Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
By Shannae Trotz
Many families have adopted the “Spare the rod and spoiled the child” narrative, so instead of sitting down and communicating with their child/children when they’ve displayed an unacceptable behaviour, they try to whip it out of them so they can stop. Our elders often say “We beat you because we love you”…. I’ve heard this line before in a different scenario, one where a young woman was being abused by her boyfriend and she boldly said “If he doesn’t beat you, he doesn’t love you.” Is there a correlation? I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
Moreover, as children grow there may be a need for a shift in parental approaches. Every child is different, so it is important that you parent a child using methods that do less harm, but are effective enough. Now the question is “How effective is scolding a child?” Parents beat their children with the intention of disciplining them, but do these children learn or are they just fearful of the repercussions? Mind you children between the ages of 2-12 are more prone to receiving a thrashing, they are often energetic and adventurous, this would result in them making mistakes like breaking a plate, window or some vase. These actions are seen as bad, but are these children really behaving badly or are they just normal children making humanly mistakes? Why are we scolding children for being children? Why are we scolding them for making the same mistakes we did and probably still do? Who scold adults when they make mistakes? No one? So what’s the purpose of whipping a child for the same mistakes?
Often times, when children are being accused of behaving in an “unmannerly” way and they are in the moment of justifying their actions they are told to shut up and that “talking back” or “back chatting” is a sign of disrespect so these children are often silenced at an early age, their feelings are belittled and they have accepted that their parents/elders are always right, leaving absolutely no room for critical thinking. There is no harm in creating a healthy friendship, bond and dialogue with your child. If you scold them for the simple mistakes they make and silence them for speaking up, what will happen when they grow older and are exposed to dangerous situations you may not be aware of?
Parents are quick to aggressively shout and raise the rod instead of politely asking for answers they seek from their children. Here’s a typical example; “DID YOU PUSH THAT BOY DOWN! “N-no-nooo mommy I-I-I didn’t p-push him down” “DON’T TALK BACK TO ME” then the parent proceeds to whip the complexion off their child. In the parent’s mind she did the right thing by scolding her son, so he won’t go about pushing down/bullying other children. The boy however lied, you know why he lied? Not because he was disobedient, he lied to avoid being scolded, because all he probably did was defend himself from the boy he pushed down, or maybe they were playing rough and the boy accidentally got injured, I made up this scenario and I don’t even know what exactly happened between the young boys….the point is, the mother’s approach to her son was threatening and because of such he picked a response he thought would’ve done less harm to him, it would not have ended well even if he admitted and said yes, because he never had a chance to speak his side.
How do these experiences impact the parent to child relationship in the future?
Children observe and learn their parents, most times when parents think the “lix” actually worked and curbed the bad behaviour, their children only got better at hiding them. This gives them the impression that their child would never harm a fly, whole time that child is a fly catcher. During the stage of adolescence, these teens are greeted with an overwhelming amount of challenges and experiences that may harm them forever. Who do these youngsters vent to after they made a serious mistake or to seek advice before they do? 1. Their parent who always scolded them for not knowing and doing better or 2. A friend that listens first without casting judgement? Peers possess the qualities teens crave for, this includes being understanding, sympathetic, a confidant, companion and a counsellor. Parents are rarely ever a first choice, it all depends on the relationship and experiences they have/had with them. That determines how open their children will be towards them if something bad happened. A lot of parents may not be aware of this but many parents do not know their children, they only know the version of them they moulded, I mean scolded them to be.
Having a friendship with your child does not leave room for disrespect, your child will learn you and you will learn your child. You can establish your boundaries and express the way you feel towards their actions without the need of getting worked up. They will make mistakes, and do things that you may not always agree with, but at the end of the day, they are yours and your responsibility. Healthy dialogue, equals effective parenting. You will never learn new things if you’re the only one speaking, always listen to your children so you won’t have to wonder what went wrong when they’re older.