29 June 2015

To spank or not to spank that is the question

As much as I try to be present for my son during the weekends, I prefer to have at least a couple of hours for 'me' time. A cup of coffee, strolling in the mall, or an hour of mani-pedi... I feel it's not too much to ask after working for five days.

Riley is usually clingy whenever I am at home. I understand that since we only get to be around each other mostly during the night on weekdays. So on weekends, I take care of him even if our nanny is around. I can say that I am used to the chaos that comes when taking care of an active toddler.

Well, I am so wrong. I let my emotions rule my thinking that day.
It was a busy weekend filled with appointments, parties, and household chores (excuses, I know).
It was the first time I spanked Riley's hand.

I had just prepared his bath with the right temperature so he would not protest that it was too cold or too hot. He brought a dirty soccer ball to the tub and despite telling him not to do it, he placed it in the clean water. After two days of being tired (plus the summer heat is not helping at all), my temper rose and without thinking it over, I spanked his hand once and told him to listen to me.

He was surprised. He became quiet while I prepare his bath again.
I shrugged off my guilt as I was thinking that maybe he learned his lesson.

Later that evening, when we were having our nightly routine of him playing a monster truck game on my phone, I gave him a couple of warnings that it was time to sleep. After giving him a few more minutes, I took away the mobile device even when he was protesting. Then he slapped my hand.

My two year old son slapped my hand.

I was understandably shocked and felt guilty immediately. I know he did this because he imitated what I did to him earlier that night. I asked him why he slapped my hand and he said because I was not listening to him. Worse nightmare confirmed.

I told him that I was sorry for slapping his hand earlier and I promised not to do it again.
He told me the same thing. But I still feel guilty. I just hope that this will not be the start of him hitting other people when he does not get his way.

I found a useful article (from positiveparenting.com) that really helped me see things in perspective and hopefully remember the next time I am in the same situation as last weekend.

To summarize, here are 9 things can do instead of spanking your child:

  • Get calm (I should have done this! So obvious but hard to do!)
  • Take time for yourself
  • Be kind but firm
  • Give choices
  • Use logical consequences
  • Do make-ups
  • Withdraw from conflict (and this too!)
  • Use kind but firm action
  • Inform children ahead of time

From this day forward, I will strive to not spank my child. Ever. Forever ever.

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