The New York Times had an article recently reporting that “shouting is the new spanking”. Parents who wouldn't think of spanking their children are instead yelling their heads off. And the experts think it might be just as harmful. Apparently my kid is going to be seriously screwed up because this week I did both. Talk about guilt.
I'll admit that we tried spanking a few times a couple years ago because no punishment seemed to work with Cash. But we never had the heart to hit him hard enough to really hurt him and he just mocked us. "I liked it, I liked it, spank me, spank me," he would say, shaking his booty at us. I quickly realized that it just wasn't the way to go and as we all know, it sent the wrong message. We were saying that he shouldn't ever hit anyone and yet we were hitting him.
But on Wednesday, I had to take both kids across the bridge to Ikea to buy new mattresses for Cash's bed.
We ambled around exploring the different departments and had an early dinner. We were enjoying ourselves. But by the end, Cash was getting antsy and started rolling himself around on the flatbed cart. When we entered the warehouse and it turned out that the mattresses were out of stock (until the next morning), I was irritated. That meant that I'd have to make another trip out there. As Cash got wilder and wilder with the cart, I had a hard time controlling him. I was pushing the stroller with one hand and holding the cart with the other. I started yelling. I can only imagine that the young couple behind us with an infant thought I was insane and that the mom and dad looked at each other and thought, "We won't be like that." By the time we got to the car, I was losing it. We were parked in a narrow space and I was holding the door open for Cash so that he wouldn't push it wide open and dent the other car. Instead of telling me that he was having trouble getting onto the seat, he kept pushing against the door. At this point, we had been at Ikea for more than two hours and I just lost it. I pulled him roughly out of the door and swatted him on the butt while yelling at him. It certainly didn't hurt but I think it shocked him. He started crying and I told him to get in the car and to "use his words" the next time he was having a problem.
I felt terrible immediately. But so did he. As soon as we were seat-belted in, I turned to him and said, "I think we should both apologize." I told him that I was sorry that I had hit him, that it wasn't something I wanted to do but that I had been frustrated. I told him that love him. He did the same.
That night my husband and I went to see Where the Wild Things Are. When Max went wild because of his wildly fluctuating emotions, I started crying. I kept crying through the whole movie. The movie reminded me of the vulnerability of my 6-year-old boy. Inside, there are so many things going on. It is no wonder he has trouble controlling himself. All I wanted to do was to go home and hug him. Next time my emotions get out of control, I will try to remember what that movie taught me.