Now, make no mistake about it, abusing children is always wrong. And if you find yourself in this situation, find a good counselor, call your pastor, or contact someone to help you!
What I’m looking to focus on is really the times when you spank for a minor offense which wouldn’t elicit this response under normal circumstances, or when you scream at your child when you’re last nerve just snapped, or when the time out becomes a full afternoon just because the spilled milk was a full jug and the kid wanted to “do it myself”.
I don’t have a magic wand to wave and fix it for you. The action or words can’t be taken back or rewound. But I can tell you, we’ve all been there and done that. There are times (more than I wish) that I’m in this camp too. And I have heard seasoned parents, whom I deeply respect, admit to the same thing.
I am so humbled by my children. At one time or another, I have found myself yelling at one of my three youngsters more harshly than they deserved. I have left them in tears. And when I go off to myself and internally beat myself up, invariably, the child will come to me, seeking my acceptance and love. Here I was the offender and he or she comes back to me. Talk about unconditional forgiveness and love!
We cuddle and kiss. I ask for forgiveness and they voluntarily offer apologies, too. We forgive each other and I vow to myself to try to never respond harshly like that again.
But aren’t children wonderful! They are so trusting and loving. They can teach us a lesson in their own attitude towards us. To love completely is really what it’s all about, to forgive and forget the transgressions.
When times like this occur, the hardest thing to do is forgive yourself. But if your child can forgive you, then you can’t afford not to do the same. He or she sees your value as a Mommy or Daddy, just as you see your child’s value as your precious son or daughter.
Now, if this is a recurrent pattern for you, you may need to consider anger management classes or develop a plan of action to take when you’re ready to lose it (i.e. give yourself a time out and calm down). I have personally found that a consistent time with God has been the greatest help in my life. I’m not telling you that you have to do the same. That’s just what works the best for me.
But I can assure you, no matter how you see yourself or the problems in your life, your child sees a Mommy or Daddy whom they dearly love. The best you can do is to try your best for them and show them your unconditional love! Don’t be afraid to admit that you’ve blown it and ask them to forgive you. You are their model of what a grown-up is supposed to be like. It’s a huge responsibility. But after all, aren’t your children worth it?