I. Am. A. Yeller. That’s right i am one of those mums who do yell. My poor kid, right? All, well, most “experts” say yell at your kid and you destory their self esteem. I yell not with that intention; i don’t think any parent (ok 99.9%) would yell with the intention of emotionally destroying their kid; but I am one of those really expressive people and keeping it all in is just so difficult. But i am learning.
Not only do i yell, i also smack my kid. i can just hear the chorus sucking in their collective breath in horror. Yes, i believe that if you spare the rod, you spoil the child. Of course, there is no need to raise your hand for every time your kid steps out of line. But there are some situations where a clear message really needs to be sent, such as lying, taking other people’s things, dangerous situations like playing with fire.
‘Don’t you feel guilty for making the child feel so bad?’, the chorus asks. Yes i do, lots of the time. But then i think is yelling all that horrible? i got yelled at, caned, smacked and look how I turned out – not perfect; i have great flaws but i would not attribute them to my parents’ method of discipline.
At a recent birthday party we attended, the talk around the table came to the issue of discipline and what was allowed these days. i was surprised to learn in certain countries, if you so much as smack your child on the hand in public, you could be arrested for abusing your kid, if someone chose to report you. i think that’s a bit much. Kids need boundaries and sometimes it takes a smack on the hand to get the message across. So what if the laws of the country say, you can only teach your child using talk. What if the laws of the country say, you would be put in jail when you decide that raising your voice to your kid is appropriate for a given situation. The results? Parents who are afraid to discipline, who do not effectively use talk-discipline and kids with no boundaries. The parents who spoke with us at the party did not expressively say they were against smacking, we were simply discussing what was allowed by law.
That brings me back to the sermon i heard the Sunday after the above discussion. It was about the Ten Commandments; the rules of God gave us to allow us to live a good life. And of course discipline was part of all that. God disciplines us for our own good. He’s not a party pooper. He helps to keep us on the path heavenward – that’s why He gave us rules as well as the consequences of not following them.
Proverbs 3:12 …because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
Hebrews 12:10 …They (fathers/parents) disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.
So discipline is what God sees as a necessary way for us to learn what is best for us in life. And it is also part and parcel of being a parent. How you discipline is really up to you. i do not think that there is any one foolproof method of discipline.
I am a yeller. i am not saying that i have got this discipline thing down pat. i am learning every day. And i am also not saying that it is the only method of discipline i use. i most definitely use talk-discipline as well, more and more as he has gotten older. i do explain to my son why such and such is wrong, why he should be doing such and such instead. However, sometimes (i Thank God i seldom need this) some yelling and a smack is needed to get a heart issue across.
This post is not to justify any one method of discipline. i am just thinking out loud about the situation for the parents if the laws of the country determined that such and such a method is abuse, if it were followed to the letter, where does that leave the parents, who are already confused by all the different opinions offered by “experts”?