(WARNING: long post)
Shoe, Belt, Wooden Spoon, Broom, Electric Cord all of this has something in common, for me it was one of the few ways discipline was role modeled in my life.
Its one thirty in the am and I have had this pressing thought which is preventing me from sleeping right now. Especially with mothers day coming up I have been reflecting on what kind of mother I want to become and therefore I have decided to write about this topic. Warning this may be a extremely sensitive or controversial topic to some of you out there. I am by no means an expert or the perfect example but wish to share my personal experience as a New Zealand born Tongan on this topic of Spanking.
Some may say well those methods worked for my parents, it worked for me and it will work for my kids. This form fo discipline was used on me until I got to a ripe age of 21 then my parents decided I was old enough to make my own choices. But I CHOOSE to declare and end it with me. I also believe it DID NOT work for me. You may say but Tracy it did work for you, you finished school, got a degree from university, you didn’t add to the statistic of teen pregnancy, polynesian dropouts, and you have never tasted a drop of alcohol!
My parents both role modeled the best and the worst form of discipline. The best discipline was during the times that they didn’t even realize they were teaching me… it was the times when we were calm, sharing thoughts, stories, laughing together we would share our hopes, desires and wishes for the future. They would tell us stories of how hard it was back in their childhood, the little that they had. They would express how they wanted us to be happy, to be successful and be better than they were. We would also see first hand their sacrifices working long nights, several shifts at different jobs to make ends meet. Those were the times when they were really teaching us about love, about hard work, sacrifice, respect, perseverance, and dedication. Their daily mundane examples in their everyday life taught me that I wanted to make them happy, it motivated me to be obedient to them, it motivated me to stay out of trouble so I can accomplish that which they spoke of, and inspired me to try my best. Those lessons could NEVER be learnt during the times I was getting a “hiding” or “spanking” all this caused was resentment, bitterness, anger and frustration.
However I don’t blame my parents fully about the way they disciplined me, at that time they didn’t know any other form of discipline other than that which was remodeled to them. Growing up in NZ I saw many kids who never got a spanking in their life and still ended up being successful in school and in careers. Envious of these kids and their lifestyle I thought to myself how is that possible? Is there really another way… and if there is I want that! So for me I had to retrain my way of thinking and practice a new form of discipline I had never seen remodeled. I have had to start at the beginning and learn it on my own. It’s not easy because my old ways are so ingrained that I tend to fall back on them by default so I have to always catch myself.
Please hear me out… Give me a chance to explain my logic that goes against the grain of the traditional views of my culture… No im not fie palangi… I’m just trying to find a way I know would please my Heavenly Father. I know that I could never see him hitting an innocent child as a teaching method. I also know that he loved the little children so much, and we are raising them so they know of His love and turn to him. Therefore I have compiled a few ideas that I have been learning and pondering about as a new parent.
Firstly know that everything is a cycle! What your child sees you do will just come around! E.G I always saw my mum make my grandma a full on dinner for her breakfast every mother’s day, she would wake up at 5am to cook everything and she would sew her a dress so she could wear to church that sunday. So when I grew up that’s exactly what I wanted to do the same for my mum. We would make her a full on breakfast in bed and I would buy her a new outfit for church. So if your kids see that you hit them to get your point across, they will do likewise. They will do the same to others around them whether it’s their younger siblings or peers at school.
Secondly, understanding your relationship with your child. I do believe in respecting your elders but not only elders we respect everyone. Everyone deserves to be treated respectfully irrespective of color age gender or race! To receive respect you give respect. My parents believed in the idea that because I am older than you I am the boss of you and you listen to everything I say. I am right all the time and what you have to say is inferior to my view. But that needs to stop! If you give your child respect you will receive respect. I remember one day I didn’t want to do Karate no more because my aunt had told me its not good because its based on the dragon and the dragon is the devil and so that was bad. I was about 9years old and I plucked up the courage to confront my parents not to take me to karate. They didn’t listen to me but because I was persistent I convinced my brother and sister that we all needed to go to our parents to tell them we all wanted to quit. Reluctantly my parents agreed as they saw how persistent we were on this choice and were bitter towards my aunt about her theory. But I am so grateful that they respected the wishes of a 9year old and listened to my concerns and accepted my decision although they had already paid for 10weeks of lessons. Respect can not be forced it needs to earned. This principle applies to whether you are 1 or 101 years old. Treat your child as a equal, make them feel important and what they say matters because they will give that back to you.
Thirdly, Two Way Communication. This links in with the previous point. Because they are a child it doesn’t mean that you talk and they listen. It’s not your way or the highway. Communicate that there are boundaries, there are consequences to their actions, also communicate of your love. Keep the communication lines open, help your child know they can come to you and you are never to busy when they need to talk. If you are there for them in the small things they will be able to trust you with the bigger things.
Lastly, We need to see the bigger picture. These children are on loan to us from our Heavenly Father. They are His children and our job is to nurture and love them as He would, so they can return back to Him. If we know our role and follow the Holy Spirit we will be guided to know their individual needs. The Spirit is the real teacher and the best teacher. The Spirit will help us if we are open to it, therefore keep your home a place which will allow the Spirit to be present, without anger, yelling, or force. So if ever you’re in doubt, think to yourself, “What would Jesus do?”
3.30am Feeling liberated… Changing for the better
Have you or somebody you know overcome this cycle? And how did they do it? Share comment below!