I don’t mean an old-fashioned spanking. I mean when you were angry or frustrated. You let your emotions get the best of you and you did something you regretted. Maybe it wasn’t a physical hit. Maybe it was an emotional wound. You yelled. It frightened them. You blew it. They looked at you with confusion. They didn’t know how to process what just happened. You regained your composure and moved on. They likely didn’t.
If you’ve experienced this, we need to talk. And when I saw “we”, I don’t mean you and me…I mean us and our children. The tendency when we screw things up is to try to leave the moment in the past as soon as possible. That may feel best for our own conscience, but I don’t believe it’s the best for our child. In fact, I think children grow up allowing those moments of confusion to shape their world-view. They quietly question whether they are really loved, and if God is always on their side. They wait in fear for unexpected retaliation from others.
Hitting…yelling…emotional outbursts of anger…everyone knows these things are wrong. This post is not to justify these kind of actions. However, just because something is wrong doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be talked about. I’m no expert, but I believe much of the long-term impact of these events on your child can be curved by taking the time to talk it through.
As parents, we have a responsibility to continually release a blessing on our children. That means keeping them constantly aware of the God-given potential inside them. Set the record straight. Let them know they’re loved and special to you and to God. Even if it happened 20 years ago, clear up the confusion and tell them you blew it. Apologize and make sure they know it had nothing to do with them or your love for them.
BTW – If you’re seeing a pattern of physical or emotional abuse in your home, please go get help. Talk to your Pastor or a counselor. Get the help you need to be the best parent you can!