How to control aggression towards children?
Q: I am a working mother with a 7 A.M. - 7 P.M. routine every day 5 times a week. My daughter is 3 and half years old and is a very good and happy child. However, when she gets naughty at times, especially in the evenings when I am stressed, I hit her on her hand and tummy with my hand which is very harsh. I realise there is no excuse for my behaviour. I often do calm down, but later than needed. I feel guilty and unhappy with myself. I am wanting to know if there is any natural therapy or tablets etc that I can take to keep myself calm at such times and stop from hitting my own adorable only child. Also, please suggest if my daughter will remember these incidents and would that affect her as an adult towards aggression? I don't want her to become too aggressive or too submissive. I really want to stop hitting her and I sincerely want to know how I can make up for this with her? I am anxious that this would affect her personality. She starts school next year and I want her to be positive. She goes to a pre-school nursery and for now shares a loving relationship with me. She dotes on me and hovers around me for attention all the time. She only tries to catch up for the time she loses away from me, but I need to rectify my fault. Please help me with all ways possible to control my aggression against my daughter.
A:You seem to be fond of your daughter and your constant affection and love will be the best things you can ever give her. You also seem to be aware that you are sometimes impatient and harsh with her because of your own stresses. Knowing that is half the solution; the other half of the solution will be in the general suggestions made here. I trust that the adults looking after her in the 12 hours you are away also provide her tender loving care. Regarding your feeling of stress: the first thing to do is to reduce it. Deep breathing (Praanaayaamam) for 10 to 15 minutes in the morning will be a very good step. Please do not take any pills to be calm. Even the ones that are advertised for calmness are not for normal people with everyday problems. You mention that when your daughter is naughty, you slap her. Children are naturally active and like to explore the settings they are in. It would be a good idea to have some activity together with your daughter, than telling her that you are busy and not to be disturbed. For example, if you have to prepare the evening meal, give your daughter a task to do, which is not risky and is well within her capacity. For instance, she can take the plates and help to set the table. Or she can help to put something in the trash can. Or she can be pouring water from one tumbler to another and treat it as a game. In other words, include her in what you are doing, so that she feels happy. I hope you read story books to her and sing with her. While you are stirring the vegetables, you can both sing together. Or you can make up a guessing game for her - something at her level which she can do with enjoyment. This is a time to enjoy your parenting and not to treat it only as a duty. You do not have to indulge her and give in to all her demands, just because you are a working mother. Get rid of a sense of guilt. If you are affectionate and playful and have a sense of humour in dealing with your child, everything else will fall into place. I trust that all this helps.