Our world is filled with fallacies and ironies. There is nothing new to that. Parenting is no exception. I have chosen to avoid hitting my daughter. I get questioned on how I reprimand her behavior. I receive criticisms for being lax and complacent on her. I have seen and felt aggression and hostility growing up, both directly and indirectly. I refuse it between me and my child, as possibly as I can. I get angry. I scold her. I know I have spanked her a couple of times, she negates it. She says I don’t. Those were not spanking.
The thing is; when a child hits a child, we call it aggression. When a child hits an adult, we call it hostility. When an adult hits an adult, we call it assault. All these behaviors are perceived as negative behaviors. But, somewhere along the line, when an adult hits a child, we call it discipline. It is perceived acceptable. On a personal note, that makes it questionable. Such frame of mind suggests that adults hitting, being aggressive and hostile to children is okay. Then, we expect children to show kindness; in most cases, adults demand it.
It should not make much difference. When a child hits a child, it is an aggressive behavior. When a child hits an adult, it is a hostile behavior. When an adult hits an adult, it is assaultive behavior. When an adult hits a child, the behavior is aggressive too. It is hostile. It is assaultive. The intention may be to discipline but the behavior isn’t.
The inconsistencies and double-standard culture we express leads to permissiveness of this violence. The road to tread is determinable for children. There is but a fine line to these children being aggressors or victims in the long run. It breeds the cycle in the minds of the children; willingly or unwillingly. In most cases, it is an unwilling impression made over the repeated occurrences.
When a parent hits a child to get him/her to behave better, that parent is telling the child that hitting someone smaller or weaker than you is an acceptable way of getting what you want from them. Hence, children who are hit identify with the aggressor and are more likely to become hitters themselves. That translates to bullies and future abusers of their own children and partners. They tend to learn to use violent behavior as a way to deal with stress and interpersonal disputes.
On one end of the line, when parents permit themselves to physically discipline their children through hitting, the parents are at the risk for becoming an abuser. The trusted adult becomes an abuser over whom the child cannot get angry or resentful. The children eventually learn to submit into the aggression and hostility accepting that there is nothing wrong with hitting. It becomes a vicious cycle in the children’s life as they grow. They can turn passive-aggressive. They refuse to be hitters and abusers but passively to a certain slightest grain, accept this as a certain acceptable norm. They struggle through the resistance and tolerance of it. Often times, ending as the bullied, abused or victim.
Cultures after culture over the course of history have found ways to justify hitting children. We even have a term for it. We call it “tough-love”. Yes, there are different languages of love. But love on its own is not about a tough core. It is not about hurting or manipulating. Love is tenderness and not being stern, stringent, harsh, hard-hitting, uncompromising or unsentimental. Love is caring. Being careful negates being unsympathetic, thoughtless, insensitive, indiscreet, unguarded, incautious or inadvertent. It is not heedless of, unconcerned with, indifferent to or oblivious to the welfare of the other.
Simply, if we see it is a wrong against another person, it is wrong against our children. If it is a wrong against adults, it is a wrong against children.