“Your daily life is your temple and your religion. When you enter into it take with you your all.” Khalil Gibran
It was a sad day as I watched a mother lose her patience with her tow year old on a bus. She smacked the baby on the bum and he in turn cried until they reached their bus stop. The dad took the child and tried to talk with him but the toddler immediately smacked the dad a few times while crying. I wondered if those smacks registered with either parent. The child was imitating his parents and doing a very good job.
Another couple I was with mentioned how they had recently observed a mother smacking her older child in front of everyone. As we were discussing these issues a dad was screaming a the top of his lungs in the face of his small child around three and in a carriage. The child was screaming himself but the dad’s face was in the child’s face and although he never hit the child in front of any of us, his intimidating loud voice was more than enough.I thought that hitting kids was obsolete, at least I had hoped that it was. Of course I was totally wrong. The hell kids endure at the hands of their parents or caregivers is destroying a lot of the child’s wholeness. Sure we all recover but at a great cost. I was mostly stunned because it was in front of hordes of people. I don’t like to think about what happens in their home environments when nobody is present.
I just cannot fathom the thinking regarding the hurting of a child. How is that teaching anything but anger and how one can hurt another. Hitting is quick and easy and it does stop the transgression but it elevates the situation because most kids start crying from the trauma. Anger rises in the parents and the wheel continues to spin out of control.
I have no problem with anger. We all get angry and most of us lose our patience now and again. The anger that turns into violence is when one has stepped over the line of restraint. It isn’t easy when we are tired and frustrated and most parents doubt their kids gratitude from the start. We have alternatives for dealing with our own fury. It can be simpler than we think.
When we have a problem with any other person be it our child or a stranger, we know when we are approaching the point of no return. It is up to us to recognize our limitations and remove ourselves from the situation when necessary. When in the home environment we can place a child in a crib, bassinet, pack and play or safe area. Then we must calm down and reflect on the problem and how we can resolve it. When serenity returns we can face the situation peacefully. With an older child it might be necessary to remove ourselves to another place to gain control of our emotions. Deal with the problem at a later time in the day or at least after a few minutes of solid composure.
Whenever we involve ourselves in the bickering we become one of the actors and it becomes difficult to be removed from the state-of-affairs. the trick is to keep from getting so involved that you become a player rather than the director. When you are involved you anger quicker and you argue and fight because you are a player. As a director you remain serene like a judge and you speak with authority and composure. You are aware of your authority and have no doubt you are in charge. You therefore have no feelings of being threatened or challenged. You are the authority figure.
If you want your child to do something they are refusing to do you bring it to them in the form of their ownership. At three and older this works. You present them with the problem of cleaning their room by stating the room needs to be cleaned before they leave to go anywhere. You don’t mind if they refuse you state that is their choice but you calmly state the results of each of their choices. One pick leads to something pleasurable while the other leaves them missing out on something they would like.
Even if the child screams you whisper and touch your finger to your lips and quietly state in solid composure that it is up to them to make the pick but either way they face the consequences. In this way you the parent are never observed as the bad guy who punishes. They are making the choice. It kind of dumps the result of their behavior on their shoulders. It doesn’t take long for a child to learn how they are bringing on their own consequences. Kids want to play, go outside have a cookie spend time with a parent etc. The rewards are numerous. The punishment is not getting to do something wonderful rather than receiving a punishment. It trumps hitting kids because we are so frustrated.
Seeing ourselves as the teacher puts us above the problem. It blocks out the child’s anger and gives us the opportunity to serenely monitor the situation as a director and bring tranquility to a stressful situation. It may not work smoothly every time but the authority figure should. We are the authority or knowing individual. At all times we need to rise above the child’s level in order to deal with them in a peaceful manner. With time and effort we improve. I know the whispering helps because they must quiet down in order to hear what we are saying. don’t take kids remarks or moods and anger personally. they are kids and still learning with our help.
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. Khalil Gibran
The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind. Khalil Gibran