Discipline and Abuse – Where’s the Line?
How discipline doesn’t take long to become abuse.
We are all parents here, or soon becoming one. We all love our children beyond measure, better than anyone else. We want to do right by our kids, we want to help them grow into wholesome, well-rounded individuals who are self-aware and confident. We want them to know what is right, what is wrong, which behavior is encouraged, which isn’t. We want them to learn all of this because we love them and because we want them to lead good, productive lives.
And therefore we discipline them.
Discipline is the action of teaching; it is calm, it is dignified, it is helpful. Discipline is necessary. But for many households, discipline is synonymous with power. Threatening, scaring or even physically violating the child’s self to tell him he did something wrong. And that is where the line between abuse and discipline is blurred, or pretty much erased. The speed at which correcting a child can turn into damaging a child makes it hard to pump the breaks, and even harder to be self-aware enough to recognize the danger.
I was in a bad place at one point in time and yelling was becoming a norm for me. Thankfully I realized in time that what I was doing was wrong and I had to be more in control of myself.
You don’t want to abuse your child, of course you don’t. You love him/her like crazy, you would never want to hurt him/her. But there are times when you lose control of yourself. You scream, and yell, you sometimes even raise your hand. You don’t want to, but it happens at the spur of a moment and you don’t even realize when you have entered the territory of abuse. You are sorry soon after but another day, another time, the same thing happens
Trust me I know, like I said I’ve been there myself.
But what impact is it having on your child?
- They begin fearing you.
- Their actions are guided by fear rather than the knowledge of what is right or wrong.
- Aggression is seen as a normal reaction.
- Constant threats and emotional blackmail puts a strain on your relationship and results in a subtle loss of respect gradually.
- They slowly become un-empathetic.
- Bad behavior increases.
Most of us already know this. But still lack control. Our routines our tough, we are overburdened, stressed out, mostly having bad days; it is natural to not be instinctively calm in situations that put you on edge. But we also want to become better parents. How do we do that?
By being mindful. It is tough, it takes time, but it happens. Stay tuned for more articles on rediscovering yourself as a parent and trying to be a better mother or father one step at a time.