, and hugged me, burying his head on my shoulder while sobbing. Thinking about it now, I still get teary-eyed. He knew it was I who hurt him yet he still came to me for comfort. My heart crumbled–again, another Now That I’m Already A Mom, Gets Ko Na! moment. Raviv, I am sorry anak!
Now I am in a pickle: how do I discipline my child? Raviv has shown me that if I spank him when he does something “bad”, he will also do it to others! And, you may call me biased but I really think my baby boy is a very good, good-natured boy. I don’t want to ruin that by hurting him. However, I know he’s bound to do things that will be detrimental to him, or things that won’t sit well with us his parents, the laws of the society, and the laws of God. I seriously doubt that “just talking to him” is the panacea.
Then I remembered my exchange of thoughts with Pastor Ernie Aragon of Victory Christian Fellowship Calamba on this blog entry. In a gist, what I got is that children who love, respect, and believe their parents will follow their parents not out of fear of any punishment but out of love and out of fear of hurting their beloved parents.
With that in mind, I tried something: when Raviv does something bad and my voice just gets hoarse from telling him to stop, I cry. And when he sees me cry, he stops whatever he’s doing! He would run to me, and then hug and kiss me. He won’t stop until he knows I am already OK. He hates it when I get hurt.
To illustrate what I’m saying, take a look at these photos:
STORYLINE: I pretended that my finger accidentally got caught between a clothespin, and that I can’t stand the pain (he knows it’s painful because his palm got caught between a clothespin as well), so I was crying.
Raviv looked at me, and got a pained expression on his face, empathizing with me.
And then he decided he had to do something, whatever–to help me alleviate the pain.
And to make sure I really feel better…
See what I mean? Raviv hates it when I get hurt, in the same way that I hate it when he gets hurt. Love begets love. Giving comfort begets being comforted. And sadly, my hitting and hurting Raviv begot me the same things: he also hit me, and I got hurt that I hurt him.
I still do not know what is the best way to straighten up my child when he misbehaves (as he most probably will), but for now, I’ll just make sure I give lots and lots of love and attention. I’ll also stretch my patience for him, and gently teach him what is right and what is wrong. Until he learns to behave, I will avoid bringing him to adult functions as respect for my host/hostess.
PS: Words of wisdom from parents who’ve “been there, done that” are most welcome
Tell me what you think! (pls. tag @momsterteacher so I could get notifications)
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