I was talking to a friend this past week. My friend ran to his dad and told him the car wouldn’t start. “What’s wrong with it, son”? Said his dad. My friend said that there was water in the carburetor. he said,”You don’t even know what a carburetor is!”. “I know, but I’m pretty sure because the car is in the lake”!
My friend’s dad was so slow to anger. He would take a deep breath and think before responding which is something that was very unfamiliar to me. I grew up in a household where there weren’t deep thoughts but rather deep wounds. I’m not saying there were deep physical wounds. Oh there was plenty of scary physical punishments for sure, but the psychological scars for which I’m still getting therapy.
I think my friend’s father did what was right. Never punish children while you’re very angry. That’s where lines get crossed and things are done that can’t be undone. Many parents, including my children have systems for doling out punishment that fits the behavior of the transgression. I love to see that.
I think it’s very important for a child to know why they’re punished. How will there be education about what to do in the future if there is no understanding of the offense. Without it, there certainly won’t be.
I had an aunt who was ridiculous. If she thought she caught her kids doing something wrong she would smile. If she found out that she was wrong she would punish them anyway. They would ask her why they were being punished and her answer? “General principles”. What the heck does that mean?
Let’s be fair to kids so they grow up and are fair with their own kids down the road. That the general principles answer would replaced with “I’m sorry. I made a mistake” instead of needing to be right and punishing anyway.
I yelled at my children too much. I wish I could do it over again. In fact, I yelled way too much at strangers too. They were only doing their job but if it didn’t suit my immediate need, I would make them pay. It was terrible. Most of them didn’t deserve it and I was way too tough on them.