Lay Off Disciplining Your Kids

Lay+Off+Disciplining+Your+Kids

What really grinds my gears are parents.

No, not all parents, certainly not mine. I’m talking about those parents that shush their children as a way to quiet them down when they’re screaming their little tiny heads off.

They do it like that method has been tried and proven, like a formula. They think the equation goes:

(SCREAMING CHILD + CROWDED RESTAURANT x COUNTLESS GLARES FROM OTHER PATRONS) divided by CALMLY SHUSHING PARENT = GOD’S GIFT TO CHILD OBEDIENCE

My mother, the saint and gentle woman that she is, would pinch my inner thigh and repeat over and over “stop yelling,” or “stop crying” and hold it until my will to cry had broken.

She would clamp down on my skin like she was trying to leave an impression of her finger print on my milky white thighs. That way, whenever I thought about acting up there was always her fingerprint, permanently etched in my leg to remind me of the pain and suffering from “The Pinch.”

My mom will verify this following statement with great pride and without hesitation, it took a total of two times of this excruciating pinching to make an everlasting impression.

From then on all it took was either a glare, or a hand placed lightly on my thigh to switch me from a red-faced, screaming kid into God’s little lamb.

I just turned 21 and am nine inches taller than my mom; To this day a hand placed on my thigh scares me to my core.

In no way is, or was my mother an overbearing or helicopter parent, nor is my dad. My parents would give my brother and me time to ourselves for our friends and sports and video games and getting in trouble and getting dirty and scraping our knees and all those wholesome childhood building blocks.

However, freedom was earned. We understood two things as we began to test our newly acquired independence:

1) That we were not entitled to freedom.

2) With more and more freedom came more and more responsibility. If we wanted to be treated like adults, we needed to start acting like it.

My brother and I weren’t born magically knowing those two things as if they were innate instincts; they were ingrained in us from a young age. Along with the dreadful inner-thing pinches, my parents made it a point that my brother and I learn honor and respect.

When we were running around, getting in trouble like kids do, our parents made sure we always had two adages floating around in our heads: “Treat others as you would want to be treated,” and “Honor your father and mother.” The latter proverb was usually simplified down to, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out!”

On top of all else my brother and I knew one thing, our parents loved us more than anything in their lives.

Unconditional love made everything easier. It made our fights forgettable, our disciplines logical, and it supported our understanding of honor and respect.

That’s how parenting is done.

I don’t give a shit if you want to take a more hands-off approach to parenting. I don’t give two shits if you want the child to figure out who they are without parental restrictions.

I certainly don’t give two shits packaged with a rat’s ass if you say, “well I’m just afraid of them hating me.” After you’re finished trying to be your kid’s friend, kiss my ass.

You’re not there to be their friend. You’re there to prepare them for life and make them the best version of themselves imaginable. As a parent your job is to elevate your kid so they can stand on your shoulders and achieve things you yourself never thought possible.

Nowadays some hypersensitive people might be ready to shout “CHILD ABUSE” at the mention of my mother’s thigh-pinching-parental tactic. It isn’t an argument without a point.

The reasoning is that a pinch, or a spank (whether it be with a hand, wooden spoon, or a chancla) causes physical harm, possibly scarring the child. Most of these arguments encourage disciplines such as time-outs or talking to them calmly.

The legal definition of child abuse and neglect according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway website is as follows:

The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) (42 U.S.C.A. § 5106g), as amended by the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010, defines child abuse and neglect as, at minimum:

Clearly, the act of a firm pinch on the inner thigh does not fall under the umbrella of “child abuse.” So if serious physical harm isn’t the problem, perhaps emotional harm is the big issue.

The emotional aspect of abuse is certainly the one that leaves a lasting impression, and it’s extremely sad to see a child or adult with lasting trauma from abuse.

From that point of view the hypersensitivity to anything that could be deemed as child abuse is more than understandable.

However, the motivation and the situation behind the act of a pinch, or a spank, have an effect on the lasting impression. Determining if it will either be a positive outcome, or a traumatic one.

Like I said earlier, my brother and I knew that, above all else, our parents loved the crap out of us. We understood what was expected of us and we knew the consequences of our actions.

Although we might have held overnight grudges and uttered the words “I hate you” underneath our breath, it was clear to us that the best of intentions lay behind our parent’s actions.

In my opinion, physical discipline (to a certain, very mild degree of course) is the way to go when rearing a young child.

Don’t shush them when they’re screaming, don’t try to sweet talk them when they’re acting up.

Take charge, show them that they don’t run the show, but above all else, make sure the child knows they are loved.

My mom always said if both my brother and I didn’t tell her at least twice in our lives that we hated her, she didn’t do her job right.

That’s how you parent…bitch.