Today when I was packing up our bag to leave for the little berry’s NUH appointment, I suddenly heard GY shout at her. I rushed over to the kitchen, thinking that she was in some danger or was on the verge of hurting herself.
I saw her sitting on the kitchen high stool with a torn page out of one of GY’s beloved childhood books. Then I understood why. GY was trying to stop her from tearing out the page from the book from where he was, which was the toilet.
Many thoughts went through my mind…
Was this act of hers intentional? I have seen her tear out pages because the angle at which she was flipping the book was weird and by turning the page anyway, she ended up tearing it.
Which leads me to my next question, did anyone see what actually happened? Because I didn’t, and I cannot say for sure whether she was willful in tearing out the page knowing that she’s not supposed to, or it was truly an accident because she doesn’t have that finely developed psychomotor skills.
My next question was, did GY have to shout at her?
Given that he was a short distance away and somewhat incapacitated by his toilet-going, I felt that it was a harsh thing to do to a 1+ year old child. Regardless of the act she was doing, unless it was to prevent an injury or stop a dangerous act, none of the bible verses I’ve read nor books about Godly discipline has ever recommended shouting as a way to communicate with a child.
I’ve read accounts of parents who, driven to desperation, shout at their kids to get their attention or obedience. The results? The kids do obey, for a while. They obey out of shock, out of fear, then they grow used to it. The parents then need to shout louder, more frequently and the home becomes an unpleasant place to be. Shouting has become a language, honed by the parents.
I don’t want that for our home. I don’t wish to see shouting as a way of discipline, or expression of frustration in our household – ever.
It’s not Christlike, it’s not effective in the long run, and it sits Satan firmly on the throne in our home.
The little berry was visibly shaken by the incident, her lips quivered and she started crying. I didn’t know if she was crying out of remorse or plain fear.
She needed to be taught and disciplined at that moment, yes. But the way it was leaded out was wrong.
Looking at her, I could plainly see that this wasn’t the “beautiful picture of disciplining that reflects God” we’ve been taught to follow and mead out. It made me disappointed, angry and frustrated. I know God gives grace for our parenting mistakes, but I’m also keenly aware that the way we treat our children will leave a deep mark on their lives, even from a young age.
Lord, both GY and I have feet of clay. Today it was him who shouted at the little berry, perhaps on another day, it could be me. Lord won’t you forgive us, make it known in our hearts where we’ve sinned, and if we’ve hurt this child you’ve put in our charge. Give us the wisdom and patience we desperately need to discipline her and to communicate with her, and each other. In Jesus’ name, amen.