I find it really interesting that people are so outraged that it’s against the law to hit your children at home. In fact, it boggles my mind that anyone could be so ignorant as to think that smacking your child sends them a good example of how to correct behaviour.
South Africa is a country filled with anger with those angry emotions being meted out on each other at an alarming rate. One just has to see how many women are beaten by their partners on a daily basis and the statistics in this country are enough to scare anyone!
Surely common sense tells us that if we bring our children up to believe that in order to impose your will on someone, a good smack is all that they need? Where does this barbaric behaviour come from? When we force ourselves physically on someone who requires of us that we are their soft place to fall, what message are we sending them? On the one hand, we’re say to them I love you and I will protect you always, but on the other hand, we’re telling them that if they don’t do what we want, we will physically hurt them?
Going through some of the social media posts during this last week, I have been particularly saddened to see people quoting excerpts from the bible in support of their decision to administer corporal punishment to their children. I watched a Dr Phil show just the other day and he says that we have a ‘Why Lie’. A ‘why lie’ is the lie that we tell ourselves in order to make ourselves feel good about doing something that we inherently know is wrong. And people use this ‘why lie’ all the time. Scary how we can lie to ourselves in order to justify our decisions and in order to justify our actions so that we don’t have to dig a little deeper and find ourselves being imperfect and take action to correct it!
As I’m writing this article, I’m thinking to myself that I sound a little harsh and judgemental, but I don’t apologise for my outrage. Having been on the receiving end of physical punishment to the extreme, I just have no time for anyone who can believe that what they are doing is in the best interest of their children.
We as adults, need to be sorely aware of how what we do affects others around us, particularly those who are younger than us and who look up to us. Our actions speak much louder than words and our children emulate our behaviours whether we like it or not. My father always used to say, do as I say, don’t do what I do. Wow, what a cop out!
The most influential person in your child’s life is the same sex parent. Be aware of this and conduct yourself in a manner in which you want to see your same sex child conduct themselves, now and into their future. As fathers, we need to teach our daughters that accepting being treated badly by our partners is just unacceptable, no excuses required. And we do this through treating our spouse with love and respect and certainly not through physical violence to get what we want. And as mothers, we teach our sons that their connection to their spouse can be a beautiful one where you both meet on the same level, with no expectation of subservience at all.
We have to know that when we physically hurt our children, we change who they are. There is nothing more belittling and demeaning than hitting your child. And why would you want to do that? Show them that you love them and discipline through measures that will make them understand that they have made an error in judgement and that there are consequences to their choices and behaviours but not that the consequences is physical pain.