My son Alex is what they term “hypersensitive” in other words; he’s an emotional train wreck. He can’t stand loud noises, bright lights, tight pants, socks with stitched toes, and ANY level of pain. If he slips on anything other than pillows, there’s gonna be drama! We go through band aids like most houses go through toilet paper. So you can imagine what our house would be like if we opted to use corporal punishment with our boys. We would have to put him in a home…I know this, because I’ve tried. (Like I said…not perfect!) There was that one time, when I was going through raging PMS and he wouldn’t stop fighting with me. I sat him on his chair and he just screamed in my face nonstop until I told him if he didn’t stop, I would have no choice but to smack his bottom. You can imaging how well that went over…but I am the Mom and I made a statement so I was FORCED to follow through for fear of losing credibility…so I took him off his chair and put him over my knee which is exactly when he freaked out completely and starting fighting for his life (I wasn’t really gonna hit him hard…I’m a whimp) but he was not rationalizing, he was reacting…badly…almost insanely. That ended it. I pictured him 10 years from now with the black hair and the piercings and the trench coat, smoking and writing bad poetry and telling everyone about his abusive mother who caused it all. Now don’t get me wrong…I have a very vivid imagination, and I am certainly not asking you not to discipline your child for fear of raising the next Goth in your town. I am however asking you to step back and think before you act.
I had to ask myself “Can you as a brilliant, loving parent, not come up with a better way than inflicting pain to teach your child the lessons of life?” Alex’s “hypersensitivity” has certainly forced me to be creative if nothing else. He challenges me daily, but he also knows that he can make mistakes around me…he can screw up without fear of being hurt. He can be honest with me and not have to worry about painful repercussions. I am not claiming that I don’t believe he should have to learn from his mistakes or be punished for being blatantly ridiculous sometimes…but I believe that lessons should be fair, sensible and understood. I look at the way I discipline my boys and say “would I want them to teach this to my grandchildren? And would I be proud of them describing this situation to someone I respect?”
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When you look back on your children’s upbringing…will you compare it to an amusement park ride with all of it’s ups and downs, twists and turns, fear and laughter, butterflies at the unknown and weightlessness and wonder on the tracks ahead…or will it be a train wreck that they merely “survived?”