Last Saturday my sister-in-law had a welcome home party for her newborn. One of her friends who has two daughters came by. Fifteen minutes later, the eleven-year-old girl wanted to go home because she was bored. Her mother told her they they just got here. The girl got mad and punched her mother in her back. The mother who is one of the sweetest ladies I know didn’t respond. Later on when we were sitting around chatting, the younger daughter (seven or eight years old) came up to her and asked for something. She didn’t allow and once again she was punched by the younger daughter.
Seeing kids disrespecting their parent in the public breaks my heart and I feel her pain. We’re in a similar situation with Dao. I get infuriated when he hit his little brother, mom and grandma. I do not tolerate that kind of behavior. The problem is that words have not registered into his head. When he hit me, I told him, “Do not hit me. That’s not nice.” He hit me again and I told him, “You hit me one more time and you’re going to get slapped.” He hit me the third time, I slapped his hand a bit hard so he could remember what would happen when he hit people. I reminded him, “This is the punishment you get when you hit people.” The situation reminded me of how I used to deal with bullies in middle school. Of course, he screamed at the top of his lung as if I just beat the crap out of him. He learned his lesson then, but then nothing registered.
As a parent, the guilt of hitting your kid hurts you more than it hurts him, but what can I do when talking to him is like talking to a wall. My wife has a different approach. Whenever he hit her or other people, she distracted him by directing his attention to something else. The problem with this approach, as I see it, is that she’s not addressing the real issue. Avoiding it is not a solution. I don’t like using that method. I want a more direct communication. I want him to understand that hitting people is not appropriate. If he does it to us and we don’t respond, he’ll do it to other kids his age. I am sure other kids will beat him up if he does that to them. That’s the kind of things I would like to avoid.
Last Friday, my wife and I had a heated argument about it. She gets tired of hearing him cry almost everyday. I feel the same way, but it is better to discipline him now before it gets too late. As always, I lost the argument; therefore, I am backing down and let her do her things with him. I just hope that as time goes by I won’t witness what I had seen last Saturday.