I don’t recall ever being hit when I was a child, and I know that Linda was never hit or spanked as a child either. For us, the very idea of hitting a child has a sense of wrongness, of unfairly taking advantage of our physical superiority. As a result, one of the tenets of how we’re raising our three children is no hitting.
Now I’ll be candid, because not hitting them doesn’t mean that sometimes we don’t want to hit them. When they’ve been temporarily replaced by strange alien monsters who are beyond reason and horrible little humans, torturing each other, hurting our animals, or deliberately provoking us, well, let’s just say that sometimes not hitting takes a lot of self-discipline!
This also doesn’t mean that our children don’t hit each other and don’t, on occasion, hit us. Ah, I’d love to imagine what it would be like to live in a completely peaceful household, but then again, without the difficulties of anger and frustration we wouldn’t be able to also experience – and enjoy – the highs of joy and delight either…
While we live in a small pocket of Colorado where the norm is to not hit children, I believe our society overall still works with the rules of the jungle: might makes right.
Watch TV, even sitcoms, and bigger people harassing and beating up smaller people is a core theme that is astonishingly pervasive. For children, it’s even more overwhelming because they’re the little folk in the equation. When you’re five, or eight, or twelve, almost everyone is bigger than you are.
How to handle bullying is a constant topic at our local school, and with Columbine High School just a few miles up the road, it’s a topic that every parent thinks about whether their children are in the early grades or moving into the challenging high school years.
We live in a violent society and a particularly violent and frightening age, with Katrina, Rita, and the fear of Mother Nature, fears about the violence and endless war in Iraq, the fear of terrorists, and on and on. Personally I’d much rather have us all living in harmony and peace, but I’m just a drop of water in a very big ocean.
So the place where I try to create more peace and harmony, while being cognizant of the need for being open to the full spectrum of emotions, is within my home. That’s why we don’t hit our children.
Every time a child is hit, they learn that when they get bigger or they find someone smaller they can impose their will upon their hapless victim with a fist, a paddle, a belt, an open hand, or who knows what else.
Having said that, I’ll be the first to say that we definitely have rules in our house and consequences for misbehavior. I certainly don’t want to live in the House of Chaos and so we create a household stitched together with love, respect, and a desire to “do the right thing”.
So let me ask you, dear reader. Do you ever hit or spank your children? If so, why, how does it make you feel, and what message do you think it sends to your child, both short-term and in the long run?