There is a Limit

Express

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 

*****************

Little Timmy had been expressing himself for several hours. Wandering around the house, he had streaked mud on the floor and the walls.  He had used his finger paints on the carpeting. He had smeared the contents of his diaper on his crib and the wall during his  “nap.”

He had dumped his bowl on top of his head at lunch, banging his spoon on the tray and hollering for more. He had flushed his shirt down the toilet. He had used the bathtub for a urinal. He had run one of his Matchbox cars on the table top, leaving a tangle of scratches.

Then he turned his attention to his mommy’s yarn basket, knotting up the  strands so badly that she threw it out in despair. When he took the arm of the stereo and moved it back and forth across the record she’d been playing,  something big snapped in Mommy’s head.

She took his little earlobe between her fingers, pulling him into the kitchen where she found a little wooden spoon. Divesting Timmy of his diaper, she bent him over her knee and whacked his backside.

 

1200px-discoloured_wooden_spoon

He screamed, “NOOOoooooo!  Hurts, Mommy!”

“I know.  You’ve been hurting me all day.  Time for me to express myself, young man. Enough is enough!”  And she whacked him again.

While they were making up, him sobbing on her lap while she hugged him, he said, “I sowwy, Mommy.”  And she said, “I love you, Timmy, but there are limits on how you may express yourself. Well, tomorrow is a new day.  But I think we’re going to keep this spoon in plain sight for a while.”

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/express/

 

PS.  Some of you may be horrified that this child was admonished in such an old-fashioned way.  I know it’s not politically correct to spank a child these days.  I can only tell you that if more moms and dads had used this quick and impressive reminder on a recalcitrant child, I wouldn’t have so many unhappy, rebellious teens sitting in my counseling office complaining that their parents don’t understand them.  The child in this little story is not Timmy.  He may recognize himself. He’s a happy, contributing, well-adjusted adult with children of his own.

32 thoughts on “There is a Limit

  1. marvel

    Uhhh, that’s violent. And yes, I belong to the people who completely reject violence, especially against children!
    There are difficult children and difficult phases but never justify beat as punishment.
    Consequence is important and I had sometimes problems with this. But I also had children who were stubborn and did not stop yelling.When it was too worse, I carried her into her room, went and closed the door. That was punishment enough. My daughter jumped against the door and got tantrums, but after half an hour I could take her in the arm and then everything was good again.
    Children need boundaries in any case, but the limits can also be set without punishments and violence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we come from different generations. Two whacks on the bottom is not a beating. This child was one whose stubborn streak could withstand just about any amount of being isolated in his room, and talking was useless.

      Like

      1. anie

        Well if you get completely angry I may understand two whacks on the bottom, but not as a punishment, than it was an affect, without planning.This is also not good in my eyes but this is something the kid will survive without bigger damage. And well, my parents did not beat.My dad never ever, my mum some times in affect on the bottom (only if we were not fast enough to run)…; )…

        Liked by 1 person

    1. marvel

      sorry, but you have to ask yourself why the child reacts like that? Has it understood what you want him to do? Is the child getting attention only if it is naughty? Excuse me, I’m not a supermama, and I’ve been rude to my children aswell sometimes, but hitting with an item? There is no way for me! The time that you spent for the penalties can also be used in attention and love in the moments where the child is particularly good. Children learn fast!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes agree!
        Neither have I used an object for hitting. Neither will i wait for all this mess till my anger explode in that way. I just imagined the scene and think about the mother’s reaction. This may be the way she brought up but this also does not mean she does not give them enough love and attention. Hope my point is clear and thanks for sharing yours too

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I just trashed a very nasty comment. I don’t mind anyone disagreeing with me, but I won’t be insulted and accused of child abuse. There was no abuse. If your child responds well to nothing but love and affection, then you are most blessed. Not all children are born with such gentle natures or biddable spirits.

        I appreciate your input, and I understand your concern. I do not advocate child abuse; there was no abuse done to this child. And of course, I understand that others will see it differently.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. This child got tons of love and affection. He was very bright, and understood clearly what “NO!” meant. He would continue pushing the limits until he dropped in his tracks from sheer exhaustion, with his mother not far behind. We’re not going to agree, marvel, and I’m sorry about that. I simply do not see a couple of spanks as violent, beating, abuse, etc. It got his attention and solved the problem. Done.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. anie

        Hmm, I am so very sorry because you have served as a model for me in all things so far. In this case, I wonder if Jesus would have beaten? I hardly know the Bible. I grew up in a normal german Catholic family in my generation. The reason why I came a bit closer to god the last months was, that I know that the behavior rules of god are absolutely important for our world, nothing else. But this rules Count in most religions I think. For me, this means absolutely non-violent.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Anie, it’s good to hear from you 🙂

        Please understand that this was not a “beating.” It was two short swats that got the child’s attention and corrected his attitude, which had been growing worse as the day wore on. This was an extremely strong-willed child who took a great deal of watching, teaching, training–who understood NO and would look at his mother and do exactly what she had just said NO about.

