It is often a very lonely place being a parent that tries to practice ‘gentle/positive parenting’. You often hear co-workers, friends & family talking about how they will or have ‘beat their tail’ or ‘tanned their hide’ or ‘gave them something to cry about’ when discussing the challenging actions of their children.
I’m not here to downplay the fact that children of all ages can be VERY challenging & put our patience to the test but what makes me sad is that it is so widely accepted that we can beat our children & others will not only laugh this off but actually encourage us to continue hitting them! When I have been the one to say that we do not practice that form of discipline in our family I am so often met with comments like ‘you just wait’ or ‘he’s going to run all over you’ or that he will end up spoiled or unruly – essentially saying we are failing him, assuming we have no form of structure or discipline & that he will surly turn out to be an unproductive member of society & have no idea what behavior is considered appropriate or socially acceptable.
What’s so interesting to me about that is when I’m trying to find the place where he would fit in the behavior of hitting being an acceptable form of punishment or sometimes even just disagreement. There is not one single instance in the adult world where it would be praised or encouraged – besides the event of forced self-preservation when a physical attack has been initiated by another person. If a situation was presented to a judge where he was hitting another person who is incapable of defending themselves against my son – that could mean he could be charged with abuse & assault – but only if that other person is over the age of 18 & not his own child. THIS MAKES NO SENSE!
It has just been really shocking to me that I am SO often alone in this way of thinking. How did we get here? How is it ok that we get a pat on the back for hitting our kids (no matter what kind of pretty label you try to put on it) but are mocked for forms of discipline that teach a long lasting lesson of thought, compassion & understanding? Or even worse: trying to actually take the time to understand WHY your child made a decision that resulted in a negative outcome?! HA! You will almost get laughed right out of the room if you said something like that.
The base point here: I’m feeling very lonely in this parenting gig – I feel like my wife & I are alone in this raft & it really hurts.