On Tuesday, Carter and Clare came with me to the gym (they play in the unsupervised kids club while I workout). As we were leaving, I was waiting to pay for a protein bar and the kids became impatient. Carter tried to get my attention and kicked me in the shin. I reprimanded him and told him that I was disappointed that he would choose to hurt me in order to get my attention and gave him the consequence of losing the privilege of going to get a toy from the Dollar Store with his allowance like we had planned. He got upset and yelled, but as we walked out the door he apologized and changed his attitude. (He still didn’t get the toy, by the way.)
Apparently while this was going on, an older couple was walking out and witnessed the scene. Their reaction was to call the owner of the gym and complain about how I handled the situation indicating that I should have physically disciplined him. They even threatened to cancel their gym membership over the incident, so I received a call from the owner of the gym saying that I am no longer allowed to bring my children to the unsupervised kid’s area.
I really didn’t want to make a big deal out of the issue but I can’t seem to get it off my mind.
Honestly, I know better than anyone that my kids are HARD. I love them so much, but they are overwhelming sometimes. And a bystander might be offended by a naughty child testing their mother’s patience because it isn’t the way they chose to discipline their children.
But here’s the thing… I WANT for my children to be strong willed. I want for them to be persistent. I want to raise leaders who will command attention as adults. I hope that my children always demonstrate courage and strength. I don’t want to “whip them into shape” because I admire the qualities that they are learning to utilize! That doesn’t mean they don’t have consequences for their bad behavior. I just believe that having a meaningful conversation is much more effective than yelling or hitting. Isn’t that the sort of behavior we are supposed to be teaching them to avoid anyway?
I am encouraging my children to be respectful, but I don’t think that physical punishment leads to mutual respect. It destroys trust and will only cause contention and more harm than good.
I appreciate receiving advice and well-meaning suggestions because I know that I am not a perfect parent. I make a lot of mistakes. But I’m trying my best to raise children who will contribute to a society that is completely different today than it was in the past. Our children are facing challenges that are unprecedented and they need to be equipped to handle the situations they encounter with specific qualities that we need to encourage! We have to teach them how and when it’s appropriate to be persistent instead of trying to eliminate that quality all together.