I am second to the eldest among children of 6. Between my eldest sibling and I, I am the one "more disciplinarian" when it comes to my younger siblings especially to our youngest. There are 15 years difference between my youngest brother and I. Or is it 16 years? Doesn't matter. But what I am trying to get into writing to this entry is how I have disciplined my youngest brother back then. Why am I disciplining my younger brother back then, you may ask? In the Philippines, part of our culture for younger siblings to have big respect to their older siblings and older siblings tend to be authoritative over the younger siblings. And that's good especially the part of being respectful to older siblings. But then the latter part has a dangerous part in it... see the supposed "authority" may be abused. And I may have to admit that I have abused mine perhaps, misused or overly imposed.
I've seen how my mom takes care of all 6 of us and with my younger siblings, I'd see her sometimes having a hard time between keeping the house clean and taking care of us. She gets really tired and when my younger siblings on top of that, misbehaves or does not obey her, it drives me batty and I'd interupt pretending to help my mom or at least take her "off load" from the task of disciplining my siblings. And I can get hard on them :(. Now that I am already a mom myself, those memories of disciplining my siblings makes me feel ashame of myself. My husband and I chose attachment parenting for our Little Spanish Pinay and the more I get to understand how attachement parenting is and my babies or kids act this way or that, the more these memories of disciplining my younger siblings flashes back before my eyes and gives me a tremendous feeling of guilt.
Not that I have hit my younger siblings until they bleed or leave them bruises or anything like that to be categorized as legal child abuse. But I have yelled at them. I have refused to listen to what they have to say. I have insisted on having them finish their food down to the last grain. I've forced my youngest brother to go upstairs (almost dragging him through the stairs while he cries) and make him stay in the room until he is able to "reflect" on his "wrong action". I smacked his palm as what is termed nowadays as occasional spanking as a form of discipline. And although my intention is for him to learn something for his own good, no, I can't and will not use that to justify what way of disciplining him. All I can do is recognize that I have done wrong, chose the wrong direction and be ashamed about it and most of all never do these things to my own child. I thank God that my wrong decisions didn't cause serious damage to my siblings especially to my youngest brother. And I still have a very good relationship with them. I even receive a great amount of respect from them which I may not deserve. Because children, are forgiving naturally. That is the wonderful truth.
Am I saying that I will never hit my child even occassionally to discipline her when she's misbehaving? Yes. I know it will be hard as anyone can lose his/her patience when faced with all the pressure of the day's tasks and a child's misbehavior. But I will do everything I can to avoid hitting her even in the slightest manner... including not to raise my voice. It will be a hard task and I am sure, being human, there will be times that things may go out of my control.
Will I spoil my child by choosing this direction of disciplining her? No I don't think so. I am not saying either that we'll just let it go everytime our little one do something wrong or something dangerous for her or for the people around her. We are choosing positive discipline along with providing all the respect, affection, attention and encouragement that she needs.
I am not trying to make a conflict about this at all and I am not trying to say that parents who choose occasional spanking to discipline their children are bad parents. Not at all. This is just my personal reflection, realization and choice after being able to open my eyes with an alternative to occassional spanking.
Let us say motherhood has changed me and my views about child rearing and about life in general. And I know it is for the better. Especially for Little Spanish Pinay whom I live for together with my husband. I feel really positive about it and it makes me feel a better person than I was.