One day, when my daughter was about 17 months old she started whacking/batting at me while I changed her diaper. So, after telling her to stop and not getting the response I wanted, I swatted her upper thigh with my open hand – knee jerk response. I didn’t connect with enough force to even slightly notice, but none the less, in her eyes, I hit her. In fact, she shouted at me, “Mama don’t hit me”, in the very same tone I had just told her to stop batting/hitting at me.
I had just told her to not hit me.
Then, I did to her exactly what I told her not to do to me.
Do you see the problem here…
Violence creates violence.
And punishment/discipline (spanking) is retaliation.
Years later, I came to realize something in addition to the obvious here (hopefully obvious). Somewhere along the way, an awareness came and I realized how it feels to “be told”. My daughter told me once, “ALL I HEAR is you TELLING TELLING TELLING.. but what you’re saying, I have no clue!” In our home, we use the word “listen” to mean, “my heart wants to be heard, please let your heart hear”. Listening is not compliance or expectation.
Some time around this event, I learned how to communicate my needs and preferences, and stop the “telling”.
If we wish to be heard and treated with respect, then we must first provide respect to others and when we speak to others, speak with them, not at them.