I've recently seen an article floating around the internet about a mindset of discipline that has led to a few children's deaths. I'm not going to post the article because it upsets me to keep reading, PLUS, I'm sure most of you have seen it.
Let me preface this post by saying I'm not starting a debate on how to discipline your kids. Personally, I know every parent is different, every child is different, and not everyone is going to parent the same. BUT, I do believe there can be a line crossed into abuse and I don't care how you justify it, abuse is wrong. And before someone jumps to this thought--I'm aware that my children are young. I know I'm not an expert on every parenting situation because my kids are young but believe me, a 2 1/2 year really tests limits and I'm learning how to set boundaries with him now. I'm not a perfect parent, but I'm striving to be a good parent.
That being said, I read this article and it really hurt my heart. Like it sat with me longer than other articles usually do. Maybe it's because I'm a mom. Maybe it's because I still struggle with baby blues from time to time so my emotions stick around a little longer. Or maybe it's because I'm a human being. But the last thing I want my is children growing up only to remember how they were disciplined. I don't want that to be the part of their childhood they remember most.
Yes, it's our responsibility as parents to mold our children into respectable citizens. And I'm not from the school of belief to let your children raise themselves. I know they need to make their own choices and learn from their consequences but I do believe the majority of the time it's my responsibility to teach them to make the right choices. And I know that sometimes that I have to enforce consequences when they make the wrong choices. But I think there's a better way than constantly beating your child.
Why can't we parent more with love and respect? We want our children to respect us but many times we think that means they have to fear us. But why do they have to be afraid? Yep, I have a mom look and a mom voice and when I break those out Co knows I'm serious. But it's not because he fears me, he just respects that I'm the parent. That wasn't created out of fear, that was created out of teaching respect.
Again, I'm still learning this, I'm not perfect. One day I turned around in the car quickly because he was misbehaving and he squinched his eyes and flinched. It broke my heart. My reaction scared him and I realized that I made him afraid. I don't want my child to be afraid of me. I want to have more gentle reactions to his behavior. I think his attitude towards us as parents is going to reflect our reactions to his behavior. This doesn't mean letting him get away with bad behavior, but I don't need to jump as fast, yell as loudly, or be as angry. I want a more gentle spirit with my kids.
My kids will spend enough days in the world without me or their dad and I can't promise that people will always be kind to them. But Husband and I can strive to create a place where they can come and know they will find kindness, peace, and love.
I want to parent the way Christ parents me. He loves me, even when I make mistakes, and believe me and I mess up. A lot. I mess up way more than my two year old does. Yet He doesn't lash out at me every time. I can go to Him with a sorrowful heart and He receives me in a comforting embrace. And there are times where He loves me but I still have to face the consequences of my bad choices, just like my children will have to learn as well. But I just want them to know my arms are always open for them. I never want consequences to be so harsh that they're afraid to come home if they've made a mistake.
However you parent is your choice, and you may not agree with my opnion at all. But all I'm asking is that people take a moment and make sure their parenting reflects love and respect, and not fear. Create a safe place for your children. Husband and I can't do it on our own, but we are really relying on God to help us. I just pray that my children feel the same way when they become parents. And I pray that I see less articles about children dying because parents let their discipline methods get out of control.