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Discipling a toddler may not be the easiest thing in the world. However, using anger to do so will only hurt them emotionally, as this mom learnt.
There are many beautiful experiences in the world. One of them is the experience of wrapping your arms around your baby and calling it a night. Every night, I am blessed to bask in the warmth of my child’s embrace listening to her numerous of stories of the day. She holds me like I am some prized possession kissing my nose or making herself cosy while tucking herself as close as she can be.
Every night my heart swells with an immense gratitude and love that almost borders on the divine. However, one night after I whispered to the usual ‘I love you so much,’ to her, she looked straight into my eyes with innocent wonder. Then asked me with a genuine concern, “Then why did you scold me today mama?”
Managing a toddler is a task in itself and most of the times, disciplining one seems like a Herculean task. To manage the situation, I resorted to giving ultimatum to keep her age-related tantrums in check. Gradually, those gave way to me losing my temper very frequently and scolding her.
I am aware that nothing makes sense to a toddler exploring the world, but I also took for granted my authority on her and my right to disciplining her. Meanwhile completely forgetting that she is an individual who very closely also absorbs the emotional treatment meted out to her. The fact that I observed her earlier that day scolding her dolls in the exact same language I use, made her question further emotionally challenging for me.
That night in the glow of the soft light as I looked at her innocent eyes, I realised that I had failed her. And that I was on my way of becoming a monster. That was something I did not want to be.
When did this change happen in me? And when did I transform from a sensible mom to one who is so careless about my behaviour towards the child who is the world to me? When did anger become justified?
I held her closer and kissed her tiny cheek in an attempt to undo the hurt in response.
“That’s because you were being naughty and mama could not handle you,” I finally replied.
Then, “Why do you say that you love me?” she asked matter of fact.
“I am sorry okay?” I said.
“Yes, it’s okay,” She replied with a maturity that baffled me for a moment.
“Thank you,” I told her.
She wrapped her arms around my neck like I were the most prized possession (while I reflected my feelings) and slept off in my arms. Like nothing happened. And like she understood that it’s okay to make mistakes once.
As I held her in my arms, I could not help but shed a tiny tear full of love, guilt and lots of gratitude. Disciplining a child is important, I realised but encouraging the anger that comes naturally while doing so is not right.
While it might work for the moment, it might have an everlasting impact on the emotional health of a child. And may transform an erstwhile sensitive little human to one that believes in the justification of uncontrolled and impulsive emotions.
Boost the emotional health of your child. Exchange anger with calm explanations and consistent guidance. It is all worth the while.
Picture credits: Santoor hand-wash ad on YouTube
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A Social Media Content Writer by profession. A writer by heart. A genuine foodie. Simple
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