Debola and Olaposi our seven year-old daughter and five year-old son always get the beating of their lives anytime they make a mistake (small or big) whenever their father is home. I am not saying I ‘spare the rod’ on such occasion but most of the time, I reason with them. Can’t I break a mug too? Can’t I mistakenly slip on a remote control too? Can’t I be ‘careless’ too? And can’t I fail my test or exams too even when I prepare so hard? All these I have learnt from my parents, not to transfer my frustration on any child.
I have tried relentlessly to convince my husband to be easy on them, but he believes strongly that if you ‘spare the rod’ then you are destroying their future. So whenever something mistakenly slips from the hands of either them or probably something is forgotten in school or something is not done right, then we will experience a tsunami and possibly earthquakes in our house. Their dad will shout and spank so hard, hard enough that they will not forget in a long time. Thank God we are in Africa, else I would have been the one to call 911 myself and not wait for the children. Don’t get me wrong, he is a caring and loving father who can give them anything and even spoil them with gifts … but to spare the rod? …not at all!
The last incidence really got me thinking that my family really needs help, especially my husband. On the dining table this morning, My 7 year old Debola mistakenly spilled her tea on her school uniform and as she was trying to contain the situation because ‘the fear of her dad is the beginning of wisdom’ she broke the mug on the tiles. Oh no! Her brother who knew the consequence started crying. Their dad had threatened to use any broken item (plate, mugs or cups) as a mark on the body of whoever did break another plate or mug on the day Olaposi broke his plate. Debola ran to her room and locked up. We couldn’t reach her. I couldn’t make it to my shop and my daughter couldn’t go to school either. I was at her door pleading and apologizing while her dad had to take Olaposi who had gotten a sound slap for crying unnecessarily to school.
When she finally came out at 1pm, (I guess she was hungry and tired). She was shocked to find me at the door. She leaned on me and then I found myself weeping unconsciously.
What should I do?
Are your child’s mistakes a doorway to your anger? Or do you view them as opportunities to help your child grow and learn something new?