Spare the rod

Candice Nolan / Oct 23, 2017

Spare the rod

The court’s gone done it! Corporal punishment outlawed in the home. Or, at least, one is no longer able to hide behind religion as a defence.

Interesting. I will be keeping an eye on this case. I have long been opposed to corporal punishment. My parents are proponents of this form of discipline. And I got my fair share of “hidings” – as we called them.

It only made me fearful. So afraid, that when I was hopelessly failing maths in grade 11, I hid my report card. I also experienced a number of hidings that I still feel were unwarranted.

One example. I was 9. My elder sister had a bird – a budgie – in a cage, as a pet. She would let said pet fly around the room for exercise, after carefully closing the doors and windows.

One afternoon, after school, my sister was running late. I thought the bird might need exercise after being cooped up all day. But I forgot to close the balcony door. 

I spent fearful minutes searching the sky, praying, willing the bird to return. I’m still waiting. Needless to say, sister gets home and after hearing me plead my case she pronounces “Just wait till daddy gets home”.

I think I might have wet myself. Those were agonizing moments. I really didn’t mean for the bird to fly away. It was an accident. But nobody believed me.

Dad came home. My sister got to him first – laying a case for how jealous I was that she had a pet and how I deliberately left the door open. I cried. I pleaded: “No, it was an accident!”.

But the verdict was set and the punishment swift. 😔 It still makes me sad. This is one of the reasons why I made a conscious choice not to use this form of discipline in our home.

I follow the UK based “Love and Logic” approach, introduced to me by this very same sister. We were products of the same approach. She may have her own reasons.

To do this, I need to do alot of work on myself. Examining my reset buttons. Triggers. Continuing my journey of mindfulness. Guarding my thoughts and my words. Especially my words. An angry word cuts deep.

“You’re a mistake!”, my dad seethed with anger after I gave the same old defence when I’d broken a plate. “Butterfingers”. “You’re so clumsy!” Hurtful words.

I do not blame my dad. He was just doing the best he knew how. He spoke out of anger. I don’t think he even remembers saying it. But I intend taking those experiences and turning them into lessons – for myself as a parent.

The rest of baby’s village is not on par with our approach to discipline. We can only hope they learn the empathetic way, and move away from the idea that children should be seen and not heard. I trust they will as they speak/act out of a place of love. We all have much to learn.


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