Learning the Hard Way

There comes a time for parents when we come face to face with our children.  Our children who are flailing on the floor in a grand mal tantrum or who have done something you repeatedly told them not to do and something is either broken or another child is crying.  It is our time as parents for fight or flight.  Time for our kids to learn the hard way.

But what do you consider the “hard way”?

I’ve said before, my mom believed “timeouts” belonged in sports.  We were guilty until proven innocent and she was not shy about introducing my rear end to her hand.  My mom ran a tight ship and both my sister and I knew the rules and the subsequent punishments if those rules were broken.  She could be, if not heeded, drill sergeant mean and yet we always got a good night kiss and an “I love you” from her no matter how mad we made her. Was it the best way to govern?  According to every child psychologist looking for fifteen minutes of fame on Dr. Phil, probably not so much but it was hers and she never wavered from it. The hard way for her was exactly that, hard.

Now in theory, I’d like to believe I am nothing like my mother only because I vowed at an early age to not be anything like her.  In reality, I carry the same figurative drill sergeant stripes on my shirt sleeves as she did. I don’t give “timeouts”.  I believe in corporal punishment.  I believe fear can be an excellent motivator (hey, in the Bible it says we should, “fear and love God”). I believe a well placed crack to the hand or the posterior speaks louder than a 5 minute timeout and stings a whole lot more. Now before you begin dialing Social Services on me, let me tell you that I said ‘crack’.  I didn’t say wail, beat, or take behind the woodshed. It is also few and far between that it comes to that.  Usually a well growled command from me is enough but if a crack is in order, I am very mindful to explain to my daughters the reasons for my actions and why it is their rear end hurts.  

My job as a parent is a serious one and one I take seriously.  My job is to make sure my daughters fulfill the expectations and ideals their mother and I have set for them (including but not limited to being nice to one another, doing good in school, being respectful and of course becoming the first woman president of the United States…I’m their father of course I’m thinking big). I don’t want to turn on television and see them on an MTV reality show. My job is to make sure they know, even when they get in trouble, they are still loved, no matter what their rear ends feel like at the time. Because it is my job to teach my kids, even if it means sometimes they have to learn the hard way.


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