I come from a family where we were punished, and sometimes beaten-up if we did something wrong.
For good 25 yrs of my life, till I wasn’t married and didn’t have any kids, I never saw anything wrong in it.
It’s something that I’ve been brought up with, and I saw happening same with other children in my generation too.
So, there was nothing odd.
It’s only after I delivered Anay and I came to know that Tarun’s family, children are never hit. Never hand-held. They can be shouted at, punished by silent-treatment, or given a wide-eye kinda thing. But, no hitting. It was appalling, at the outset. I could see so many faults in it. I could see how those children have just been spoilt by the methodology.
But, call in MIL’s fear, or whatever you may, Anay is 2.5 yrs old now, and we have hardly ever slapped him.
We have slipped once or twice, but never more. And, for the un-initiated (non-parents), kids start getting ‘behaved’ by the age of 1.5 yrs.
The times when we hit him (either me or Tarun), it was not that ‘he’ did something outrageous and totally unacceptable. Those were the times when we lost control. We lost our temper. We were pissed off or perhaps, tired of everything in ‘our’ lives and hence, took it out on him.
From being a believer of the institution of disciplining the child through capital punishment, I have come to the grounds where I am not so sure. I don’t think that’s really the right way of dealing with them. And, I have started to feel that perhaps, the times when we are hitting them, we are more taking out our frustration than a really, necessary step towards their discipline.
Yes, Anay mis-behaves. Yes, there are times when I think he must be stopped. But, I’ve never seen children stopping because they were hit. They just need to be cleared that this is not to be done. The ‘fear’ needs to be set in their minds through something.
But that ‘something’ doesn’t need to be hitting.
I remember an incidence when I was visiting my parents. Anay must have been less than an yr of age. It was around 2 am in the night. Anay woke up. He usually did if he was hungry. I had given him milk. I had tried putting him in my lap and put him to sleep. He would sleep as long as he was in my lap but would start crying again whenever I tried to put him down so that I could sleep. This continued for almost 1.5 hrs and I got very tired and frusrtated. My mother was sleeping with me. She also got upset and said ‘Laga isko ek. Pareshan kar diya’.
I didn’t. I don’t know what was wrong with him. I don’t know why he was not able to sleep. But, I knew, even in my most frustrated state, hitting was not the solution. And, there was no mistake of his for which he should be hit.
As parents, it’s our responsibility to figure out what best way is to make children understand that ‘this is not acceptable. You can’t do that’. But, choosing hitting as the answer is just our weak character.
Today, they are small and you can hit them to drive the point home. But, once they grow old, they would still need to be explained few things. And, then, you won’t have the option of hitting. And then, you’ll not have any way of explaining that this is not acceptable to you.
Everyone – who has been brought up by parents who thought hitting was right, think again when you have your kids. Is it the only solution? Better not bring in into practice coz there will be times when you’ll feel guilty. You’ll feel that you actually used them as a punching bag more than your kids, to take out your frustration of something else.
And, no, kids don’t forget when they grow up. They remember those hits. And, it hurts always.