Raising Mari

A couple of days ago, I had a conversation with a friend about raising kids.  I have  one year old and I realize I raise her differently than how many of my friends and family raise their kids. My friend doesn’t have kids but wants to in the future.

I was telling her how someone told me I should whip my child to break her from being bad. Now, I have nothing against parents who spank their children as punishment for misbehaving. I cannot tell anyone how to raise their child but I will not whip my one year old, who is just now figuring out the world around her.

When someone says a child needs to broken in by whipping, it makes me think of slavery.  Slave owners used to beat their slaves to break them of bad behaviors. To strip them of their identity so they would become the person Master wanted. To beat them into submission. These scars and “teachings”  are still carried today by many black families.

I refuse to beat my child into submission or to break her spirit.  I will not instill in her if she makes a mistake or tests her boundaries she will be physically harmed by the person who is supposed to protect her. I will not teach her she cannot explore the world around her without fear of punishment. I will not strip her of her identity because she doesn’t do things my way.  Don’t get me wrong, I do discipline when needed but without causing physical harm or fear.

Yes, she can test the boundaries sometimes.  She can be defiant and even mischievous but she is one. She is this little girl in a strange world trying to figure out what she can do.  It is my responsibility, as her mother, to teach, guide, and help her grow.  It is my job to pick her up when she falls, to let her know it is OK to try new things and to make mistakes. Most of all, it is OK for her to express and be who she is.

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