I walked by a mother correcting her son for hitting another child. She was inches from his face, yelling, “No hitting!” She repeated it three times, each time louder, while jerking his little body around. “Do you understand?”
In the face of the child I could see bottled-up rage (and a difficult road ahead). He understood something alright, most likely that life with big people who wield power is confusing, difficult, and painful. But, he still didn’t know how to keep himself from hitting other kids.
The mom most likely thought she had taught him a lesson.
If I could do parenthood over, I would spend a lot less time giving orders and a lot more time thinking about the complex inner lives of my kids. Considering my own confusing childhood, that should have been a no-brainer. Yet…
“Paradoxically, almost everything people instinctively do to remedy a bad situation makes it worse.”
– Paul Scheele (Author of Natural Brilliance)