Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Children want their own way... Who doesn't?!

One of my reasons for blogging is to see mySELF from a different perspective. This being said, I intend to blog about all of the most difficult things in my life.
The most challenging for me right now is raising my children, my 4 year old in particular. While this is also the challenge for me that hands-down brings me the most joy and rewards, on the flipside it also stretches me the furthest and makes me question myself more than anything I have ever done.
I read on the National Child Project website "Our vision is a world in which all children are treated with dignity, respect, understanding, and compassion. In such a world, every child can grow into adulthood with a generous capacity for love and trust. Our society has no more urgent task." (http://www.naturalchild.org/home/) It is followed by an intensely awakening interview with Alice Miller http://www.naturalchild.org/alice_miller/violence_kills_love.html.
Here is my ultimate challenge: I have a difficult time letting my child be "out of control" of her emotions. I have an impulsive need to help her out of this mind-set the instant she gets into it. I have read many books and so I have a lot of tools in my kit, but if things don't change almost instantly, I reach for my threat to smack her. Smacking her is violence. Violence kills love. AM says "Spanking is always an abuse of power. It is humiliating and it creates fear. A state of fear can only teach children to be distrustful and hide their true feelings. " And so I am teaching her to squash her true feelings and distrust me and her own emotions. I understand why I do it: corporal punishment was a horrible reality in my own family, growing up, and while it wasn't used against me, I was so traumatized when it happened to my siblings that at a VERY young age i made it my job to try to keep everyone from getting out of control, in a desperate attempt to try to keep the violence from occuring. Now intellectually, I know that I have nothing to fear anymore -- that my children can be as out of control as they want to be and nobody (including me) is going to inflict any violence on them. But the fear is so deep and so ingrained that the reaction comes up before my intellect knows what is happening, and ironically, it is that same violence that I fought against as a child that I threaten my own children with.
I spent my entire childhood trying to stop the violence from happening, only to turn around and inflict the same fear on my own children. INSANITY!
Last week SRJ wanted to take a little family photo before she left and sweetA wasn't cooperating. She started to get crazy and I threatened her (not with smacking -- I can't even remember the absurd threat I made) to get her to cooperate. SRJ later made the simple statement: "She's a child and she was behaving like a child. Why couldn't you just let her be?"
And since then I've been wondering the same, myself. Why can't I just detach and step back and watch her be crazy?
Well, the answer is I can. Just watch me.

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