I am now entering the 3rd month of staying home. I had all of these lofty ideas of what I would accomplish being home all day, one being to organize my entire house. Needless to say, that did not happen. I did organize a drawer, though. The first few weeks felt like I had won the lottery. Everything was perfect. My kids fell into a routine fairly quickly and I felt on top of the world. I would make comments to people how easy it felt and how life was just fantastic. Which it was, and still is. I can’t REALLY complain. I have it easy.
However, something happened a week ago and I lost that mojo. Nap time stopped being effortless.Sharing was thrown out the window and was replaced with tantrums, tears, blood, violence, you name it. I felt like I was in the middle of a battlefield when really, I looked around and I was in my living room, surrounded by crumbs, cars, train tables (yes, plural) and noisy pieces of plastic. Compared to the majority of the world, life was great. Compared to a week prior in my world, life was all of a sudden anxiety provoking.
The main source of anxiety stemmed from discipline. A toy covered in cobwebs and dust all of a sudden became gold and my kids starting fighting like cats and dogs over it. My 16 month old discovered he could hit and bite to claim his territory. My 3 year old discovered he could push and shove to claim his. I screamed. I spanked. I did time out. I did discussions. I did hugs. I did tears. It seemed fine for 2 seconds until I turned the corner. It would start up again right when I thought I had made a lasting impact on them.
So I googled it. Bad idea, always a bad idea. No, I didn’t diagnose myself with cancer, but I did diagnose myself with “shitty mom syndrome.” Apparently, it’s a thing in 2017. We will start with the most controversial of them all. Spanking. Throw a status on facebook asking people their opinions and you are sure to start a raging war. One common thing I read is it’s harmful emotionally for the child, on top of extremely painful and traumatizing. (I always thought having a finger chopped off on the playground would be extremely painful and traumatizing. I was wrong.) Another negative is it teaches the kid they are powerless. (hmm, kinda the point…kidding. Don’t judge me). BUT, okay…I can maybe see where they are coming from.
Maybe I’ll google using a stern, authoritative voice (aka SCREAMING) to discipline and see if that has a better emotional impact on my offspring. Well, according to todaysparent.com, “Yelling at your kids can be just as bad as corporal punishment and it could cause behaviour problems and emotional development issues.” So you’re telling me yelling is as bad as spanking? Shit, then I emotionally spank my kids at least 15 times a day with this definition.
Okay, timeout has got to be the best choice then, right? Nope. I guess sending a kid to timeout isolates them, which can apparently be emotionally damaging as well. And I guess it sends a message that they, themselves, are bad as opposed to their actions. YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. An article I read was titled “‘Time-Outs’ Are Hurting Your Child.”
This was the final straw for me. I didn’t even have time to read the alternatives to these three methods because I felt so guilty over what I had emotionally done to my children over the last several months and years. And I get it. I understand where everyone is coming from. I shouldn’t spank my child every day, I shouldn’t yell at my kids all day, I shouldn’t lock my kids in a time-out closet for 3 hours. But the guilt that people intend to place on parents who are just trying their best to raise their kids to be decent human beings is getting out of hand. Is there really such a thing as raising a perfect, flawless, emotionally-well person? I have yet to meet a single adult who doesn’t have some form of personality flaw. Yes, some people I meet were probably spanked too much as a child and have issues. Yes, some have awful relationships with their parents because they were constantly yelled at. But guess what? Some are rude, disrespectful, selfish, self-conceited brats who could have used a good swat on the ass when they were a kid.
Please don’t get me wrong. I do fully believe there are much better ways to consistently discipline your children. Quite frankly, I’m still trying to figure out what works best in our house. Taking toys away instead of time-outs, for example, seems a good alternative. But sometimes, that’s not enough. Sometimes, my kid needs to be knocked down a few pegs and feel “isolated” in time out. Sometimes, when my kid doesn’t get enough sleep and is a little shit and throws a toy at his brother’s face, I might snap and spank him. And I certainly don’t think I should be made to feel like I ruined his emotional future because of it. It’s all about balance and striving to be better, which is what most parents are attempting to do. Although people think they have all the answers and publish books on child-rearing, there is no “rules book”. There is no perfect method to raising children. And to belittle others is a giant red flag that you have some emotional issue yourself if you actually think you have all the answers.
In 2017, the internet says everything you are doing is wrong. Except my blog. I’m here to tell you that if you are trying, and you are putting your heart and soul into raising your children…if your goal is to create kind, loving, respectful kids in the process, you are doing something right.