For most people my age who grew up about the same way I did will know that our parents weren’t scared at all to discipline us. “The Chancla” (the sandal) was something we all feared of growing up as well as “El Cinturon” (the belt). Most of us think it’s hilarious now because it’s supposedly part of our Hispanic culture. However when that Chancla slapped our buttcheeks we didn’t think it was very funny at all.
Now that we are parents how are we supposed to discipline our children? Time out? Slap on the hand? Belt? Is violence even something we really need to introduce to them?
I, for one stand by Matt and I’s decision to never ever ever ever EVER use violence towards our child or anyone for that matter. I came from a family who most definitely used violence as discipline and Matt came from a family who would never discipline in that manner. As new parents our goal is to raise our children even better than our parents and our grandparents and so on. Therefore, we want to practice methods that are efficient and healthy for the well being of our child.
As our little Lili is entering her toddler years we have noticed that she is definitely a bit more “sassy” than she was before. She’s always been quite “demanding” which at times is cute but it can be not so cute at the grocery store when we’re in line for checkout and there’s three more people behind us with full carts.
Matt was the first one to introduce breathing techniques to Lili. Every time she begins to become more frustrated and maybe even raise her voice all we simply say is, “Lili, breeeeathe…” and she complies. We have even had it used towards us by her and that’s how we know that she understands the breathing method.
Anytime she really is just hella angry and wants to lay on the ground and scream and fake cry we just leave her be, if we were to get angry or even give in to her it really would only feed to her tantrum negatively. We find that it helps if we stay calm and when she comes out of it we simply just ask her what the matter is and we try to divert her attention. If we ever do time-outs (which is super rare) we don’t set a specific time. We read that if we simply put her in time-out, wait a bit, and as soon as we see that she calms down, we can calmly approach her and explain to her why we put her in time-out, then we ask her if she’s ready to apologize for her behavior. So it really varies from thirty seconds to a full minute.
As someone who came from a household where violence was the answer to discipline I used to justify it and say to myself, “my dad knew what he was doing, I was being bad and I got what I deserved,” or I’d even say, “it made me who I am today so I thank my parents for disciplining me the way they did.” The truth of the matter is that it’s true, it did make me who I was but not for the reasons one would think. It made me scared, weak, fearful of everything I did, sad because I’d go to school with bruises, and ashamed for multiple reasons. It didn’t make me stronger or fearless, it made me the opposite.
So in conclusion, I don’t want my child feeling the way I did. I want better for her. Whether you think the chancla or the belt is a good enough way that’s up to you but put yourself in your child’s shoes and really think, “how is this helping my child mentally, emotionally, and physically?” You can determine the answer for yourself. There is, however, a fine line between physical discipline and abuse and it’s easy to cross it. It really starts with verbal abuse. If you tell your child they’re stupid, useless, or dumb, that is going to hurt them mentally. If you think just a simple slap of the hand is fine, it can easily turn into full on abuse. Get it? Things can escalate so why not just exclude violence overall.
Anywho, let’s raise our children with strong and healthy minds and manners. We often want to tell them that they are beautiful, pretty, and cute, but we must focus on the beauty they have on the inside. Remind them that they are independent little beings, remind them that they are intelligent enough, and remind them that they must be kind to themselves, and love one another.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert whatsoever, I simply want to share what I’ve learned from both experience and research I’ve read. Love you all.