Monday, May 19, 2014

Punishment Can Make Or Break A Child's Self Esteem

Punishment can make or break a child's self esteem. I learned how to stand up for myself as a child.

In the latest Life Class episode Dr. Shefali Tsabary talked about new methods of parenting. Punishment was one of the main focuses of the conversation and soon an audience member chimed in about his experiences. He said when he thinks back on how his parents raised him, he's grateful. He said he was grateful for being grounded and for other old school methods. However, not everyone feels the same way.

Some children grow up and become grateful for being hit with a belt, but more often they don't. Some are scarred for life and some become more defensive toward everyone else. I remember getting in trouble growing up and it made me more mad than anything else. What was I doing wrong? No one explained it to me. I was hurt by someone who was supposed to love me. I was mad and hurt every time I got hit with a belt, was sent to my room, or was screamed at.

There was a time I was given the latest R. Kelly C.D. My mom took me to the store, let me pick it up, and paid for it at the cash register. I was so happy. We made it home and I listened to it for as long as I could. However, family members were in town. They found out what my mom had done and told her I was too young to be listening to that kind of music. She immediately took the C.D. away. I was so mad that I stood up for myself. I said something along that lines of how I really wanted it and it wasn't fair that it was being taken away from me after already being given to me. She couldn't handle that, so she took a belt in front of everyone and beat me. I spent the rest of that night in my room crying and becoming more angry. I had to be angry. If I wasn't angry, how would I ever be able to stand up for myself? How would I ever be able to handle anyone who thought I didn't deserve something or just didn't see the best for me?

So I did have some times where people walked all over me. They bruised my ego and then wondered why I wasn't as happy as they thought I should be. However, I recovered and toughened up.

The girl who went from being my best friend in high school to making threats on my life (she even told a teacher) tried to become friends again once I was in college. You know how Facebook brings people back into your life without actually being in your life. She found me on Facebook and I accepted the request. I pressed accept because it was a way of saying, "I forgive you," but at the same time I was not the gullible 14 year old anymore. I forgave her. I really did. However, I couldn't be best friends again. We couldn't exchange secrets and laugh together anymore. The time had past. I couldn't be as open with her. It upset her and she soon disappeared out of my life again, but I stood up for myself. I knew what was best for me.

The anime obsessed man didn't understand how we were not equally yoked. I was in college and he was a couple years older than me. However, he acted as if he was 18. He hung around a lot of young people, wasn't enrolled in school, and could barely hold onto a job. I liked him upon meeting him, but quickly realized that a relationship wasn't going to work out. I had to stand up for myself and rejecting him pissed him off. I pissed him off more than once. The first time I told him I wasn't that interested in him, the second I left somewhere that he was with one of his male friends, and the last time he tried was before a birthday. He asked me to help him plan it out, but then when it came I purposely didn't show up. Nothing says, "We're not meant to be together" faster than not showing up for their birthday. But I knew what was good for me.

Actually, being punished as a child taught me more than how to stand up for myself. It taught me how to be secretive, how to be gentle with others, and how to hurt another person. That last part makes me afraid of becoming a mother. I don't want to hurt my future child for than left him/her up.

If you were punished as a child, what did it teach you?

1 comment :

  1. corporal punishment never worked on me, so my mom resorted to taking things away. That's the only thing that worked for me. I missed my stuff, or whatever book I was currently reading.