by Swami Shubhrananda Psy.D.
“This is going to hurt you more than it hurts me.”
Physical discipline is a widely accepted, highly approved of in our society. Slapping, hitting, spanking, pulling hair. The use of belts, switches from a tree, hair brushes, fists, hands, wooden spoons, the list is endless. The violence is overwhelmingly evident in the children of America.
We question, what has happened to our youth? Is it so difficult to recognize and accept the errors of our own violent thoughts and action?
The answer is yes, it is easier to blame, accuse and label rather then accept the reality of our own inadequacies and change them. Therefore, we have devised such belief systems with appointed rationales to explain them away such as; the terrible twos, rationalizing that “all” two year olds are “brats” and selfishly throw fits and cause scenes to get their way.
From two on we label them with all kinds of psycho babble insisting that the child has a stubborn streak that must be broken. Insisting that their will is too strong and they must learn whose boss. Unfortunately, the way these personality tendencies are dealt with is through intimidation tactics, “wait until your father gets home” or “if you want mommy to love you stop what your doing” Manipulation: “this hurts me more than it hurts you. If you weren’t bad I wouldn’t have to use toe belt.” Corporal punishment: the father insists on “making a man” out of his son by punching him in the chest repeatedly. He labels his son a “sissy” if he can’t stand up to the pain. The scenarios are endless.
The problems resulting from this violent so called discipline are evident in our delinquent children and the system we call mental health care. America is a fear based society that perpetuates the cycles of perpetrator\victim roles. The parents are living in old belief systems that ridicule and corporal punishment worked on them so it will work with their children. Yet, as parents they use artificial means to kill the pain of their childhood, rather than accept the truth which is children respond well to less violent means of discipline.
We as parents must be willing to be creative in our parenting. Even that is difficult in these modem times do to the fast pace of me daily life style which appears to be moving further away from human interaction, but it’s not impossible. We need the direct support of some whom have been successful in parenting without violence. Parents need to learn acceptance rather than tolerance. Acceptance leads to patience and understanding. Tolerance may lead to suppression eventually erupting in violence with its roots in fear and frustration repeating the cycle. How do we put a stop to this violence?
LOVE IS THE KEY:
Statistically speaking love seems to be a high priced commodity basically unattainable apparently we’ve been led to believe we haven’t been good enough to have earned it and are doomed to a life of punishment. Love is not an earned commodity we are all born with the seed of love in our heart waiting for it to be nurtured and cultivated.
TRUTH IS THE ANSWER:
Truth can lead to acceptance of our own inadequacies as parents leaving room for growth and change in our own parenting. If we accept the truth of our own painful experiences of corporal punishment\violence how can we in turn inflict such harm on another human being?
FAITH TS THE PATH:
Recognize, accepting and understanding the habitual tendencies toward violent punishment we portray as parents and as a society are not working. We can begin to choose the path of faith. Faith in our ability to change. Faith in the reality that we as parents can raise our children in a nonviolent way. We can encourage the attitude of Oneness. We are all The Mothers children. Lets treat each other as we want to be treated.