I am guilty. Of hitting my child and getting angry at him. Guilty of breaking the law, breaking the promise I made to myself and guilty of letting him feel that violence is ok. Because it is not. It never is. I am not writing this to absolve myself of my guilt but just to get the message across to as many people as I can that it may have happened with you, and you may have 100 reasons to justify it but it is never Ok.
A statement people usually make is “If I had to do it again I would not change a thing”. That is something I cannot say about myself. Given a chance I would like to delete forever the times I lost control and hit my child. And yet “losing control” are words that seem to take away the responsibility from the perpetrator. We don’t hit when we lose control. We hit when we want to exert our control. It is power play plain and simple. I always thought I would be different. When I hear of parents using belts, slippers, and worse I feel outrage and relief that at least I am not one of those people. But that is not good enough. Still makes me a hypocrite.
Why is it that we seek so much control? Our frustration, our disappointment and our inability to stand up for what we need and deserve in our own lives make us displace all our shortcomings on the one person in our life who has literally no one to turn to and nowhere else to go. The child.
Trust me I know how it feels when an entitled brat throws a tantrum, or a snooty teen pulls a long face at a meal you have slaved over. After a particularly trying day with your boss, the last thing you want is a bored “whatever” from the apple of your eye. Children will do all of this to push our limits. They will do worse. They will lie to us and hide from us and mock us by doing the very same things they have been warned against. They will be rude and temperamental and as parents, we have all had moments when we wished we could give our children away. It’s not because they are little monsters. It’s because that’s how they grow and that’s how they learn and let’s be frank it’s what we all did.
Discipline is needed. Obedience too. However, fear as a disciplining technique has a very short shelf life and a very long afterlife of resentment. Never think you are hitting your child for their own good. You are only perpetuating a cycle of violence. Violence that we inherited that we are now passing on. It must end. It has to.
I have not been a good role model to my son. What I have been is honest. I am a work in progress. And at 39 years there is still too much work left and very little progress as far as being the ideal person is concerned. The only thing I have been able to do it is sincerely apologise and be on my best behaviour, hoping just hoping that time will heal it all.