We Are Not Born Innocent

Don’t let this adorable face fool you! Unfortunately, he is not innocent!

Micah slapped me hard in the face last night while Rick, my mom and I were watching “Extreme Home Makeover.” It came out of no where but it hurt. My nose was tingling for a few seconds afterwards and needless to say, our cozy little down time was temporarily ruined. He’s hit me before in the face but never this hard. First, I questioned what had just happened, not believing he had hit me with such force and wondering if it was out of “play” or anger. Then, out of hurt and embarrassment, I badgered Rick to take immediate action and give the bruit a good spanking. When his response did not give me immediate satisfaction, I inwardly fumed for the next half hour or so, embittered by what I saw as much ill-treatment directed towards me!

In reflection, it has become clearer to me that we do indeed have a little sinner on our hands. This hitting is not simply the signs of a “stage he is going through” or just the terrible twos showing rearing its ugly head. Sure, the latter may be true to some extent but still the core issue is his little heart, already tainted by original sin and now is the time in which proper disciplinary steps need to be consistently implemented to let him know who is boss (not him;) and what honoring his parents means.

Can he know what honor, fear and respect of mom and dad means at 20 months? Many would say no but I say if he has already figured out that he can hit mom and get away with it much more easily than if he hits dad (he has never hit Rick before), he can definitely understand hitting or using other physical force towards us is inappropriate behavior. Indeed, he must learn this as soon as possible!

My dilemma…I am scared. I am scared because I truly find disciplining difficult to do, much more difficult than I ever imagined it would be. Spanking Micah or being firm with him does not come easily to me and I think this has as much to do with my temperament. Yet, I must prevail or else possibly, worst case scenario, rear an unpleasant bully that no one will want to have around!

So, does anyone relate to this dilemma? I’d love to get encouragement or tips and advice from the trenches!:)

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13 Responses to We Are Not Born Innocent

  1. Johannah says:

    Sus,Take heart. Discipline is supposed to be miserable for all parties involved. But it truly does yield good fruit. I have had to re-learn the “HOW,” with each child because each responds differently. Caelah can be reasoned with, but also understands what it means to have privileges taken away. Elijah needs to be sent off to the bathroom for 5 minutes to cool down, and Gabriel needs spankings. You will learn what Micah needs.Discipline is about seeking to guide behaviour towards the good. You will discover the best ways to guide him because you are an attentive and loving mother.Love, Jo

  2. Grace says:

    Not being a mother I have no advice…but I’ll be praying that God will give you wisdom!

  3. Mella says:

    Oh, I can relate to this, Susanna. Discipline is way harder than I’d imagined it would be. As it turns out the old phrase “this hurts me more than it hurts you” actually has a grain of truth to it. Lately with my son, I feel like it’s an uphill battle. He’s not hitting (me, anymore. I do think that’s a fairly common occurance though), but he is certainly testing limits – constantly.Being firm is hard – and even though we do our best to be sure that he realizes our discipline comes from love…it’s still difficult. Lila is just entering this phase as well – and she knows, even moreso than Alex did at that age, that she’s being a punk at times. It’s going to be a bumpy ride to adulthood with her. I agree with Johannah’s comment about knowing what will work for Micah as an individual. I’ve already found that for Alex, after trying just about everything. Time out’s have had little impact, but the threat of putting him into the shower will send him running to apologize and/or do whatever he should’ve been doing in the first place. Also, rewarding has worked well with him. We have rules on our fridge, and if he listens and obeys throughout the day, he gets a treat after dinner. It could be a cookie or frozen yogurt, or maybe just some stickers or a few minutes playing on Playhouse Disney. Mostly, I keep reminding myself that I don’t remember much about being his age, but I know that my parents were firm with me. I have to trust that even though I sometimes feel like I’m nothing more than a broken record of “No!” – he’ll remember that he was loved more than he’ll remember he was disciplined.

  4. Anonymous says:

    First of all, I’m glad you’re enjoying a week with your Mom. I loved reading her post yesterday, by the way. As for advice on discipline, you know me, I’m in the same boat right now, so all I can say is that I’ll pray for you to have greater wisdom in this area if you’ll do the same for me! While Vivian has yet to get really physically aggressive with me, I feel like I’m constantly dealing with her ever-increasing will of iron. Just last night, when Chris asked her not to do something, she looked straight at him and matter of factly told him, “No!” I always struggle with when to use physical punishment and when to simply scold her. Because of my childhood, I’m constantly afraid of going overboard in discipining her. Ah, motherhood is definitely not for the faint of heart!Hang in there! Oh, and I so appreciate the wise words of the other commenters!Adrienne

