Parenting without punishing

Where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to make children do better, first we have to make them feel worse? Think of the last time you felt humiliated or treated unfairly. Did you feel like cooperating or doing better? – Jane Nelsen, Author and Psychologist

If you weren’t aware, my mission in being here is to shift the cycles of disrespect, abuse and violence towards children, share ways to support healthy parenting, and help adults heal from abusive childhoods. I see this as a way to stop what I call the ‘15,000 year Trauma Paradigm’…violent conflicts and wars.

I feel that understanding the history of these patterns and the point of origin within the family dynamics are essential. The history of child abuse is often seen through the family dynamics in how children are related to.

I’m hoping that what I’m going to share will not be minimized or thought of as irrelevant considering the widespread effects of emotional and sexual abuse, poverty, neglect, starvation and more. But this form of discipline is held as very ‘acceptable’.

It is discussed as obedience training for the child to know what is best for them. It is used as a way to get children to be respectful to adults, and held as part of cultural traditions. It is discussed as generational norms, and in fact, entrenched in beliefs in schools, judicial systems and countries around the world.

It’s called corporal punishment which includes hitting, spanking or whipping. The true motivation is to induce fear. This is a hierarchal, authority-based and punishment-based obedience training which uses short-term reactive thinking in teaching children long-term skills for social interactions, self esteem, and development of innate attributes.

Somehow it doesn’t feel the best way in which a child would want to learn these skills…any child!

If someone hits an animal, it’s abuse. If a husband hits his wife, it’s abuse. If an employer hits their employee, it’s abuse. Why is it different for children? Why are children considered second class citizens to be run by authoritative dictates?

There are many researched, scientifically backed studies that prove spanking is detrimental, even occasional hitting. In ThetaHealing Technique®, we are taught in Intuitive Anatomy that physical (along with sexual) abuse shows up on the ascending (right) colon.

What illnesses might come from these actions if held in the body? Some children are so sensitive that even shaming words towards them is taken into the body and registered as physical abuse. Hitting and spanking is physical abuse.

How many of you got hit or spanked as children and think that there were no feelings that arose from this…no anger, no hurt, no unfairness, or no personal boundary violation to the body?

How many of you thought and still think that your family had a right to do this, and it made you a better person?

How many diffused the punishment and abuse in thinking, ‘They can’t get to me. I’m more stubborn or stronger than their punishment’?

What kinds of beliefs do you think this kind of minimization or denial might hide?

Why would physical punishment be a good way to learn how to interact in the world?

I wonder what the Inner child feels about this if we really went deep inside to listen.

Children don’t learn appropriate behavior or respect from being hit. They either learn to avoid doing things or to please others so they aren’t hurt. The effects are that they can become withdrawn at different levels, can become reactive or become violent-cycle perpetrators.

A motivation of spanking, even if the parents say, ‘I’m doing this because I love you’, is not love. The parents are confused of what love really is.

Though the child will learn what is expected, what happens to the deeper level of the child’s psyche and their understanding of love?

How many of you are aware of displaced feelings that did occur when this form of discipline was used? This would then be a place to start working to dig and clear the beliefs.

Even if you have a great relationship with your parents now, leaving dissociated feelings ‘stuck’ in the past and not dealt with allows projected patterns to propagate in the present. We are wanting to become conscious, evolved, and enlightened adults, and all these patterns, with the feelings attached, are thus important to clear.

Discipline involves teaching and redirecting. We succeed as a parent (or within other settings where children are taught…like schools, spiritual or religious organizations and clubs) by modeling healthy, appropriate behavior that helps children develop important attributes and virtues. We succeed in relationships as adults by acting in ways that emanate these virtues…love, caring, patience, boundary setting, kindness towards other and oneself, discernment, compassion, tolerance and more.

As adults, it’s important that we use reasoning and communication skills to teach our children what’s workable and what isn’t without resulting to violence including shaming.

Do you feel that hitting a child who is smaller and weaker, supports the development of virtues that can be easily and lovingly integrated?

What happens to children when they learn that violence is a way to communicate their needs, even verbal violence? Have you heard of ‘good shaming’? What happens when they become adults communicating their needs?

Do you feel that learning punishment and hitting is a way to deal with world issues of disagreement?

Vianna was sharing in a telecast some years back, she spoke about learning virtues by saying, “In my opinion, there is nothing in our lives that doesn’t matter, nothing we’ve gone through that doesn’t matter. I believe that on a subconscious level, we pick these challenges to refine us as souls and as spirits…if we would focus on what we really wanted to be, we could get these attributes in an easier way.”

