50’s Childhood

This post is written for inclusion in the Carnival of Gentle Discipline hosted by Paige @ Baby Dust Diaries. All week, April 26-30, we will be featuring essays about non-punitive discipline. See the bottom of this post for more information.

This is a guest post written by Connie.  If you are a reader of my blog you’ll see her post comments as Mom – that’s because…she’s my mom! 🙂  I found her submission for the carnival (her first since she isn’t a blogger) to be very moving.  Enjoy.

When I was around 3 years old I was smacked on the cheek (slapped across the face seems a little harsh) by my father because I wasn’t doing what he was telling me to do. I was holding a large bowl of popcorn with buttery hands and it felt like it was slipping when my dad told me to give it to my bigger sister. My sister put her hands on the bowl, but I was not letting go after being told 2 or 3 times to do so……….and my Dad wanted to teach obedience.  Well  I let go of the bowl and climbed up on my mothers lap to cry, I think I felt humiliated…..I remember being able to tell that my dad felt bad about doing it but felt that the lesson learned was important.

Now I love my Dad dearly – he has always been my hero – the most honorable and dearest man I have ever known.  I was never spanked or hit ever again…and all my memories of my parents are of gentle teaching, love and respect.  So I tell you this memory because of another event that has made me think differently about the whole incident ever since.

When I was 56 years old my husband and I were in a Cardiac Rehab Stress Management Therapy session with a wonderful Psychologist at a community hospital.  The therapist had us close our eyes and imagine ourselves alone and standing in a spot light on a stage. Then we were to turn into the child we once were – as young as we could remember – and tell our parents what we most wanted to say.   To my astonishment I was transported back in time to the scene with my parents and sister having popcorn in the basement celebrating the new play area mom had painted for us. I hadn’t thought of that for years and suddenly I was crying and telling my Dad that I was sorry I didn’t listen to him,  that I thought the bowl would fall to the floor and break if I let go, that I loved him and forgave him for hitting me……………………It was very powerful.   It bothers me that I didn’t remember the time we all went sled riding on the biggest hill ever and climbed on our bellies on the sled – dad on the bottom, mom on top of him, my sister on top of mom and me on top of my sister and went heads first down that hill laughing all the way, falling off in the snow at the bottom and climbing the big hill to do it again. Why didn’t that come to mind or the many other great times we had together?

I do believe that we need to teach our children, but I ask you…. What will your child remember?

Gentle Parent - art by Erika Hastings at http://mudspice.wordpress.com/Welcome to the Carnival of Gentle Discipline

Please join us all week, April 26-30, as we explore alternatives to punitive discipline.  April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month in the USA and April 30th is Spank Out Day USA.  In honor of this we have collected a wonderful array of articles and essays about the negative effects of punitive discipline methods, like spanking, and a myriad of effective alternatives.

Are you a Gentle Parent?  Put the Badge on your blog or website to spread the word that gentle love works!

Links will become available on the specified day of the Carnival.

Day 1 – What Is Gentle Discipline

Day 2 – False Expectations, Positive Intentions, and Choosing Joy (coming Tuesday, April 27)

Day 3 – Choosing Not To Spank (coming Wednesday, April 28)

Day 4 – Creating a “Yes” Environment (coming Thursday, April 29)

Day 5 – Terrific Toddlers; Tantrums and All (coming Friday, April 30)


20 thoughts on “50’s Childhood

  1. Wow, that was so powerful. I remember the scary times the most too. Its why I choose to parent the way I do because memories can be so vivid. And for the times I have slipped and done or said things I'm not proud of I worry how much of it they will remember. Three is a very young age to remember what happened to you. But our brains are amazing things!
    .-= Melodie´s last blog ..Missing: Long Lost Love =-.


  2. So true… that's something few people consider… And how lovely of your mom to write sth for your blog. I can't even tell my mom i have this other blog, because… well nevermind
    And all I could think about while reading this is how lucky your mother was… maybe it's the post-war thing of 50s parents in Europe, but my parents generation was beaten with wooden spoons and fists and…
    Maybe that's why so many European countries already abolished spanking, because there's been a lot of it going on and many people deal with the scars.
    You see, if it is not a daily reality, it is not of the nations concern.
    .-= mamapoekie´s last blog ..Undermining General Beliefs about Corporal Punishment =-.


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  4. Mom, this is just beautiful. I think it is so powerful to see someone who had wonderful parents and was not "abused" in the traditional sense who still had such a long-lasting emotional scar from a spank. I think the reason it is so powerful isn't so much that you were hit but that you were hit when – in your mind – you were doing the right thing – you thought if you let go it would fall. Gpa (who is awesome, I love him) was only thinking "she isn't obeying" instead of "what is she trying to accomplish?" When your goal shifts from controlling a child to guiding them – hitting just doesn't make sense.

    I wish Dad would tell his story from that same therapy session. What impact that would have from another perspective. That is his story to tell though – we are listening dad if you want to tell.

    BTW, how much does my mom rock? I read all the time about parents and in-laws causing so much grief to their children about their parenting choices. Not my parents (or my in-laws). They are wonderfully supportive. I'm a lucky girl indeed.
    .-= Paige´s last blog ..Choosing Not to Spank =-.


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  8. very thought provoking. I am sitting here thinking about my parents and I remember more of the bad than the good. I guess that stuff just affects you so much differently. Great reminder of what our children need.
    .-= Alexandra´s last blog ..Mistakes =-.


  9. Thanks for all your comments. I thought my experience would speak volumes to others like it did to me…though, I do feel the need to have a carnival on "Greatest Childhood Memories" next.


  10. I remember a lot of good stuff, but I'm pretty sure I remember all, or at least most, of the bad stuff.

    I have bad days…I worry what my son will remember. Hopefully nothing I do will be too traumatic for him! And there will always be a "sorry, I shouldn't have done that."
    .-= Lisa C´s last blog ..A Positive View on Tantrums =-.


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  17. Wow, that made me think. It is easy to remember the bad times, and I don't want my son's memories of me to be yelling or not understanding his perspective. I love what Paige pointed out — that to your mind, you were doing the right thing by holding on, but it wasn't perceptible to anyone outside your thoughts. I want to be open to asking my child why he's doing something I'd rather he didn't, and really listen to the answer. Thank you for sharing this!
    .-= Lauren @ Hobo Mama´s last blog ..SpankOut Day: Hitting doesn't help =-.


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