Let's get one important thing straight. There's a huge difference between hitting your child e.g spanking and beating your child. The latter isn't up for dispute, at least not in my opinion. But the former...now that one can get interesting.
If you're part of an Arab/Middle Eastern community, you might find yourself or others ridiculed for taking a softer, more 'westernized' approach to discipline. Let's face it, Arabs like to hit their kids and can be very creative about it too. Enter exhibit A
What you've never been threatened with a flip-flop or as we like to call them in Arabic: a shibshib or n3al zanooba? No? Ok, then maybe this?
Rulers, wooden and plastic, have been used to discipline kids at schools in Saudi. Don't know if they're still allowed to do that but I was hit once by a teacher with a ruler. I was in year two or three. The teacher was quite soft with me so it didn't hurt but I did feel ashamed. Of course, of course not all Arabs are like this and opinions on hitting are changing. But... is it always wrong to hit your kid? If the answer is no, then where do we draw the line? At what age? How hard?
Islamically speaking (dunno if this applies to all schools of thought) I was definitely taught that parents can hit their kids as a discipline method so long as it doesn't leave a mark on their skin. So if you hit your kid hard enough to make their skin go red then you've crossed the permissible line and need to compensate for it by giving charity or fasting. If you think about it, the blow would have to be very light to meet this standard.
Personally, I have given Maryam a light tap once or twice on the back of her hand in the past but I unfortunately did that in the heat of the moment. I'm not actually pro the idea of hitting her in any way because she is still so young - 3 in November- and she's at this age where she copies everything that I do. The more aggressive I am, the more aggressive she is. I've also noticed that kids who have parents who hit them often just become numb to it and eventually, it stops having a deterrent effect. Then you have this whole idea that violence only encourages violence; which I agree with when it comes to young kids and hitting on a regular basis.
That's what the more reasonable, calm side of me thinks. The other more classically Arab mama side to me sees a bratty pre-teen and is like:
Has anyone watched the World's Strictest Parents? You should. The show sends the UK's worst kids to be disciplined by strict families around the world. These teens are violent, do drugs, throw condoms at their parents and every time I watch how soft their mothers are in their discipline, I'm like:
'Woman, just give that brat a slap on the face. He doesn't get to talk to you like that.'
So yeah I'm conflicted. I think the general conclusion I've reached is: as a rule, try not hit but if you're kid is like this:
Then maybe it's time to do this:
And that's it for this weeks's post! Let me know what you all think. Are you pro or against hitting children?
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See you next week!