The old adage of, “Spare the rod and spoil the child”, often went hand in hand with “Children should be seen and not heard”. Both of these so-called pearls of wisdom indicate that raising children requires firm discipline and children are somehow less than worthy of the same respect that is afforded to adults. However, both of these pieces of advice may lead a parent down a wrong path of parenting. While the vast majority of older adults now boast that their parents knew how to correct a child, a great deal of the correction involved both abuse and humiliation.
Parenting is one of the hardest jobs that one will ever undertake – and for no pay at that. The hours are atrocious – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – and the working conditions vary according to one’s socioeconomic standing. Al though many parents may joke that there are limited benefits, I believe that the rewards cannot be beat no matter what type of professional career one may have chosen. When that innocent life is first placed in a mother’s or father’s arms, the true work of parenting begins in earnest.
First it is the nighttime feedings and diaper changes. After they learn to sleep through the night, then comes the teething, the endless trips to the pediatrician and trying to keep them safe as they learn to crawl and put everything in their mouths. During all of this time, there is likely an older relative or two telling you how you are doing it all wrong. There are stories of how tough they had it as a child and later as a parent, including teaching a child how not to be spoiled by having a parent tend to their every need. Sadly, this may set the stage for an abusive relationship.
By its nature, parenting is supposed to be self-giving and self-sacrificing. If we respond to a child in the early years with a hardness of heart while we try to teach them that the world is not a loving place, then what type of child will they grow into? Once they reach the preschool years and early adolescence, they don’t magically get easier. Rather, this may be when they become more challenging as they start to grow and discover who they are becoming. However, if we can break the cycle of harsh correction and verbal berating, then they will learn to not just trust us as their parents and guide, but they will also learn to trust themselves, which is the ultimate goal.
Not spanking a child or not resulting to cruel name-calling, does not spoil a child. Rather, a child who is raised with patience and gentleness will develop these traits themselves. While our parents may have not spanked us out of an abusive intention, it most likely was done because that is how they were raised. Hitting does not teach a child anything other than fear. Parenting is a gift and a privilege – it really doesn’t have to hurt.
Writer Bio: Angela Mose
I am a mom of 7 who has successfully homeschooled for 20 years. I was married for more than 25 years and have recently started my life over. I have a passion for writing and music and when the two can be combined, it is utopia. A Maryland native, I am planning to relocate north in the near future and will continue to strive to learn and experience new things on a regular basis. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home while exploring new ways to increase my knowledge and skills and help improve the lives of those around me.