Where the heart beats and not the hand…#Iwillnot
Early Childhood Association with First Moms Club and Born Smart recently conducted a survey on ‘spanking’ with 1790 mothers and the results were that 77% mothers spanked their children! The study was published in Times of India and Hindustan Times on 15th February. (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/77-of-moms-raised-hands-on-their-children-survey/articleshow/62922957.cms) (https://m.hindustantimes.com/india-news/survey-shows-77-parents-spank-children-at-home/story-zNNnm3jsFKshnpcCKPSOYO.html )
Our vision behind this survey was to support rather than judge parents. We know that parenting can be both exhausting and exhilarating. It is in the exhausting times that a parent may lose control and resort to hitting, spanking, or pinching their child. We are here to help you overcome the hand that hits and help you make it the hand that hugs. Parenting is where the ‘heart beats’ and not the ‘hand’.
Its time to practice ‘mindful parenting’.
The common reasons why mothers said that they spanked their children are:
1. Struggling to bring up children alone, as the father rarely participates, so overwhelmed all the time.
2. Inability to control her anger, irritation, and frustration.
3. Trying to juggle home and career and ensuring that the child is well looked after, or giving up a career and finding it frustrating.
Some mothers even wrote to us saying- “ I hit my child but it’s for the child’s best interests and its ok for mothers to once in a while hit their child, afterall they love them so much”.I don’t judge mothers who hit their children but I definitely judge mothers who condone it, because there can be no excuse to resorting to violence when it comes to children.
Don’t men who hit their wives use the same excuse?? When did love become violence and when did love give you the sick power to hurt, humiliate and hit? If you really love your children then let your heart beat for your child and not your hand!
Look at what’s happening around you today, young teenagers are killing, hurting others, violence has become a norm, acceptable. Children learn by imitation and when you try to control them with violence then they learn that violence is the solution for everything in life. And when you try to condone that violence by saying that ‘I hit you because I love you’ then you are bringing up ‘wife beaters’ and ‘acid throwers’. Love never, ever hurts or harms! In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “punishment hardens children” and that is exactly what we are seeing today, children who have hardened emotions who kill, hit and harm because empathy is dead. How did it die? It was beaten out of the bodies of our children.
I am not going to be soft or considerate in this blog, as it is time we as women realized that giving excuses of frustration does not give us the right to physically harm our children. A physical harm that scars our children for life. Come on women..mothers…are you saying that you are so weak that you take out the frustrations of life and husbands on your children? You are much stronger than that. You are the stronger species and that is why you carry the child for 9 months and you are the nurturers and protectors. Don’t give in to momentary weakness and end up hitting, pinching, and slapping your children.
Most mothers who come to me for counseling admit that after hitting their children they feel guilty and then go and hug their child, say sorry and give them gifts. This teaches children that violence is a way of showing love. What kind of husbands and wives will these kids grow up to be? They will be husbands who beat their wives because they ‘love’ them and they will be wives that take that beating and pass it on to their children, because they ‘love their husbands and children.
Its time to ensure that with our smart phones even our parenting styles are getting smarter! Its time for ‘mindful parenting’. Mindfulness is all about realizing when your emotions are racing ahead of you, when your emotions are taking over you, listen to your beating heart and control that hand that beats.
I am not going to enumerate the negative impacts of spanking children because you don’t need a reason to stop hitting your own child/ren, you need control, self control. So tie a red ribbon on the hand that you use to hit your child, this will be a constant reminder that you have to control that hand and the red will remind you that instead of seeing a red mark of a slap on your child it would be so much more loving to see the red mark of a kiss on your child.
If you are finding your child stubborn, irritating, unreasonable then realize that your child was not born that way. Remember that cherubic angel you held in your arms? When did that angel become ‘Dennis the Menace’? Something you did or did not do as parents led to this transformation in your child, well then there is something that you can do as parents that can once again transform your child, all you need is a mentor, seek one.
Promise yourself that you will not push your child on a ‘merry go round’ of violence, because remember, children who are beaten..beat, it’s as simple as that. Just because you are a mother does not give you the right to beat your child and that is why in most countries it is illegal to hit or harm your child. Its time that ‘Mother India’ also stops hitting their child and stop making excuses like, ‘its just a small phatka’, ‘its for the child’s good’, ‘ it hit because I love my child’, etc.
Become the parent, the mother whose heart beats for her children and not her hand. Go on your Facebook, twitter, instagram and become an enlightened and empowered mother by posting #Iwillnot
Come become part of this campaign to ensure that mothers are known for nurturing and not for harming and that mothers are stronger and can control their hand when it comes to taking care of the heart of their lives…their children. #Iwillnot
Dr. Swati Popat Vats