The sun has had his hat on in Melbourne over the weekend and it seemed rude not to cremate some meat and slowly marinade our insides in beer. It was your typical backyard bbq, a mixture of adults doing their best to stay just the right side of tipsy without straying into embarrassingly intoxicated (there’s always one) and excitable kids doing their bit to push the adults further towards intoxication. As if the combination of beer and barbie was not Australian enough, cricket was thrown in for good measure, there might have even been a bit of “Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie” coming from the cheap seats too.
Things came to an abrupt end when one of the children started misbehaving and threatened another child with a cricket bat. What followed seemed to happen in slow motion, an adult who had maybe had one too many, got up and much to everyone’s shock delivered slap across the face of the naughty nipper.
Okay, hands up that didn’t actually happen and was in fact a reference to Chris Tsiolkas’s juicy novel The Slap (read it!), but it does lead me nicely onto the topic for this post, to slap or not to slap? For better or for worse I am an occasional slapper or tapper to be more accurate. Let me state very clearly that my taps are always delivered on the hand and bring nothing than a wry smile out of Max and a look that says “is that the best you got big man?”, he does however stop what he was doing and it is a gesture that for the moment I will continue to use. I am more patient than most and have a pretty high tolerance level, if I deliver a tap and I do very rarely, I do so in total control and without a side serve of anger.
I read none of the “expert opinion” on this matter and am using that under-utilised parent tool called instinct. I have no strong opinions on what is right or wrong for other parents and how they choose to discipline their own children but for me and Max it works. I would be willing to wager that most of you reading this post will be more familiar with a smacked bottom than the naughty step when looking back on your own childhoods.
My decision to tap is partly informed by what I see on a daily basis. I see toddlers physically hurting their parents, other children and generally throwing their toys out of the pram and the parent reaction is often along the lines of “please don’t do that”. As a teacher I see children who know right from wrong because their parents have found a way to instil it and then I see children who know no boundaries because none have ever been imposed. I am certainly not saying that it is the correct or only way to teach a child right from wrong and I use lots of other strategies before I get to that point but for Max it seems to do the job.
What frightens me most is Max not knowing that I am in charge, not in a control freak kind of way, but the longer he knows I am ‘the boss’ the more time I have to shape him into being the person I want him to be. I take that decision believing it is beneficial to him not because I am in someway losing control of a situation.
What’s your take on child discipline? What informed your choices? Should I have my Dad of the Year nomination revoked?
As always linking up with Jess at Essentially Jess