too much to handle…..

Just so you’re prepared, I’m probably going to step on some toes and anger some of my readers but that’s a chance I’m going to have to take.

This morning, Laura and I were sitting in the pharmacy waiting for a prescription to be filled.  There was a mother with her two young sons sitting near us.  The little boys were not sitting still but they were not being bad either.  The main problem was they were sharing a chair and couldn’t keep their hands to themselves.  Completely understandable for two boys under the age of 5.  Honestly that’s understandable for boys of any age!  I could tell from their mother’s expression that she had run out of patience before she got out of bed this morning.  I can commiserate.  We’ve all had days like that.  Unfortunately her patience meter was not just running low, it was into negative numbers.  When one of the boys poked the other for the fiftieth time she announced that she would “yank off this belt and tear your butt up.”  Of course this got a reaction.  She was neither kidding nor exaggerating.  I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had followed through right then and there.  The boys sat straight up and didn’t dare breathe.  The reaction from Laura was visceral.  She hid her face in my chest and clung to me with all of her might.  She might not have understood the woman’s words but she understood her tone.  Her message was loud and clear.  It was also clear that those boys knew exactly what she meant.

We had a similar experience just after moving here.  We did not have our washer and dryer hooked up yet so I loaded up baskets of dirty clothes and headed to the laundromat with the girls.  A woman there gave her little boy a spanking that I will never forget right there in the middle of the laundromat.  It was horrible.  This little boy was only about 15 months old.  He had no idea what was happening.  Laura had a reaction similar to the one she had this morning.  She was truly afraid.  Abigail and Hattie couldn’t figure out what was happening and I was without an explanation.  I got my children out of there as fast as I could.

In both cases all that was needed was a little redirection.  The baby boy in the laundromat needed a nap.  Or a little book or toy.  Or a walk around the store.   The boys in the pharmacy needed to be separated.  There was no need in either case to threaten or mistreat.  I was so very sad for those boys…and for their mothers.  I also felt like we were intruding even though we were in a public place.  It seemed like we were watching something that no one is supposed to see…like looking at a car wreck.

I have no problem with discipline.  Sometimes we need more in our house.  Other times I feel like I’m too hard on the girls.  We try to find a balance.  There are times when we’re not patient enough and one or both of us loses our temper.  I can safely say that I’ve never had the thought to hurt my child to “teach a lesson”.  In neither case I mentioned above was this discipline.  This was severe punishment for minor offenses.

I know that spanking was used as the fundamental method of discipline for many years.  Some people still choose that as their primary discipline.  We spank on the rarest of occasions and when we do it is a mild pop on the behind that is meant to send a message, not to leave a physical or emotional scar.  I know that many people were raised differently than I was and that they have chosen to raise their children differently than we have.  I have no issue with that.  But harming, humiliating or terrorizing your child is never justified.  The boy at the laundromat was legitimately afraid.  You could see it in his little round face.

This is a touchy subject but there is a solution for every situation.  Each family is different and each dynamic requires an individual plan.  Discipline requires consistency and patience, limits and boundaries, truth and consequences.  It also requires love and acceptance, forgiveness and praise.  Children have to know what they have done right as well as what they have done wrong.

I try my hardest not to judge people.  Especially those I don’t know.  You never know what the back story might be.   In some occasions I cannot help myself.  My brain sees something and immediately forms an opinion.  It’s up to me to decipher the information and come up with a fair point of view.  I’m sure that these little boys are not thrashed every waking hour of their lives.  I hope they are shown love and affection.  I do know that if my girls ever cowered in fear of me, I would be devastated.

As parents, we are responsible for molding our children in thought, word and deed.  We are supposed to support them and make them feel secure.  It is not an easy task.  It is endless and exhausting.  Children have the job of making us into better parents.  They are responsible for testing us and for pushing our boundaries until the right spot is found for the family fence.  In return for challenging us, children teach us about unconditional love and finding happiness in the simplest of things.  Their part of the bargain is not always easy either.  We parents are stubborn and convinced that we are always right.  (we’re not!)

After all I have said I want to add that I don’t think my views are better than anyone else’s.  They are just MY views.  They do not belong to my parents, my brothers, you or my friends.  They are just my thoughts and opinions.  I am not trying to tell anyone how they should run their life or discipline their children.  I am merely putting my own view of the world out there.  That is the point of this blog.

I am also not a perfect parent.  Far from it.  I lose my temper.  I let things slide that should be dealt with.  I don’t always clean up the mess I just made.  I procrastinate.  I don’t always put the needs of others before my own trivial wants.  I’m human.  So are you.

I love my daughters with all of my being.  Robert and I are so lucky to have them in our life.  I hope that they are confident in their parents and know just how much we love them.  After all, that is the most important part…..

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply