~ Just a warning, this contains MY personal opinions on certain parenting topics, and different ways I chose to raise my own children, if you think it will annoy you or you don’t agree, please keep in mind that these are my personal views and you have the right to disagree, just as I have the right to express my opinions~
So I was driving this morning, I was getting our girls out of the house taking them to have some lunch out and stop off at the park for a play and as I drove down the street I saw a well dressed happy looking couple strolling down the path to the right of my car. He was walking ahead and pushing a pricey looking pram with a muslin wrap shading the baby I assume was in it. She was behind pushing one of those toddler bikes with the handle sticking out the back.
I thought to myself how nice, a morning walk, I would’ve liked to have been doing the same thing if Glen were home today. The man stopped and looked back to his wife I assumed to wait for her. He shrugged and turned back to keep walking, Next thing I know the woman raised her arm and smacked that little girl in the side of her head so hard the bike toppled and the girl nearly fell off.
My jaw dropped.
The child must have yelled out, at the very least. Her dad turned back to see what was going on but the mother had already done her deed and he didn’t see it.
He looked concerned and was looking at me watching her. Making me think that he probably did know what she was up to and was ashamed. I stopped at the T section waiting for a car, still gob smacked. I glanced back in my rear view mirror to see her yank that child by the arm off her bike so viciously that she was swung in the air and the bike fell, she dropped that little child on the cement.
I didn’t realise helmets also helped prevent brain damage caused by parents!
But what did I do?
I didn’t do anything I kept driving. I didn’t know what I should do. The further I kept driving it seemed the less and less I could have done. I didn’t even look at the mother properly for a good description. I haven’t stopped thinking about it however. It was shocking! To think that this mother on an outward appearance looked well dressed, she was probably polite and nice too, would be capable of physically abusing her child in broad daylight!
Any mother, dressed like whatever, appearing like who cares, capable of that?!
I do not even want to think of what she may or may not do in the privacy of her own home if she had no concern for what she was doing in public!
Maybe she thought she was doing the right thing?
But I don’t.
It was physical abuse as far as I saw.
Plain and simple.
And her husband?
Standing there watching her drag that little girl around like a rag doll?
If he won’t stand up for her who will?
I don’t know who she is and I’ll probably never see her, her husband and two small children again.
I don’t care how stressed, how frustrated she was or even how naughty that child was being. It was uncalled for.
My girls know what a smack is. My definition of a smack is a tap on the back of the hand, or a light slap on the bum. AND they only receive that after being spoken to, like an equal with respect and dignity.
I use a three strikes type rule,
Please don’t touch that.
Please stop touching that now or you will get a smack.
ok, I’m going to give you a smack.
Most of the time I use ‘going to your bedroom’ or ‘come sit beside me’ in replacement of a smack, but if I thought a smack was called for that is how I would approach it.
I have always been consistent with this so they know I will follow through which is why I very rarely have to dust off my smacking hand, because they know I am serious. I probably dole out 2-4 ‘smacks’ per month! Not bad with 4 kids.I usually get to strike two and they give in and do as they are told because I am consistent!
I am very happy and lucky and proud that my girls, while not perfect and far from angels, are very well-behaved and random people comment on it. Sophie has gotten free cookies from subway because of her good behaviour and Bella has even scored free cupcakes at the bakery for her manners. They are always offered stamps or lolly pops at check outs or the doctors. People use words like ‘game’ and ‘brave’ when I go shopping with four kids. (Actually when I do anything on my own with my four girls!) Four kids who’ll hold the side of my trolley without tantrums, screaming and touching things. And it kind of annoys me. It feels like people think I have no life or freedom because I have 4 kids. Its not so hard when they are good kids. Sometimes too good. It actually sometimes makes me feel guilty. Especially when I calmly walk by a mother of one or two who ARE in the process of tantrums or climbing out of trolleys and wrestling with mums who look ready to scream trying to keep them in.
I know I shouldn’t feel this way but I do, sometimes I feel like inconspicuously knocking something from a shelf and blaming one of my girls so my kids seem ‘normal.’ Or telling them to run up and down isles while screaming!
They are that good that I can allow them to go check out the toy isle while I grab something from the deli knowing they will only look and not touch.
Now I’m bragging.
I am proud of my girls.
And it is hard sometimes when parents ask me how I do it, or why they behave so well. My answer is to be CONSISTENT!
It really is that simple.
Speak to them like people and let them know what the re-actions to their actions will be.
And follow through.
Let them know they are upsetting you or frustrating you, tell them you’re not happy if they do a,b, or c.
But also let them know when you are happy with them.
Kids really do love their mums and their dads and want to please them.
The hard part is that parents always ask, but rarely do they want to hear what others say. No one wants to hear that they possibly are doing things not really wrong, just differently.
Don’t ask for advice if you don’t really want it.
There is no pill, drug or magic potion for good behaviour.
And it is hard work, but if you put in the effort consistently, then the effort required becomes less and less.
And I totally agree with the whole ‘first 5 years are the most important.’ This is when they are learning the most, absorbing everything around them and learning traits and patterns they will carry on throughout life.
By no means am I saying my children are perfect angels. I live with them daily and I know that they are not, Bella is my most difficult as she was my first, the whole ‘trial and error’ thing applies and she had 5 years to herself getting almost away with murder, she doesn’t like to take ‘no’ for an answer and argues a lot. Sophie gets grumpy when tired and can lash out, Violet’s a squeeler and is always full of energy and ‘bouncy’ and Molly, she consistently does not listen when I say ‘don’t touch’ and is very persistent.
By no means am I saying that I never have a bad day, get frustrated or that my girls ALWAYS listen to me or that I know it all or have answers to everything, but I know which tactics have worked for me. And physical abuse is certainly not one of them.
Anyone who harms their child the way that woman did today should be locked up or in serious need of help.
It will stay in my mind for a while to come. I have seen some terrible things working in a pre-school, and I can say that none of the children whose parents decided physical ‘discipline’ was the way to go had well-behaved children. They were the worst. They would lash out violently with anyone who did what they considered to be wrong, adults and children alike. To hit a child you may as well sit down look your kid in the eye and say ‘now anytime someone does something you don’t like or agree with, just whack them!’
And parents who hit their kids usually hit their kids after their kid has hit someone else. It barely makes sense to me, but to a child? So its ok for big people to hit me if they don’t like what I do, but I have to walk away or ‘use my words’ to tell someone if I don’t like what they are doing?…..
These kids were emotionally and sociably unstable too.
If for some weird reason that random lady is reading this right now,
Please don’t hit your little girl like that again. If your stressed or frustrated take a breather. Get your husband to take them for an hour so you can relax. No good will come of hitting your kids. If your on your own, put her safely in her room and take a walk around the garden, crying in her room for half an hour will hurt her a whole lot less than you will if you lose it again. And if you can’t discipline your child in public the same way you do at home, then maybe the way you discipline your child at home is inappropriate anywhere.
Cherish our babies.