I don’t believe in smacking or disciplining a child in any manner that causes physical pain. But today I smacked Jack on the bum and I’m totally OK with it. So is he. Let me explain what happened. Two days ago, we were in the park and suddenly I couldn’t see jack. I called and called for him and when I finally heard his reply I noticed he was out of the park and on the other side of the road. I raised my voice in explaining to him that he was never to leave any place without asking me first. I made a point of making sure he understood what I meant and why I meant it. Yesterday, I was at the till with Jack and Lucy ringing up my groceries when I noticed that Jack wasn’t next to me anymore and wasn’t answering my calls. I walked out the shop to see him by the car in the parking lot. ” I ran so fast mummy! So fast you couldn’t even see me!” Again, a severe talking to. Then today, we were at the public swimming pool when it started raining and it was a bit of a panic getting everything packed up and running for cover. When we were under the pavilion I noticed jack had disappeared again! He was by the car and as soon as I saw him there I knew what I had to do. Infact, I made decision upon my second chat with him that if this were to happen again, I would have to find another way of getting the message through! So I smacked him. I know his crying was a result of the shock more than the pain but it did hurt. I didn’t cuddle him but I sat him in the car and had another serious chat with him.
Later on in the day, when we were having a cuddle in front of a movie and drinking our hot chocolate while it bucketed down outside, I had a quiet chat to him about why I smacked him. I explained that I smacked him because I was frightened. That there are some bad people out there who could steal him from me and I don’t know who they are or where they are. I explained to him that he had run away from me three times in three days and I had to make sure he wouldn’t do it again because I was afraid. I said that if he did again I would smack him again, but harder. He understood me but did say that he would just do a Kung fu kick on the baddies and they would go away. I explained that the baddies don’t look like baddies and that they would try to get him to come to them by offering him a sweetie or ice cream or cool toy and once he was in the car they would just drive away. He just smiled at me and have me a hug. I don’t think he quite understands the level of evil I am talking about and I don’t really want him to, but, somehow, I need to get him to understand that, without someone who loves him within eyeshot, this world can be quite a bit less friendly. It will take time, perhaps a few more smacks, hopefully not. But it is all in aid of trusting him to take his freedom bit by bit.
What did I learn from this: I do agree with physical discipline when it is a means of saving a child’s life but a calm and logical explanation needs to go with it.