There is a video circulating that unfortunately has gone viral, of a mother beating her child for doing something she should not have done. I don't know why the video was made, but the video is humiliating for both parent and child and somewhat hard to watch. During the 6 minutes of this video, the mother is speaking broken English and in her anger she is using a belt to punish her 12 year old daughter. The angrier the mother gets, the more she hits the child, until in the end she walks away in anger and the girl is whimpering sorry.
This video was upsetting on so many levels. If I could speak with this mother here's what I would say:
What on earth could your child, who you bore, what could she have done to make you punish her in front of the world? Did you think of the repercussions of this? How will the child recognize the error of her ways? Do you really think this was the best way to go about this?
As a mother, I know that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child and as such they will do things that anger us and hurt them; they will not always make the best decisions. But there is a way to deal with this.
Perhaps this form of punishment was inflicted upon you as a child. You surely did not welcome it and looking back as an adult probably felt it did more harm than good, or maybe you didn't care. But your child is not you and as adults, once we know better, we ought to do better.
When I became a parent, I too initially disciplined out of anger. It was the only way I knew. But at the end of it all, I was exhausted and my children were afraid of me and it became harder to bridge the gap. I knew there had to be a better way. I thought about how I am a child of God and when he punishes me I'm not afraid of Him, as a matter of fact, there is something in there for me to learn so that I don't do it again, and yet he remains loving. I don't walk away hating Him. My husband was instrumental in helping me see a better way. If the offense warranted punishment with a belt: it was always on the butt and no more than three lashes. After that he would say, "This hurts me more than it hurts you, I love you." Then he would hug them.
My biggest issue with your approach is the public humiliation and shame you have heaped on your daughter. We all punish our children, and if others were looking on they would perhaps question our tactics also.
Again, I look to God as an example. Psalms 130: 3-4 says "If you O Lord kept a record of sins, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared." When children are forgiven by parents who set an example of righteousness, not perfection they will regard the gift of grace far more highly. Their realization that the wrong was forgiven, though the standard was not lowered will often have a serious impact (Feathers From My Nest by Beth Moore).
The public humiliation of this beating is not good. Shame is Satan's tool, not God's. Shame is not God's game, as he is perfect. Psalms 103: 13-14 shows the compassion of God. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.
As children we cannot out sin God's ability to forgive us. He remembers that we are dust. Dust is weak and frail. Dust blows - who knows where it will land?
If chastisement is necessary for the child to learn, He assigns it, but even His discipline is biased by love. The Lord chastens those He loves as sons. Hebrews 12:6. Never unnecessarily; never unfairly. Never without full intention of benefit.
Parents are to discipline and deal wisely with poor choices their children make, but when it's over, its over. Because you as a mother allowed a video to be created, you have publicly humiliated your child and yourself; it's never over for this young lady now that the video is viral. There's no real opportunity for forgiveness and a new beginning.
I know it seems that I am being hard on you. I am not overlooking your daughter's offense. But I am challenging you as the adult in this situation to never discipline like this again. To think before acting, to act wisely, with compassion and through it all for your child to know that she is loved. That's the example we should be trying to emulate.
How did you deal with being angry when it came to disciplining your children? Do you have any additional suggestions? What would you say to this mother?
P.S. I intentionally did not link to this video, as I feel the less it is seen, the better.