Family and friends always say that I am a copy of my mother, both in looks and nature. In fact, I inherited her beauty spot as well. Like my mum, I too am strict with my parenting.
I thought about parenting and discipline for a long time after my marriage and decided to adopt a strict style, just like my own mother, even before I fell pregnant. I believe children need a firm structure to flourish and to bring out the very best in them.
As a mother, I want to provide such an environment to my child. A firm structure serves little use without proper consequences. Having painful consequences is necessary because pain reinforces the lesson to be learned – and ensures it is not forgotten.
My own strict upbringing, which I have always seen as a success, also played a vital role in steering me towards my style of discipline. My husband was also raised in a strict household and readily agreed with my views.
We have a son and I am in charge. Similar to my mother, I have cultivated and nurtured a special bond with him which mostly is founded in love but does have an element of fear too. To be plain, I am kind, loving and friendly as long as he sticks to my rules. If he oversteps the mark, I become strict and give him the correction he needs.
My protocol is slightly different from my mother’s. I give my son a stern look (as Mum did with me) and warn him of a strict punishment at bedtime.
Deferring the punishment helps elevate anxiety and allows for the necessary build-up to play out slowly. During dinner, I bring up his upcoming punishment and make clear how disappointed I am with him. My attitude, tone and facial expressions further heighten his apprehension.
He is sent to his room as soon as dinner is over. After cleaning up, I go to him and discuss his wrongdoings at length. Then I bare his bum, take him over my lap and spank him with my hand until I hear genuine crying.
After he has had this spanking, I march him over to his bed and have him lie flat with his bottom raised over a couple of stacked pillows. I go and fetch my strap, then lash his bottom with it for a while.
After this, I make him sit on his wooden chair and, in his diary, record what he did wrong and how I punished him. When he is done, I cuddle and console him. I stay by his side until he falls asleep and only then leave the room.
Again, some of the best bonding moments I have had with my son are during these times when I transition back from strict to loving.
Once a week, on Saturdays, we go over his dairy to recap his transgressions and chastisements for the week. This is a painful experience for him emotionally, but it has proven to be an effective deterrent – not least because it is also painful for him physically. I give him another lecture and follow it up with a dose of my cane to his bare bottom.
Unlike my mother, I never tell my son how many strokes I plan to give. In fact, I don’t set a target – I simply ‘go with the flow’ and stop when I think he has had enough.
I do punish him hard – he usually ends up with a sore bottom for a day or two. Temporary markings from the strap and (particularly) the cane are also common.
My son has slowly come to realise his boundaries. I enjoy being a loving mum to an obedient boy – until he pushes some new boundary and steps out of line. At that point, it’s time to set him straight again. At the moment, this cycle tends to repeat about once every two to four weeks.