I find it hard to believe and imagine that words could never be enough. I always thought, “Gee, (yes…Gee) if the world were ran by a woman, we’d not have to deal with this nonsense war business!” We’d handle conflict with much more grace, charisma and dignity. Never lifting a hand, only softly coaxing any opposition to see things our way…in that soft, sultry, mesmerizing tone. We’d grab opposition by the hand, stroke it softly and say, “Now look here, sweet opposition. I know you are smarter than this! You must see things my way.” Or we’d give opposition that stern look…ladies you know the one – yes, the one that requires no follow up verbiage. Just a nod of agreement from opposition. We’d use so many adjectives and synonyms in one sentence, defeating opposition with confusion and manipulation. And our best tactic – the “big gun” would be none less than the “flipping of the question WHILE pointing out obvious ignorance and playing on emotions” trick – “Well Mr. Opposition, do you really think its best to increase the cost of goods and living with unemployment at its highest in 10 years?? Hmmm opposition?”
The world would be a perfect place! But what happens when words are not enough? What happens when opposition responds “yeah, yeah, yeah” or rolls it’s eyes behind it’s head. What happens when words lose their weight and your words, tone, tactics become predictable and ineffective? I imagine this is what happened many, many, many years ago. Man actually attempted to resolve conflict with words however after so many attempts, their soft spots were found out, thus their words became quite ineffective. Its a theory!
As parents, we learn quickly the power of words. As first time parents, we learn how the use of tone, articulation, influx and volume can effectively control the outcome of any given situation. And if you’re successful, your children quickly learn too! Its a very empowering and rewarding feeling to know that you can speak to your child with a certain tone and they would respond appropriately and quickly. Oh, but after the first 9 months…yes that’s it…maybe 10 months, you can call it a wrap! You have been figured out! Your words more than likely have lost all power! And if you are a two parent home, you may have bought yourself a few extra months because your babies now have two personalities to learn and master. That buys you a little more time! But for the most part, as parents we lose control with just our words by the time our babies are just a bit over a year old!
Now if you have multiple children, you’re a lost cause. Your time in power is very short! A “multiple children” situation is disastrous for parents because word travels fast. If you’re out numbered, like myself and my husband, then your little ones will work as a team AGAINST you…prepping and training the youngest, catching them up on the lingo, facial expressions, etc. They become hip to the malleability of your threats and learn to read between the lines. They know that strike three really means you really haven’t even began counting! They know that “If I tell you one more time…” really means…”You’ve got about 5 more times to be told!” They know that “Please don’t make me get out of this chair!” really means, “please don’t make me get out of this chair because I’m so exhausted!” At this point, they’ve got you all figured out. So when your words lose power…what do you do? No…I’m sincerely asking…what do I do…PLEASE HELP!!!
Growing up, my siblings and I were raised by the strap and the switch. Now, I was actually a pretty good kid so I didn’t experience a lot of whippings and such, but I saw my siblings get it quite often! When I became an adult, I kinda got the idea that I wanted to take a different approach with my children. All that whipping nonsense was barbaric! I was going to raise sensibly, civilized young adults. More talking but still a bit of the strap when needed! But my kids wouldn’t need the strap, I confidently thought, because I would be so in tuned with them, talking them through all of life’s obstacles. My words would be like magic and they would just get it! They’re smart…they can handle an intelligent conversation!
This more reasonable, practical approach was influenced first by my father (my mother was the disciplinarian). He reasoned with us a lot growing up…he talked a lot and treated us like adults….explaining consequences and choices, etc. I like this approach. This was further influenced by my husband as he had a bit more of liberal approach to raising our kids as our family grew. And so we took this approach. And as time continued…well they took us! I saw the impact of our words lessen and lessen year after year, child after child. Our kids eventually became immune! And while I’d be pouring out my heart and soul, I mean, giving them my best stuff, they’d be thinking about only lord knows what! You see, their immunity, empowered them and allowed them to only have to sacrifice a few minutes or if I was really on my soap box, a couple hours, of my ranting, in exchange for doing what ever the H-E-double hockey sticks they wanted to do! They thought, mommy felt fulfilled, thinking she gave a good sermon, and I looked like I was paying attention like a good little girl and all is wonderful in the Khaliq household. But it wasn’t. Even though I would scream or lecture or pound my fist on the nearest surface around, and seemingly had their attention while doing so, I eventually began to feel my words slowly but surely lose their effect. And I quickly began to feel powerless. What a slow and grueling death for great, powerful words! Unfortunately, and apparently, unappreciated….so on to plan B!
What is Plan B you ask? Turns out, kids don’t like nor do they want the easy path. My eldest child actually told me, “Mom, as much as I hate to say this, more whippings is exactly what we need!” What is this foolishness! Ya’ll can’t just get it the “smart, easy way”? They are fully aware, in the moment of wrong doing that they are doing wrong (of course) but more so, that they will more than likely get away with it or at worse, have to deal with a bit of tongue lashing. Not a huge sacrifice in exchange for doing what they want.
Well, I’ll tell you what they want. What they want is to FEEL your love in a very powerful way…they want to FEEL how much you care in a very special way. These kids today? They want their tails whipped!! And well, I’m all for giving my babies what they want! I kid…no, not really!
A defeated, yet awakened mother of three,