I’ve made many mistakes as a parent.
I’ve yelled, spanked out of anger, accused and spoken hurtful words out of frustration.
Only to realise that there’s no way to undo the deed…well, except to say “I’m sorry” to my children.
We had a recent episode where I came home from work to find out that Vera had in a moment of fury, grabbed a cane and hit her god-grandmother. I, in a moment of outrage, swiftly used the same method of punishment on her.
I was shocked to hear of her actions, as we’ve never heard of her using force or violence on anyone in our home.
That evening, I cried. Because I felt like I had failed as a mother.
I wondered if it was because of my own disciplinary actions on her, that had taught her the example of using the cane to lash out when she was angry.
After we were calm, I sat her down and taught her some ways of expressing anger, ways that are more socially acceptable such as shouting into a pillow or hugging her favourite soft toy.
I also apologised for having been so angry, and for spanking her when I was at the peak of that anger.
After discussing with my husband in private, I realised that I’d made the mistake of not allowing her to give her side of the story, not seeking to understand what was in her heart and mind when she made that grave mistake, before disciplining her, not giving her any benefit of doubt. In my fit, it did not dawn on me that I wasn’t there to witness the incident, and therefore cannot be fully aware of the circumstances that had provoked her to such behaviour. (more…)