  5. Aileen says:

    The good news is that with each child it gets easier. With the first one we found it much harder to discipline than with the third! Each child is uniquely different. But we have always found that we’ve had to change up how we deal with them. Time outs have proven to be very effective for Nick and Michaela but not so much so for Abby. But there have also been seasons where the time outs stopped working and we had to resort to a different form of discipline. One suggestion. In the case where he slapped you, I would say you need to discipline him. Otherwise, he will continue to treat you that way when Rick isn’t around. He’ll begin to hold back when Rick is there, but continue to give you a hard time when Rick isn’t. We have found we have to work hard to get boys to respect their moms, in some ways we didn’t start early enough with Nick and are having to play a little catch up now. That I think in part is because Tim works from home, and instead of dealing with the discipline myself- I just got Tim to do it.

  6. The Matriarch says:

    Praying praying that God will give you much wisdom in dealing with your little Axm…

  7. Anonymous says:

    susanna-As you know, my children are perfect, so I cannot relate to you at all. You are the Mom with the whiny child in the store, aren’t you? Not me…never:)!!!praying for you. I agree that hitting yields spanking back- firmly. that is a total no-no. like all have said, it is a constant, constant beast…daily, regularly. You will begin to see fruit. yOu really will. But it takes time and tons of persistence, and the realization that perfection will never be, so having grace in your heart alongside the firmness.Maryanne

  8. Anonymous says:

    While searching for “topiaries” one day I came upon Maryanne’s blog – which led me to yours. Children are wonderful and challenging! And Micah sure is adorable. I felt compelled to give my two cents as I don’t think that spanking should be used to discipline a child for hitting. What a contradiction!

  9. Susanna Rose says:

    Dear all,I am loving all the advice so thank you all for giving it! I especially felt challenged by the fact that all of you exude grace in your parenting and I need to remember that in all things, Micah’s sins can not and should not over shadow my own! But, regular discipline for ill behavior must still be the aim so please pray for me…let’s all pray for each other!:) This area of parenting sure does need to be approached with MUCH wisdom and prayer!!Love Susanna

  10. Anonymous says:

    I found your blog through Anna from hoperoad. She was a student in my husband’s youth group several years ago. Not sure if you are a reader or not but I would recommend “Sheparding a Child’s Heart”. Very good about addressing “heart” issues while disciplining. I am a supporter of spanking (I have a 3 year old daughter) and she does get spanked. But we also consistently address her heart and try to correct that, not only the behavior. Hope this helps. Love your blog.~Joanne

  11. Heather says:

    Hi, I’m Bethany’s sister and found your blog thru hers…Discipline is tough. I HATE doing it too. It helps me to keep a long-term perspective, which during these toddler years can sometimes be a challenge. I try to remind myself that it is far easier to discipline and establish my authority as the mother now than later. A two year old throwing a fit of anger is far easier to deal with than a four year old who is used to getting away with things, than an 8 year old, etc… The older they get, the louder and longer they tantrum. I go to the scriptures constantly and remind myself that I am being disobedient to scripture when I DON’T faithfully and consistently discipline my boys. (That always sobers me up and strengthens my resolve in a hurry.) And finally, I remind myself that discipline is a tool that will help my children to understand the gospel. One must understand his/her position as a sinner and be willing to place himself under the loving authority of Jesus Christ. What better place to be equipped to respond to God’s call than with parents who love and train him to recognize his inborn nature and respond to authority. (I second the rec for Shepherding and also LOVE Don’t Make Me Count to Three which I found easier to relate to with the younger kiddo’s.) It’s a tough job, but you can do it! Hang in there mama!

  12. Susanna Rose says:

    Joanne, I am thankful you found my blog and I love Anna’s blog so am interested to know you used to be her youth leader! I do definitely plan to read “Sheparding A Child’s Heart” in the near future…actually a friend and I want to read it together. I am excited to see what I learn!Heather, I have looked at your blog a lot too by way of Bethany’s site and thank you for commenting! I agree with you that it is better to get a hold of it now than when Micah is 4 or older! And I too find the old 123 method works well on the whole but…if only that worked all the time!;)

  13. As a pastor and family therapist I can understand your concerns, but what you said “My child is a sinner” is at the heart of the problem. Many today, even in the Christian community, do not favor spanking, and obviously when other discipline approaches (time out, adding chores, loss of priviledges) work then I would say use them. But behavior sometimes needs more than to just be “modified.” At times it needs to be retrained and controlled. I’ve heard so many say that “spanking leads to violence.” I would say that todays generation is the most unspanked and the most violent that we’ve seen in years. I believe Ginger Plowman, Tim Shepherd, and Dani Johnson are correct – there is a big difference between a spanking and abuse. A good spanking is at times needed as a part of the training process.

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