My husband and I have very different styles of discipline for our three children. While I believe in firm boundaries, and consequences, I have always reserved the harshest, corporal type discipline (spankings) for the things that might cause harm, if continued.
An example is when one child walked in front of a car when they were four, after pulling away from my hand (and having been told to wait). I spanked my son for this, because I needed him to understand the danger of not listening when necessary.
I have raised my sons to understand that I am not perfect, and that I do not expect them to be perfect. I do expect their best, in all aspects of life. When speaking with others (respect, patience), when studying (diligence, hard work) and when doing things that are for the good of others with volunteer work (empathy, love). I answer all questions honestly and without judgment.
My husband, on the other hand, believes a child should believe their parents are “invincible,” “perfect,” and, literally, “God-like in their child’s eyes.”
Example: our oldest got a C on an exam. I told him to work harder, bring questions to me or his teacher to discuss options, such as extra credit or tutoring, because a C was not acceptable. My son and I both knew he could do better.
My husband called him lazy and stupid, saying he should never have anything less than an A because my husband, himself, had made all As through university level. This is just a flat-out lie. My husband failed three attempts, at three universities, and made Ds when not failing. He never made it past the first six months with three credits, period.
I’m actually a college graduate, with a good GPA, yet do not believe we should give our children anxiety or allusions of perfection. I think if we honestly teach them how hard life is, and not unreal expectations, while encouraging and expecting their best, it will create well adjusted and prepared children.
My idea is if I allow my kids to see my flaws, they will not feel like they are not “living up” to where they should be. My husband, in my opinion, is cruel in his verbal language, also giving punishments, such as a month of being grounded, no meals out with family, threatening eviction, (of a child), etc.
I am stressed over this and believe it is wrong, however, as I am certainly not perfect, or always right, would love your opinion.
If you lead a child, or anyone, with love, honesty and understanding, the growth and results will astound you. If you lead with fear and guilt, the trauma will never leave them.
That being said, discipline is a very personal, private, family choice, in my opinion, that should be set forth in the home in a united, agreed upon format. (Discipline, spankings included, should never be confused with abusive behavior towards a child — there is a difference.)
While I agree with certain areas for corporal punishment, I do not believe in hurting anyone, especially innocent children. Personally, I think what you described from your husband is abusive and cruel, but this must be settled between you and your spouse, without any further confusion for your children.
There is no further wait time for this discussion, because every day your children are receiving mixed messages, creating another day of creating insecurities and anger, with lost chances for you both, as parents, to lead with love.
I hope you can reach an understanding that will allow your family to remain whole, while also happy and balanced for everyone.
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