Dads Discipline

14 Dec
Deutsch: Historische Federzeichnung einer schu...

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Words that are forever etched in my psyche are: “just wait until your father gets home” and that was enough to get me to do absolutely ANYTHING my mother asked just so that I could avoid what I knew was coming. Just thinking about those few words instantly takes me back to my childhood home in Eshowe, it’s about 5 o’clock in the afternoon and the smell of dinner cooking on the stove is wafting through the house while my brother and I are running around the lounge. There are probably many people in my generation that got a hiding/smack/thrashing depending on the nature and severity of the offense or amount of patience your parents lost with you. I wasn’t a naughty child that got a hiding all the time but when I had crossed the proverbial line, I knew that my father would be there. Within my family, he was known as a strict uncle who didn’t waste time talking more than twice and even our pets knew the hairy eyeball.

The discipline began with the torment of waiting in my parents bedroom! That on its own was enough to get the water-works flowing real good. Then came the choosing of the Tool-of-torture (a thick leather belt at night or a stick from the guava tree during the day), the hiding (where I TRIED to run around while catching it to E.A.C.H syllable of the said “lecture”) and then being sent to bed. One thing I do remember, was that my mother at those times would come to my brother’s defense, rescuing him from the rest of the said torture.

I’ve heard friends and other moms say that they feel justified in smacking their kids (for the right reasons) but that they find  it difficult to allow their spouses to discipline all the same. They’ve felt like the fathers were harsher, smacked harder or spoke too sternly. It just so happened that we were travelling back home, enduring another SIX HOUR long road trip with a toddler who had had enough of his car seat. My husband was understandably reprimanding our son for something but a part of me cringed and felt like he could have been gentler yet I knew in the back of my mind, if Sam was with me, that poor child would have got a lot more decibels out of me and I would have felt completely justified – what a hypocrite?!

When we hear the terms “discipline” and “father,” there appears to be a natural connection, but often with negative overtones. The idea of a father as one who punishes or is an authoritarian figure runs deep in our culture. Yet, fathers have much more to offer than only helping their children learn self-control and social rules, and their role involves much more than punishment. You have to admit that children definitely benefit from having both parents in the home because the styles of parenting in itself is so unique. Yes, both parents aren’t always together but having a father figure present is important nonetheless.

There’s an interesting article I came across called: Gender Wars which points out how men and women parent differently.

Lester and I threaten to smack but never do. We try distraction A LOT and it works mostly but could it be, since most of the responsibility of rearing a child falls on a mother’s shoulders that we condone how we discipline as opposed to our partners methods? I don’t know for sure but all I do know is that I would welcome a spank from my mother any day because spanking is for monkeys.


One Response to “Dads Discipline”

  1. dearfriends December 16, 2011 at 1:53 am #

    Hello Corrine,
    I’m shaking my head at our culture’s difficulty in understanding about how to raise children without smacking them. It was truly an eye-opener the day my husband and I looked at each other with the same thought: “We don’t allow our child to hit her sibling or her friend or us. And yet, we think it is okay to hit our child.” What kind of message is that? That was it. We never spanked our kids again, and you know what? They never needed spanking again. We found other ways of TEACHING the “refrigerator rules” for being responsible, respectful, resourceful and nice to be around. What a good post to have people THINK about the whole issue of physical punishment vs. teaching lessons. Thank you, Barb


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