Pro football players are lightning rods these days for the physical abuse they are allegedly inflicting upon others. The latest case in the media spotlight is that of Adrian Peterson who spanked his 4 year-old son with a switch…”a slender, flexible shoot, rod, or twig.”
There’s much to be said about generational, as well as cultural, differences when it comes to discipline.
Spanking was the norm when I was a child growing up in the 50s and 60s. For my mom, it was probably all she knew to do as a native islander whose culture was founded upon force and brutality. That she was a young widow with children to raise could not have helped.
The same could be said for others who grew up…the way they grew up. Among them, Adrian Peterson.
I can’t judge my mom, Peterson, or anyone else.
What I can share are the scars left behind after the bruises have healed. Among them, a sense of disapproval that never diminishes.
How does a child who lacks the experience gained over time, ever explain why it is she was beaten by the one person whose love signifies the entire world? From that child’s perspective, she is to blame, she is unlovable, she is less than perfect.
Going through life as that individual is like piecing together a patchwork quilt. Gathering together bits and pieces of self esteem becomes a goal in itself. One which overshadows every other. One which dictates every relationship. One which begins and ends one’s life.
The seemingly simple act of spanking a child can evolve into an airing of parental grievances, if not reigned in quickly. Watching my mom beat a sibling once, I feared for his life. It was as though she was giving him the full measure of all that had gone wrong with her own life. Her subsequent tears and apologies did nothing to deflect the violent image which has remained with me forever.
I swore never to spank my own child knowing what I did…
…that it could become more about me than her…
Hugmamma, Time outs punished my son more than anything else could have. Most of the time he tried hard to please and punishment wasn’t necessary. I always tried to find the reason why they misbehaved and talk to them about it. We were blessed in that our kids were good most of the time. Corporal punishment loses it’s effect when they get older and shouldn’t be depended on. It can leave hard feelings. 🙂 —Susan
Like your son, our daughter has always strived to do as we ask…even when we haven’t asked. This was probably owing as much to her genetic makeup, as it was to our attempts to always be reasonable. Whatever the case, parenting for us has been a pretty low-key journey. Not sure if that would have been the case were we to have had another child. And as far as hard feelings, parents never contemplate what children are thinking as they are being spanked. It’s a one-sided proposition…in favor of the one delivering the punishment. The lesson transferred is one of hate…for the deed…and oftentimes, the executor of the deed.
quite right, I believe. Often the parent’s anger is what the child is bearing the brunt of. I am also from the generation where getting hit with a belt or a wooden spoon was accepted.
Anger is not easily managed, no matter how hard we try. Better to isolate oneself until the mood passes…
Well said. Yes, parenting seems to change with generations. I’m in awe how my kids manage discipline– there’s no yelling, lots of time outs and negotiations and no hitting. I can’t say I was perfect but think I did better than my parents.
Hopefully we all improve upon our parenting skills from one generation to the next. I’m certain my daughter will tweak mine when her time comes. A main reason to reflect upon the past…is to try and do better in the future.