Side Effects of Parental Aggression
Dating as far back as I can remember, the old paddle on the butt to teach little Billy a lesson is teaching him nothing less than a loving lesson. It is assumed that if Billy gets the paddle after pulling the curtains down for the 13th time this month, he is sure to never do it again. But, is Billy truly grasping why he shouldn't pull the curtains down, or is he merely being conditioned to know that when he does it again he should brace himself for a sore bottom?
Of course, you wouldn't simply allow him to do this without some kind of consequence. That is when you answer that one question every child asks at least a million times in their history of adolescent years: "Why?" As an adult, you wouldn't punch your friend Angie in the face if she kept telling all your secrets "by accident" in front of your crush. You'd, most likely, pull her to the side and tell her why she needs to shut her big trap. So why punish your kids in a way that makes them afraid and feel pain? Life has its ways of doing that on its own eventually.
Your friend, Angie, would surely sue you or just keep her distance if you were to threaten her and reminded her of all those embarrassing secrets she's told you as a way to scare her into keeping her mouth shut. How you explain yourself and your feelings is crucial. After all, it's not what you say, it's how you say it, when it's all said and done.
The things you say to your child sticks to their psyche—even when you think they're not listening to you. So, if you tell them things that will hurt them emotionally out of anger, they will believe these words as truth, even after you've apologized and explained how you were just really, really upset with them. Their conscious mind may forget it for a awhile, but that pesky subconscious is what ultimately effects their true self-esteem.
Yelling at your child may seem like you're simply letting them know who's boss, but this only shows them that yelling is the only way to feel respected in any situation.
Finding the Medium
Many parents resort to either physical or verbal aggression because that is how they were raised to some extent. They were falsely lead to believe that acting this way will prevent a problem child and/or reckless adult down the road. After all, they turned out just fine, right? Wrong. Had they turned out "just fine", they'd be a bit slower to wrath and things could have gone a lot differently in their lives thus far. Words hurt, especially from the mouths of those closest to us. Even if you're not on good terms with your parents, you will still manifest the things in your life based on how they made you feel the most as a child. We unknowingly fight to heal our childhood wounds as adults because there comes a time we all seek our purpose in life that will ultimately lead to our more fulfilling form of inner happiness. Be it through drug experimentation, enduring abusive relationships, or worse...suicidal/homicidal tendencies.
In order to effectually teach your child right from wrong without making them afraid of you and their peers, tell them why they shouldn't do something. Often times, we do things out of curiosity. For example, an old friend of mine has a son who is going on 5 years old. Completely aware of the attention he will get if he pokes the television, he proceeds. Countless times he had been told "No!" and smacked on the hand as a consequence every. single. time. Yet, he does it again. Of course, being the patient child whisperer that I am, I simply told him what would happen if he kept poking the television. Apparently, the fear of the T.V falling on top of him taught him the lesson he needed to learn all along in order to no longer even go too close to the television. Lesson learned. No harsh words, no scary voice, no red marks or tears, just an explanation.
Children are the future. Prevent them from living a difficult life filled with egoistic ways to handle their problems and merely give them the knowledge they yearn for.