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Friday, October 26, 2007

A Stick In Time

I was told to keep a stick handy, to be used by hubby & me only to discipline the kids.
While I really do not appreciate the use of stick, the faulty logic surprised me. The entire day we are not at home so the kids get disciplined only when we are present. Rest of the time, can they cross the boundries?
Physical punishment will leave its mark on the impressionable minds. I don't want their memories be marred with episodes of punishment involving the stick and their parents.
To me discipline is a round-the clock thing. I can't be discilpined in the morning and indisciplined by nightfall. It is something that is inbuilt and instilled as a part of the system. Needs patience and anyone in contact with the child should ensure that the interaction is within the limits of acceptable disciplined behavior.
When I think of those times when I lose control and scream on the kids or give them a smack, I feel it is done more out of frustration than anger at the kids. Frustration at being unable to control and reason out with them. It is my failure than the kids' failure that causes me to attack by words or hand.
The stick does not matter as much as the association and the accompanied expectation of instilling fear in the child. Why should a child be taught to be scared of his parents. If he cannot open up to his own parents, he will find a confidante outside the home and the advice may not be really inline with the family's sentiments and rules. I have nothing against external confidantes but i would like it if my kids are close to atleast my husband or me when they want to discuss their problems. I would like my kids to be fearless and be able to expect a fair hearing on every interaction from us rather than use external props to force us to go by their line of thought.

Weekend Fodder
1. So what do the parents say? Spare the rod? Or otherwise? Why?
2. Can one just keep a cane and use it on rare occassions even if it is not a regular feature? Old school of thought was to use it- both at home and school but today authorities view it very strongly. By just keeping a disciplinary tool handy are we insulting the kids and affecting them wrongly?
3. If there is any expert out there reading my post- Does beating/ caning cause psychological damage, insecurity, low confidence levels/ self esteem in the adult?


Shobana said...

1. I think it is ok to smack them sometimes and not at every chance that the parent gets. As you said, it is more out of frustration than a way of disciplining the child. Whatever method works for the parent, but within limits.

2. A home is not a circus training ring is it? Nowadays, schools are prohibited from hitting children, so why should it be different at home with the parents? TO me it just means that the parent is a tyrant more than a loving figure. If u read the note on Tharini's post where she wrote abt Winkie scribbbling and utbtkid's advice, it seems fair to not yell and jump around the kid, but to be patient with them and teaching them the right way whocj will yield better and positive results. I am all against the cane even if it is just to instill fear.

3. Out of personal experience, I got smacked and beaten by my dad when I was a child for being naughty and to this day, I remember it vividly. This just made me a rebel. I think it can go either way - timid or rebel depending on the child. Also I think it does cause insecurity and trust issues as I have seen in myself. I mean if you can't trust your parent for being there for you at times of rigour, who else can u trust? It definetly does put a child in a sensitive spot...I love my dad, but at the same time, I kind of have that distance even till date.

So though, I do smack Thambi adn yell at him sometime when I am dead tired, I know it is wrong and keeping that in mind, I try to be patient with him and being there for him and pointing out gently what he did....he is only a yr there is a long way to go before he catch on to my way of correcting him. Nice topic!

Sue said...

I don't think it's realistic to expect to bring a child up without any corporal punishment whatsoever. We are not saints -- and more to the point, nor are our children!

But there's a huge difference between a smack on the butt administered as punishment/deterrent and a smack on the butt given out of anger. If we as parents can maintain sight of this difference, I don't think the occasional smack will do our children any lasting damage.

Hip Grandma said...

an occasional smack cannot be that harmful and we have been treated with one when we have been exceptionally naughty.Usuallychildren understand this and bear no grudge,so don't fret abt. it.BTW noticed a mention in about you and Karmic kids The Telegraph in an article on mommy bloggers.Congrats.Also letting you know that your tag has been done.

Suki said...

Agree with the above.

I'll add that I dislike use of fear as a disciplinary tool. Repression never works, things just manifest themselves in different ways.

artnavy said...

my 2 bit-
a smack very rarely if deserved is ok( never because we are being impatient / angry)

I would not recco the stick at all-for the same reasons that you state- you do not want to send conflicting signals to them or make them afraid of you

congrats on the telegraph feature

Itchingtowrite said...

shobhana- that was really comprehensive- from both your perspective and experience point of view.
Atleast today's parents agree on this issue of not having that proverbial rod to intimidate children.
The other day i gave Ojas a smack for pooping on the floor and instead of feeling bad about it, he was saying "aay, kakka" to Tejas and smacking him, in an uncanny imitation of mine! really the smack did not work

Collection Of Stars said...

I would never go for the stick and as for a smack - I have personally seen with KT that it makes no difference. She actually imitates us and smacks others because she really does not understand.
It works better for me if I actually sit and explain things to her softly - voila...she is better behaved then.