Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Punishing our children

I know we cannot define what is the degree or extent to which we can punish our children. When I'm using the word 'punish' I mean reprimanding and to some extent physical punishment too. I never thought I would be punishing my child physically i.e slapping either on cheeks or on any part of the body. I used to shudder when I used to see other parents hitting their children and used to think "How can they??!!" But now when I'm in their shoes, I know that its tough being a patient parent. Very very tough.

And am I glad I don't stay in a country like US or any other where you are scared lest anyone reports you to child abuse? You bet!

After becoming a parent I realised that there are times when the kids don't listen to our stern voices and do not understand that they are not supposed to do whatever they were doing. Sometimes physical intervention is required. Somehow hitting sounds too heavy a word so guess I'm not going to use it again.

I don't remember when I slapped Betu first. But what I do remember is that I had cried a lot holding him tight. But those are long forgotten days. Now he's started to be such a brat that a slap on his butts or back once a day is quite common. And if he doesn't listen to me even then, he gets a slap on his cheeks!

Earlier he used to cry whenever he used to get one from me. But now, he will hold his cheek or butt of wherever I slapped him and ask me "Aapne mujhe kyun maara?" First time he asked me this was when he was about 2 years of age. I was shocked ..really shocked when I heard him questioning the pitayee. However you may explain to him why he got the beating, he will look as if he understood and will give an expression as if saying "I'll not do it again" but soon the things start repeating. Same is the story with scoldings. He will very promptly ask "Aap mujhe kyun daant rahe ho?"

I have wondered a lot of times if I'm not as patient with him as I should be. And many a times I feel that its true. I need to learn to be more patient.

I feel we as adults should learn from our children to be so forgiving. Even after we have been cross with them, few minutes later they will come to us and cuddle! It is unconditional love that they have for us and us for them. But I guess its not easy to have unconditional feelings for everyone around us.

Anyways, not wanting to digress from the topic in hand, how good or how bad is doing pitayee to our children? Should we or should we not raise our hands on them? I've always wondered how the people in US, where raising a hand on your child can put you in jail, manage the tantrums of their children? How do they discipline them without reprimanding them physically? And do they actually succeed in that?

I've tried so many times by being stern and giving him "stand in the corner" punishments. He does feel bad about it then but soon it is forgotten. I wonder if I can console myself saying its a phase and they will soon learn the difference between what they are not supposed to do and what they can.


  1. you're right. i have never slapped K yet, but the way he's behaving these days, it might not be far away. but i have squeezed his hand tight to reprimand behavior - he cries, I let him and then he wnats to be comforted by me and only me. thats the worst part- i feel like an idiot for wanting to hurt him. one hug and few kisses later, he's forgotten everything. like you said, I could learn from him how to forgive, quit sulking and move on.

  2. Sigh! patience patience and PATIENCE- the biggest virtue of all for mothers!
    I also administer corporal punishment (I hope that makes me sound less mean, and more correcting)to Sonny boy, on his hands/legs.
    And he too cries, making me feel so small later, and he won't be comforted by any other than me, even when I'm the cause of his tears... Boo Hoo Hoo

    I tell myself that he won't listen otherwise, but now Ammamma is home, and I se her working wonders with words and 'distractions"..

    sigh! When can i be a grandmother?

  3. i dont hav the heart to hit them real hard- so much that it hurts but a slight smack does make them cry due to ego issues- mine hav real big ego.. and this deal business doesnt work with them- like hav your food then i will giv u the toy. it is always give the toy and then if they feel like it, they will open their mouth to take their food. at that time if i try to smack them, things get worse, they scream and bury their face in the chair so that anyway i cannot push the spoon in their mouth. easier approach is to do some poem and trick and make them laugh so that they eat at that time...so sum total, it is patience that works not punishment!!
    on your previous post- hats off to those u take care f their toddler during pregnancy. i am scared shit.. i always wanted 2 kids and was never sur how i will muster teh courage to do it 2nd time