I smacked Carson's little hand twice yesterday and I so desperately wish he could understand my heartfelt apology. He understood my hug that followed but it would have felt good to have heard "I forgive you mom."
I acted out of frustration and the desire to stop the behavior fast. The first time was at the park when he was shoving fistfuls of rocks in his mouth. Not just once, over and over again. Hiding under the play gym to eat them thinking I wouldn't see. He was trying to swallow and refusing to spit them out, I was scared and frustrated so I took his hand and smacked it. What did he do? His mouth went rigid and still and he looked down at his hand and back up at me with sad eyes. He didn't understand. Did it stop his behavior, absolutely not. I had a harder time getting those rocks out after I smacked him than before.
The second time was at a friends house. He was eyeballing their wine rack which he knows to leave alone. I could see him pacing back and forth thinking about touching that tempting glass. He walked backwards, did a spin and came back to them. Finally, he reached out with one little finger and I said no. Instead of stopping, he frantically grabbed a glass and tried to bang it against the other glasses decoratively hanging there. I ran over, grabbed his hand...and smacked it. Did he stop or learn a lesson? Nope. He immediately ran to the other side of the wine rack and tried banging those other glasses against each other. So instead this time, I put him in time out. Did this stop his behavior? Yes.
So many times I act out of frustration with Carson. He doesn't need short-tempered reactions to grow. He needs consistency, a steady heart, and patience. He needs to learn that this action equals this consequence, not frustrated outbursts from mom. It can be a challenge with such a lively child. He never stops moving and eventually, I just get tired. My patience gets depleted. Although, I know I can muster more. My exhaustion is an excuse to my quick reactions. I spent extra time in God's words last night because one of the best ways I know of learning patience is from our very own creator. I also know knowledge is power and practice makes perfect. The more times I discipline Carson correctly, the more it will become second nature.