So why not skip making it difficult for our children? We can learn the skills for ourselves and then support the children in a more caring and easier way?

There are so many children being born with wisdom, intuition and creativity apparent as soon as they can sit up and communicate, sometimes before. Many parents are teaching their babies to use sign language to speak their wants and needs rather than crying. It’s not that crying is a ‘bad’ thing, but there are better (more fruitful) ways that can be learned early on to get needs met. This is similar understanding as learning not to hit children…there are better ways.

Conscious parenting doesn’t involve being doormats to children’s ‘whims’, behavior, and feelings. It also isn’t about authoritarian ways of exploring the world and how interactions are handled. There is a difference between authoritarian and authoritative ways of supporting children to learn emotional regulation and social skills.

It involves educated, long-term planning of goals and development. The parents’ guidance can help direct the child’s lack of skills, and ways to thoughtfully foster those important virtues and attributes into healthy skills.

There can sometimes be the child involved in decisions of their behavior where appropriate. This can help them to learn accountability by allowing them to decide consequences that are related, respectful and responsible (the 3 R’s of disciplining).

People rarely take a course in parenting unless they are studying child development. Why not? It’s one of the most important jobs in the world, if not the most important.

I was grateful to be introduced to parenting classes when my oldest with almost 3 yrs old. I took 8 years of classes with other parents as well as home studying to learn to work with my children very differently then how I was raised.

At the time, I lacked confidence and didn’t have the support within the family structure and with their father. Then my own issues arose along with a divorce.

I still applied these new skills when I left though– with my children, their father, and with the new relationships I was forming. I wondered if I could ever make a difference in it just being me practicing and applying these new ways. I attempted to remember that I didn’t have to be perfect. Consciousness is an evolution.

Today, my oldest daughter and her husband have taken parenting classes and have a support group in exchanging ideas and suggestions in raising their children. My other daughter has also had support groups for healthy parenting.

Remember the quote: “It takes a village to raise a child.”? There are creative ways to parent with no hitting, spanking or punishment. They listen to their children’s needs using different ways to be present.

In becoming a grandmother some years ago, something happened when I received this title. I didn’t think I wanted to be called this name as it made me feel displaced, unacceptable, and put in a box of ageism to be judged by society as approaching geriatrics forgetfulness and senior citizen discounts. I felt too young to be seen this way.

But those perceptions changed. Interestingly, in what I experienced in attending the births of two of my grandchildren, was an overwhelming feeling of deep love, amazement, grace and the grateful responsibility to make it even more different for them and this new generation. I could care less what others thought about how long I’ve walked on this planet and how the body reshaped in that journey.

To me, the importance of life shifted in seeing every child as this precious spirit attempting to express themselves, learning how they could make a difference in being their unique selves and thus changing the world. I may not be a part of every child’s personal life, but I’m interconnected to their presence on this earth as I am with everyone.

“I believe the children are our future
Teach them well
And let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty
They possess inside
Give them a sense of pride
To make it easier
Let the children’s laughter
Remind us how we used to be.” (Whitney Houston sings in “The Greatest Love”)

With gratitude and love for learning a different way,

I extracted possible ‘theme’ beliefs from the story. For ThetaHealers, you can Energy test yourself, practice clearing them through digging if applicable, and use Creator’s teachings, including the ones below, if they fit. For everyone, you can say ‘yes’ to yourself to receive each individual teaching.

  • Hitting a child gets them to be respectful to others in the best way.
  • Spanking a child makes them strong to deal with the world.
  • Spare the rod, spoil the child.
  • Children need to be hurt to know limits and boundaries in the world.
  • Punishment is the best way to discipline.
  • Shaming keeps children humble.

Helpful Creator’s teachings/downloads

I know what it feels like to, how to, when to, that it’s possible, that I can, I do (or I am/am able to be)

  • The difference between authoritative and authoritarian parenting.
  • To set boundaries and limit without punishment.
  • To teach respect without being disrespectful to the child.
  • To listen to the child so the child can listen to you
  • Creative ways to hear a child’s true needs in their behavior
  • To help the child change their behavior or acting out by listening to their explanation and finding the true motivations.
  • Parenting without shaming the child
  • Difference between love and punishment
  • Discipline as long-term planning of goals and peaceful development for the child
Follow Judy Dragon:
Author - Healing practitioner since 1979 - ThetaHealing Master, Certificate of Science, Instructor since 1998 - Specializes in the education & healing of childhood trauma - Dancer - Gardener - Grandmother.