A brief perspective from a spanked toddler.

A brief perspective from a spanked toddler.

You are on the floor, minding your own, enjoying a toy car your mom just got you. Rolling it back and forth, blissfully unaware of your older brother entering the room. Without any warning he swiftly grabs the toy out of your hand.

An emotion overcomes you that you have never felt before. You have no clue what you are feeling or how to express it. It slowly takes over your body, causing you to lose control of your cognitive behavior. Unable to control yourself or process this powerful alien feeling, you communicate the only way your autopilot allows: by frantically reaching out to grab it back and inadvertently slap your brother during your confused yells.

Your older brother runs off and tells mom you hit him. She enters the room where you’re still sitting, trying to figure yourself out. She rushes over, stands you up, roughly swats you on the backside a couple of times and says in a harsh tone: “You do not hit your brother! Your sitting in this chair until I say you can get off!”

You are left alone, on the chair, crying and physically hurt. The feeling that overtook you moments ago is replaced with utter confusion and an emotional breakdown. Why am I on the chair? What did I do wrong? Why did mom hit me? My bum hurts really badly. My brother took my toy and she hits me. I don’t even know what I’m feeling right now.

You sit. Sobbing. Waiting. Alone with the confusion. You are no more aware of what you did wrong or how to handle the situation or cope with this powerful emotion. Instead, you were reprimanded for this feeling and punished for not knowing how to manage it.

Nothing was resolved, learnt or taught.

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