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Would you purposely hit your car’s engine with a hammer?

Would you throw your Ipad out the window?

Would you shake your working TV till it breaks?

Would you rip up your holy books?

We have all probably hit (or at the very least clenched our fists to) some inanimate object.  Whether it be the vending machine that ate our money, or the car because it stopped working, or the classic “punching the wall” scenario for just about anything.

There is a common denominator in all these situations: something did not work the way we expected it to. This disappointment quickly turns to fear that this will never work again or give us what we need, then frustration hits us, anger settles, rage takes over and flooding the rational part of our brain. We the unconsciously react with a fight response, as if our livelihood is being threatened.

It is against the law to destroy the American Flag and blasphemous to destroy the Bible. If you strike another human being you are arrested for an assault. Yet parents have the right to hit their child, our most vulnerable and precious gift, from God none the less. People even cite the Bible to defend this so-called disciplinarian approach.

I guess if the definition of discipline is to teach like Jesus did to his disciples, “spanking,” is teaching children. It is teaching them…teaching that when you feel out of control (i.e. people not behaving how you want them to or think they should be) that you can hit them to do what you want them to do.  Then magically they are supposed to learn not to hit, or they will get punished for hitting the person who has more power and control. Ironically, “hitting” is the lack of control of one’s physical, mental, and emotional capabilities.

I can see how spanking seems to “work” as the child will eventually submit and comply out of fear and desperation. Yet spanking destroys so much more than eyes can see as well as significantly impacts brain development and relational integrity. I also understand that anyone who spanks is really doing the best they can with the resources they have. We must consider the resources that were given (or beat in-) to them, and so on. If we react with blame, shame, and punishment, then we continue to strengthen the fear-based brain connections. We must find more resources to respond with love and trust as well as reduce toxic stress for all humankind to transcend the grips of fear and violence. Fortunately, the easiest and most effective tools are free to everyone: DEEP BREATHS, ears to LISTEN, arms to HUG.

Now, I can barely scratch the surface of this issue in this post but hopefully, empathy, compassion, and love will prevail.  If you are interested in some non-violent information or research on how physical punishment harms, here are some links:

Oh, and my hunch is no one one would purposely (consciously) hit or break their working technological devices nor destroy their patriotic and religious artifacts they believe in.  We lose control when we are under stress and do not know what to do. Maybe we can empathize with children’s stress when they are acting out.  What are we really afraid of…our children’s future?… failing as a parent?…losing control?

Would you please be open to seeing life through your child’s’ eyes or remember how you felt when you were a child?

Would you please become conscious of your reactions and learn some new resources or skills so our children can learn respectful, healthy ways to communicate needs and process negativity or stress?

Would you please let go of fears and control for how you think things should be and just BE (a) PRESENT?

Our children’s minds, bodies, and souls are always working, very hard in fact. Would you please believe in and nurture them?

 “I have never met a person whose greatest need was anything other than real, unconditional love. You can find it in a simple act of kindness toward someone who needs help. There is no mistaking love. You feel it in your heart. It is the common fiber of life, the flame that heals our soul, energizes our spirit and supplies passion to our lives. It is our connection to God and to each other.”          ~ Elizabeth Kubler-Ross


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