        I don not advocate beating little children. I am amazed, although I shouldn’t be, that what this mother did is being interpreted and violence and beating. I shouldn’t be, because I know what the child psychologists and social workers are saying about physical discipline. I agree that there should never, ever be a beating. What happened in my story was NOT a beating. The child’s heart was very soft toward his mother afterward, and his behavior did a complete turn-around. All the talking, correcting, redirecting the mother had done all day long did nothing to change his behavior. He was a little tyrant. Stronger measures were needed to help him understand that NO means NO! I believe that, because of the prevailing societal attitudes against physical discipline, we have become afraid. What is more sad to me than almost anything is to meet parents who are afraid of their own children because the children are completely out of control, afraid of nothing and no one. Often, they are violent toward their parents.

        Sorry to go on so long here. This is a complex subject, and of great concern to me. Again, I do not advocate beating children. A quick swat administered in a timely manner will save a child from even worse behavior, and no harm is done.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I read somewhere that to spare the rod, spoils the child. If a child touches something hot, they get burned. It’s quick. It’s instant.They don’t touch that anymore. So it is with a couple whacks on the behind. They learn instantly that action is wrong. I don’t want to get into a disagreement with those who don’t spank. Please do what is right for you. I was spanked and I loved my mother, unreservedly, until she passed away!. My kids were spanked and as far as I know, they don’t suffer from anxiety. They, along with my nieces and nephews, visit me every week, and leave their kids with me when they go on get-aways. That speaks volumes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re referring to Proverbs 13:24. It’s just one of the passages that mentions physical discipline, and of course it can be taken way too far. Moderation in all things.

      Thank you for reading and commenting. A little support is nice 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. anie

        Without communication / discussion, however, you will not be able to understand and like the other person. So I find that it was very good that you wrote what you feel. I usually avoid such discussions, but if you like a person you should pronounce it …:)

        Like

  3. anie

    Hmmm, the wooden spoon, putting the kid on the knee and also the expression was in the translation very hard, so that it is no wonder, that people get upset, because we must always protect children. Of course I see the problem nowadays that the children dance around on our noses. I also do not know why the respect and the sensitivity of the children is so diminishes.

    Like everything in our society, it is probably also a problem of communication. You mean, you have expressed yourself clearly and a “no” would be understandable. But how can you be sure that it is for the child understandable? Often nowadays “no” means “yes” and vice versa.
    Here I have a very fitting song in mind:

    here the lyrics:
    https://drlrcs.com/i/VpqjKnnOH1e8/max-raabe-und-das-palast-orchester-ja-und-nein

    If humanity were to understand, we would have no problem, but they do not understand themselves, even if they take pains. one has to learn to understand this by moving into the other person.
    In children, I find it astonishing when this ability is no longer present, because actually children have this ability by nature.

    Giving love cannot be a fault! When people tell me that I have very nice, polite children, I often say, everyone gets the children with whom they just gets along. I always thought that because I often thought that I could not get along with such aggressive children. But who knows, you grow with the tasks. If I would get one more child, it would be certainly a great screamer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Anie. I’ll look at the song and the words. Speaking for myself, I know when my little ones began to understand NO! By the look in their eyes, by the way they said it themselves when they were offered food they disliked–oh yes, a child understands NO before he is two!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. anie

        yes, hahaha, you are right, I meant it differently. Our society is corrupt. People are no longer honest. Before you show bareness, you lie and hurt the others. I mean these “games” in the “Soaps,” all the dishonest dramas that are there. Children learn quickly if they are “parked” in front of the TV or watch other children behaving like this. And that makes all the interpersonal things so difficult today.

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  4. Hi, Linda. Coming in late and skimming through the comments, I see you’ve raised a sensitive and controversial issue.:)

    Of course at the root of discipline issues is usually the humanist idea that children will always be good unless taught otherwise. Which is not true, but has led many parents to ignore bad behaviour and/or nag. One mom told me, “If David misbehaves, don’t hit him. I’ll give him a lecture.” David himself, as he got older, thought his mother’s lectures were a big joke.

