As I was making the really tough decision between buying fresh corn on the cob or broccoli for tea at our local supermarket one summer afternoon, I was jolted from my daydream by an angry mum berating her daughter.
The girl would have been no more than 7 and the mum no more than a girl.
She was clearly at the end of her tether and, while holding her daughter firmly by the wrist, she shouted “I’ve had enough of this. You’ve pushed me too far.”
She had a wobble in her voice, but her face was red with rage. Then she slapped the back of her little girl’s bare legs. Quite hard.
Sure, I’ve been in that situation where I’ve been driven mad and anger is boiling up inside me like some raging volcano about to erupt.
But I have never hit either of my children in public.
In fact, I have never hit either of my children in private either.
I know this is a thorny issue. Some parents feel a smack is OK as long as it’s controlled and not done in anger. Some feel that a quick spank will shock them into stopping their naughty behaviour long enough to listen and understand.
I was reading a post over at Ravings of a Mad Housewife on this subject recently and mums’ comments ranged from “I totally believe in a spank as a last resort” to “we totally believe in spanking: it’s a must for small children” and even “spank if they are doing something dangerous”.
For the record, no form of hitting will ever be used as discipline in this house.
It’s just not for us.
I have used a miriad of techniques to bring my two into line when they misbehave. Timeouts and stickers worked a dream for my son. His little sister, not so much. She was far far more challenging and required some creative thinking!
Above all else, consistency is the key and it has worked for us.
Call me soft but I don’t want my children to grow up believing that hitting – in any way shape or form – is the answer when things aren’t going your way.
Plus, the look on that little girl’s face when her mum slapped her for all to see was heartbreaking and the thought of either of my children ever looking at me that way would be too upsetting.
I would really like to hear your thoughts on, what I know is a very sensitive issue.