Mamas & Papas: do you get physical with discipline?
A recent Facebook thread of comments somehow became group sharing on our own parents' forms of corporal punishment. Many of us had our own stories of being disciplined by "mother's helper", a paddle, a ladle. Me? My dad used a leather belt with a metal buckle. He used to tell me to count to ten, one count for each lash of the belt on my bottom. Once, I lost track counting. He said, "What number?!" I was frantic and I cried, "I don't KNOW!" He yelled, "Start over!"
When I think back on those days, I cannot even remember what wrong I had done. All I know is that I did something wrong and I should try to remember not to do it again. Being the only girl of three, I did feel that I didn't bear the bulk of the brunt of the belt. My brothers got it so much more.
I know we have all been there, when our own kids just. won't. listen. Or, maybe they just. WON'T. MOVE. in your hurry to get out the door. Perhaps even, they just. will. NOT. STOP. CRYING. Throwing a tantrum. Begging for snacks. Whining. Fighting with the sibling.
Sometimes we, as mamas and papas, are just pushed to the absolute limit, where we can try to dig deeper, but it seems there is just no more patience in the bank. I have reached those limits, and I have grabbed my child, wrapping each of my hands tightly - oh-so tightly - around each arm. I have felt my hands wrapping tighter and tighter, squeezing and shaking. I have seen tears well up in eyes right before my very own, and the words uttered, "Mama, you're hurting me!"
But, then: I step back. I stop. Those words, those wells of tears, make me realize that I do have deeper to dig. I do have an emergency store of patience. I usually cash in on that emergency stash, and walk away. I have gone to hide in the dry bathtub, fully clothed, where the porcelain can cool me off. As many times as I have been so very close to whacking the kids upside their heads, I don't. But, I can sometimes see myself in my head doing so.
I realize this is such a sensitive topic, as we all have different parenting styles and limits. Have you come close to reaching the point of no return? Have you done the squeeze and shake, the silent pinch, the mother's helper, the bottom whack? Have you resisted, perhaps using calming mechanisms such as the walk-away, pseudo-hypnobirthing, the hug-even-tighter move?