Spare the Rod

What do people do nowadays when their kids are naughty?

I mean I grew up with some harsh forms of punishment, and not always from my parents. You know the saying, “It takes a village?” well; I bet my generation growing up in Nigeria understand it better than most. Where a stranger can punish you and boast about it to your parents without fear of any repercussion.

I saw a clip on FB recently. The setting was a school cafeteria where two boys were engaged in a fight. One mom, a white woman, pulls a black boy off her son and proceeds to slap him across the face. I watched with my jaw on the floor, appalled.  I don’t even know what I would do if this was my kid. I watched the mother of the black kid speak calmly afterwards to reporters, calmly! God bless that woman, let’s just leave it there. Or maybe the other mom should be more worried that she was calm. Revenge is best served cold, haha.

But back in my time, my mom would have probably thanked the woman. “Thank you for disciplining my child for me.” Sounds insane, doesn’t it? Yup

One time, I asked my 4yo to kneel down, close her eyes and raise her hands because she had been naughty. She stayed in that position long enough for me to take a picture. A second later she was next to me on the couch.

“Lemme see, lemme see,” she chanted.

Can you imagine? No respect.

The other day, I was doing the dishes and my husband was putting the kids to bed.  I heard screaming, how do I describe this? Have you ever heard someone being pummelled, well, their screams would probably sound like that. I dropped everything I was doing and ran upstairs. I was expecting the worst. My husband, knowing what I would think was, wisely, standing far away from my 7 year old. When I heard the story, I felt like looking for a whip and whupping her myself. Then I remembered, oh, yeah, I can’t do that.

So, apparently, her dad asked her to do something and she ignored him. He repeated it four times and she still ignored him so he told her she was grounded, hence the blood curdling screams.

I have to admit, chills ran down my spine. When I was seven, I knew the kind of punishment I got for disobedience. Trust me; being grounded would have been a reward. Time to myself, not running errands or doing housework. Time to get stuck into a book while everyone leaves me alone? Bliss.

My kids are usually good and even when they’re naughty; they get a talking to and rarely get punished. But for a child to be visibility angry because of a punishment felt like she was saying to us, “How dare you?”

I’m like, “You’re seven, if you continue like this when you’re 12, and this house will be too big for all of us.”

It sounds harsh but it’s true.

I’m usually an advocate for letting things go and picking battles but this time we were sticking to our guns.

It turns out; punishing a child is hard work. It takes time, patience and prayer. Prayer to God that you don’t lose your temper. I spent hours on the couch with my eyes closed just praying for strength as this child screamed the house down because she’s not allowed to watch TV or have the iPad. It’s this kind of situation that has me praying that these kids behave themselves.

So we’re ending the punishment with an essay on the topic “Why I was punished and what I have learnt and why I will never do it again.”

I hope it sticks, for her sake as much as mine.
Image Copyright: sjhuls / 123RF Stock Photo

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