Last night I realized that Hunter and I are ready for a new dynamic in our parent/child relationship. Hunter was playing with his toys in the living room while I was matching clean socks on the couch. He came running at me and before I got the chance to glance up, he had hit me in the face with his toy screw driver. It wasn't a tap... He hit me full force. This was new, he had never done anything so aggressive towards another person.
I took a hold of his arm and told him sternly, "We do not hit. Be gentle." and then I gave him a spanking on his bottom. ( I did not hit him hard, but just hard enough for him to know that it was not a positive thing.) His lower lip immediately pouted. We were right next to his little chair, so I told him to go sit in his chair.
What happened next was both heart breaking and inspiring. He went right over to his chair and sat down. Tears started streaming down his face, but there was no crying or yelling that usually accompany them. He just sat there calmly, but sadly. Of course, as a mother, I Hated to see my son sad. But, on the other hand, isn't that the very reaction that we hope our children have when being disciplined? He obeyed my instruction, he didn't throw a tantrum, and he seemed to understand that his actions were not acceptable.
After a minute, I extended my arms to him and he quickly got up to be embraced. I held him tight and told him I loved him and want him to be gentle with other people. And then I just held him, prayed over him, and thanked God for such an amazing little man that I had been given.
That experience was my first with disciplining him with more than a stern "no" or "don't touch" or a very brief and unsuccessful timeout. It gave me the wisdom to know that he is ready for a more mature approach and that he is capable of understanding. It gave me hope that I won't have to constantly discipline, but when I do, I have the tools to be able to do it effectively.
*My way of disciplining are not directly from "Parenting By the Book" by John Rosemond, but has been a huge source of reference and guidance to me.
**I'm very aware that many people have opposing views regarding discipline, but please keep in mind that we all have different ways to raise our children and I can assure you that I am not hurting my child.