This post is an abrupt about face from my last happily dapply one. Today I'm writing you from the bottom of the dark damp pit that is anger, depression and alienation. Hello, my old friends. It hasn't been so long, after all?
The cause: the total misunderstanding that stemmed from one of Juliette's tantrums. Monday she tried to slap me as I was putting her in her high chair for her snack (which she didn't want). I immediately picked her wriggling body up and put her in the playpen in Remi's room (we were at his parents') and told her to calm down. I didn't hit her back. To me that seemed illogical to say, don't hit mommy, then for me to spank her. It seemed contrary to the message I wanted to send, that hitting is wrong.
Of course, she started wailing. She knew she was being punished. She started getting hysterical. So I went back in there and tried to talk to her and at one point did give her leg a little slap to bring her back to reason. But she continued howling. Remi heard about the whole situation from his parents and later said I should have spanked her right away. The insinuation was that I was coming off as weak and not in control of my daughter in the first place as she tried to hit me.
This of course is wrong. I know from reading parents' forums online that toddlers hitting their parents or others is quite common and part of this phase of their life where they "test" things out. It is important to react, I'm not denying that. And I did react, immediately, by putting her in time out. This is where I apparently differ from just about all French people. Because since said situation, Remi has been telling me that so and so agree with him that spanking would have been the best solution right away.
Now I'm not entirely against the occasional mild spanking but I'm totally against it becoming a routine way to punish. My pediatrician is in fact against it all together. It seems to me to be the easy way out for parents. No need to explain and reason with the child. Just the threat of the hand. It's not the only way to discipline your child, that's what I want to shout out! A child also needs to understand why what they did was wrong, to learn to say sorry, to realize during their time out that what they did has landed them in isolation.
It's just starting to get to me big time that I'm always (or nearly so) in the minority when it comes to parenting views around here. No one takes me seriously when I say that when a child doesn't want to eat that yelling at them and giving them the uneaten beans from lunch at snack time is NOT the right approach. Ok, I get frustrated like the next parent and get testy when I see Juliette pick at her food. But I'm trying to find the best way to get her interested in food without dunking her head in the bowl. (Rest assured, that's never happened).
And now it's the entire French population who seems to think that the parent who doesn't spank tout de suite (right away) is coming off as weak (see this article which does show there might be some cultural background for this). And will probably have a demon child at the age of 15. There was talk of having an anti-spanking law here (as in Sweden), but most people scoffed at the idea.
If I have to repeat it ten times a day, I will. I am NOT a weak parent. I'm not a perfect one, but I don't let my child walk all over me either. And I'm sure she'll grow up to be a sweet and lovely person, despite her toddler tantrums.