This morning I spoke on BBC Radio about the smacking ban in Scotland. Personally, I think a smacking ban is a step too far and could lead to extra pressure on parents who are merely surviving through the juggle of these early years of raising kids. It’s a magical time but it’s also the hardest thing you will ever do. I don’t think extra criminalisation of parents is necessary, there is enough judgement out there. Also, where do we draw the line? If a parent grabs their child’s arm too hard to protect them from jumping onto a busy road, will they have a police officer coming to arrest them? Where is the balance?
On the flip side, I think smacking should be avoided. If an adult was acting out of line, we wouldn’t give them a smack. So why should we smack out kids? We need to practise what we preach. If a child is out of line and gets smacked, it is showing them that violence is acceptable. It is teaching them that violence is a good form of punishment. It’s normalising aggressive behaviour. But it’s hard. Kids know how to push our buttons. There have been times I have felt my hands shake and I have been so tempted to give the kids a good smack on the bum. Raising little people can be extremely stressful and I have written about those challenges openly over the years to break the stigma (this article held nothing back).
We all want our kids to grow up in a calm and loving household, but life isn’t perfect and some days stress can take over. Some days it can feel like it’s simply one challenge after the next. These little people can provoke intense emotions and I think it is important to admit that smacking can be tempting at times. Here are some tips that have helped me manage my short fuse over the years, with the inevitable challenges that parenting brings.
Removing yourself from the situation is good in order to do some deep breathing and calm down. If you are out near a busy road this may not be possible, but certainly at home I find it helps if I close the door and take a minute or two to pull myself together.
Turn up the music
A distraction can be a powerful tool. Recently, both of my kids were arguing in the back of the car and I felt the short fuse start to spark up. I was tempted to scream at the top of my lungs and let off some fireworks, but instead I turned up the music and felt much better. They soon calmed down as they were distracted by the bass. I think Charlie even started dancing. I love the way that kids can snap out of things so quickly. One minute they may be at war and all of a sudden they are best friends again, as if nothing has happened. We can learn a lot from these little people.
Becoming a Mum made we want to be a better person, the very best version of me. Being aware of how bad we would feel if we were to lash out and loose control of our temper is key. I have shouted louder than I wanted to over the years, which scared the kids. I have then given them a huge hug and apologised. I try and remember these hugs to stop me getting too worked up.
They say that if we spend more time in prayer and meditation that there would be no wars. I agree. Taking some time out to be still and reflect is so important for our minds. The busier we feel, the more important this is. I found that after my mindfulness course I had more patience with the kids. When we work on ourselves and our own personal development, we have more armour to deal with these adorable little rascals.
I love essential oils. My Mum made a lavender spray for the kids which they love. Essential oils are great for calming us down. There is no denying the power of scent. Why not put some oil on your wrist and give it a good sniff. Or even better run a nice oil bath. Sometimes we do a spa afternoon at home when the sparks are going off on one.
You got this!
Ps – I just asked Bonnie what calms her down when she gets angry and she said jumping on her trampoline. This reminds me – of course exercise is brilliant for this to. Go for a walk, a brisk run and go and punch a boxing bag. It’s great for saying bye to the temper and hello to the mojo.