Hey Friends of the Blog! I hope that your New Year is going well so far. It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve blogged. I had some computer issues (that’s why some of you are seeing this blog twice) and a bad case of Blogger’s Block. But leave it to the kids to spark up inspiration
A few days ago, my husband and I heard a noise by our bed at 4:45am. It was the 4 year old, trying to plug in his football night light into the outlet by our bed. My husband asked our son, what are you doing? Putting my light on, he said. My husband and I said, No, we don’t want a night light on while we are sleeping. I told him to take the light back into his room and go to sleep. At this point, he starts whining. I want the night light! He’s getting louder and louder. We were trying to quiet him down so that he didn’t wake up the baby boy. I put his head down on the pillow and told him to go to sleep! As his head is on my pillow, he’s whimpering… niiight liiight! I’m not even sure why he brought the night light into our bedroom. He’s not even supposed to be taking anything out of outlets, much less trying to put something in my outlet in the DARK! He usually brings a stuff animal of some sort when he comes into our room. I’m not sure why he needed to come into our room at 4:45am, insisting that we turn on his football night light! UGH!
At this point, I’m sleepy and annoyed with my son. I got up, got some water and went to the restroom.
As I’m in the restroom, I started thinking about me putting his head down on the pillow. I began to think about the difference between parental correction and retaliation. How they can be so close, if the parent does not get control of their emotions. I got up when I felt annoyed. Some people stay in the situation and feel that they can make the child stop doing whatever they are doing by using force. That’s not correction. That’s retaliation.
We are charged by God to discipline and correct (to point in the right way) our children. Not because we don’t love them, but because we do. It is healthy for a child to hear the word, No. A person who does not hear no, as a child turns into an adult that won’t adhere to the word, no as an adult. This can be reckless and dangerous. Someone is likely going to get hurt.
There are debates on whether to spank or not spank. To yell or not to yell. To time out or knock out. Though we have a responsibility to correct, we don’t have a right to abuse. There is a difference. In my opinion, to not discipline your child is also a form of abuse/neglect. It is your responsibility as a parent to shape and train your child. If you don’t do that, it’s neglect. Which is a form of abuse. Here’s the definition of neglect:
The word neglect comes from the Latin verb neglegere, which means “disregarded.” You can neglect to do your chores, meaning fail to do them, but this word is usually reserved for cases when you willingly refuse to care for something appropriately.
I think people neglect to discipline because maybe they were disciplined too harshly as children. And maybe they swore that they would never do “that” to their children. But, what you may have experienced was retaliation, not correction. At the end of correction, you learn what you did; what not to do; and you still feel loved afterward. Corrected… but loved.
If you are feeling angry, annoyed, irritated while you are trying to discipline your child, then if possible, walk away from them for a moment so that you are not about to retaliate. Get clarity of thought. Defuse yourself so that you do not explode your emotions on that child. Think before you speak or spank. If you can’t get away from the situation, let’s say, you are at the store with the kid. Stop, think, defuse yourself, meaning get yourself reasonably calm. Then deal with the situation.
There is no such thing as, I couldn’t help it or it just happened. That’s a crutch so don’t use that excuse again.
I’m taking the time to talk about this because, as I was preparing for this blog, I learned that a child abuse call is made every 10 seconds. Stop and count to 10. A call was just made somewhere to report child abuse. The statistics also said that the United States has one of the worst stats for child abuse. Every day, 4 to 7 children die from child abuse. Please see this link, you may be surprised by these statistics.
If you are an abuser and you want help or if you have been abused, there is help. Please don’t hesitate to call, National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453)
You don’t have to go through this alone. Get help. Don’t keep saying that you are sorry and that it will never happen again. You are likely not a unique case. There are people who are trained to help you get to the root of what causes you to abuse and help you to actually keep your word that it won’t happen again.
It only takes a second to respond to a child with a level of anger or aggression that you never intended. Please remember the following:
STOP- Take a breath; drink some water. Do whatever you need to do. The moment that you feel that annoyed sigh- walk away, if you are able to.
THINK- What did they do? Why did they do it? What’s the best way to correct this situation so that it doesn’t happen again? What do you want your words or actions to accomplish when you speak?
GET CALM- Do Not open your mouth to address the situation or go near that child until you are calm.
NOW LET’S DEAL WITH IT- Sometimes it may be a good talking to. It may be a tap on the hand or spanking the bottom. Maybe it’s time out. Learn your child, find the most effective way to see change with them. I had a friend who used the child’s allowance. If they didn’t do their chores, then they would lose a portion of their allowance. It’s your job as their parent to figure out what motivates them and understand that like you, what motivates them is subject to change.
Our children are not our property to be abuse or mistreated. They are people that we have the responsibility to train to be healthy productive citizens.
Please don’t feel ashamed if you need help. The shame would be needing help and thinking that you don’t and that you can handle this thing on your own.
National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-Child /1-800-422-4453