    The idea is, “If you explain to a child so he knows…blah blah blah.” Fact is, sometimes children “DON’T WANT” to listen and “AREN’T GOING TO!” They will even slap you or kick you if you try to restrain them — whether they have ever been hit by you or not. One boy was hitting a little girl over the head with some hard toy and wouldn’t stop when told. So the babysitter slapped his hand and he did stop. The mother, later, was horrified the sitter had HIT her son. So how long was the sitter supposed to allow the girl to be bashed?

    I’ve always believed that if you don’t discipline your children, life will. Kids who grow up thinking they can do anything they want sometimes end up in jail — and there the big bad boys will teach them to listen and the lessons won’t be nice. Or the child will go through multiple emotionally painful breakups before he finally realizes that his/her sweethearts aren’t going to cater to his/her every demand. I’m sure you’ve seen oodles of that. Better a few spankings when they’re young so they learn bad behavior can result in pain. That’s LIFE.

    I’ve seen and experienced violent discipline, where a parent finally explodes and the “discipline” is a beating. This is never right. I’ve seen parents who — though they’d never hit their child — get so angry they hurl painful words like “stupid”, “you NEVER listen!” and “going to kill you!” that beat the child emotionally. I’ve read that putting a child in isolation is very bad because the child will sit there full of anger and/or feeling rejected. Their little minds get busy justifying their own actions and thinking how mean their parents are. Better to get the discipline over with quickly. I can see some merit in that thinking.

    One thing I tried to teach my daughter, now a parent: Child discipline starts with disciplining yourself to say “No” or “Stop that” only once. If the child doesn’t immediately listen, get up and DO SOMETHING about it. This may not be a spanking or any physical punishment. But make sure they do what they are told. If your kids learn they can ignore you and nothing happens, they are being trained to disrespect you.

    So I’d say the Mom in your story should have taken the child in hand a lot sooner because he was pushing —deliberately— and would keep on as long as he was allowed. I spanked a boy once (child I babysat) for deliberately doing what I told him not to, and I explained to him, “I want you to listen to me and grow up to be a good person, so I need to punish you when you don’t listen.” I didn’t make much impact through his jeans, but when he stood up, he threw his arms around me and said, “I love you, Auntie!” Such a precious moment!

    A spanking — or any discipline — should always end with an explanation of the long-range goal and a cuddle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anie

      I cannot agree in all respects, because I have simply lived differnent with my children and many, many children who grew up very closely with my children. It always went with insight and love and there were also difficult times. It was never so brutal as it was for example was with me and my brother.(because we simply grew without supervision and the parents have not noticed).
      But I have also experienced children who are difficult and there probably my type will not succeed. These children have grown up differently, they are accustomed to different sounds, are not so delicate, and will certainly be able to cope with a rough hand.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. In many cultures children are taught by word and example to respect parents and elders, no matter what. That certainly helps. When parents talk, the children pay attention. I had an elderly friend who told me, “Our father never raised his voice. If he said, ‘I wouldn’t do that if I were you,’ we wouldn’t dream of going against his word.”

        That respect doesn’t exist in North America today. It may still be taught in some homes, but not many. In our society children ignore their parents, or even order their parents around and expect their parents to obey. So a few words won’t do much for most children here.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Anie, I don’t expect everyone to agree. What you and I do agree about is that all kids are different, all experiences are different. As a teacher first, and then a counselor, I’ve seen the sad results of both physical abuse and a far too permissive approach. There needs to be a balance.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. anie

        I a gree w other you! Also I only have little experience in this subject. I always react in a way my stomach want to. This simple cannot work out always. You are much more thinking towards future. And you have much more experience. I juste feel that there a re lots of kids which are completely lost, do not know what to do in this world…I think they hate themselves,because of how they behave because they make everything wrong, just to be loved. But parents should never be obedient and lost!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks, Christine. I appreciate your support. You’re right–I did stir things up. Many truly believe that smacking a child’s bottom a couple of times is abusive. I don’t agree. I know some places have made it illegal to spank, and I know they’re going to reap the rewards of taking power away from parents. Spanking is not THE magic fix for disobedience, especially if it is overused. And it should be used only for obvious, deliberate disobedience. But old fogies like you and me are just flapping our gums these days 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s not that people know how, or understand, and just won’t discipline. I’m afraid most people’s sense of obedience to authority has been lost. The Dr Spock fans were persuaded to let children make the decisions and now only a few families have retained the concept that parents should be in charge and children should submit to authority.
        I just about choked when I read this advice by an editor with regard to writing stories for children: Parents should be seen and not heard. The problem with too many stories is unruly parents. Parents and grandparents who get involved and try to help the child find a solution to his problems.” Not verbatum, but you get the idea.

        Liked by 2 people

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