Published with permission, name withheld upon request. Copyright 2013.
This mama is right. One of the most frequent concerns I hear from parents who comment or contact me is that their partners disagree with gentle parenting methods, or even force the issue or override the mamas' discipline actions. But her story has much more to offer. Do you have a parenting story to share? During the month of May, we are sharing readers' submissions on parenting, discipline methods and inner growth. Email or PM your story to be included!
"One thing I hear a lot of is that the father doesn't agree with gentle parenting. He wants to hit or yell at his children to get them to obey. I saw a photo in your discipline album on Facebook that I really agree with. [Editor note: photo published below.] And it reminded me of what happened to my husband. I wanted to send this in to let other parents know that with time and perseverance, he can come around.
My husband has opposed gentle parenting since my first son was born 5 years ago. It's led to bitter fights between us and a lack of support that I very much need seeing as how I'm the one who disciplines them the majority of time.
Our second son was born last year and I watched a scene unfold with horror in my heart and then happiness. My son, barely a year old, wouldn't listen to my husband. Not exactly surprising for his age. But my husband became increasingly irate and finally turned and smacked him, hard. It broke my heart to see the man I loved and admired so much hitting a defenseless, tiny child over a minor issue.
But what happened next has changed our marriage and parenting forever. My son's face broke, literally crumpled. He dropped down to the ground and starting smacking himself over and over again like my husband had smacked him. And he said his first word, that beautiful "first" we had been waiting on. He said, "Bad. Bad. Bad." Over and over.
My husband, the one who has yelled at me for years, who has stomped his feet over the duty to punish, who has rolled his eyes at my attempts to parent gently, started crying and has vowed never to hurt our children again. He is even reading some of the articles I email him.
So please stick with it, stay the course. Don't give in or let the other parent hurt the children. Don't just live with it because one day I have faith the other person will realize what he or she has been doing to your children. Hitting leaves scars, not just on our children but on us and our relationships. Don't stand for it and be ready to forgive and to love when they finally see it. You can publish this any way you see fit on your page or blog but please don't identify me."