Childhood Series

Disciplined – Amy Waterhouse

Amy is one of my cross continent insta mummies, she is a huge part of my insta family always supportive and lifting me up when I’m having a hard day, a great friend who I can always rely on for a chat. She is an amazing mumma to two gorgeous little boys, who she adores and both adore her from every photo you can just see the love in this mazing families eyes. Her childhood story is one which I am very honoured to share she has been so brave to share her relationship with her dad so openly. The older generations way of life is very often one we cannot understand so easily but I think Amy really sums it up here with unjudging eyes and heartfelt love for her dad. I’m sure just like me you will be moved with Amy’s story…
Is it really terrible that I don’t bat an eyelid when I see a misbehaving child get a slap on the wrist?
Let me explain.
My father was raised in a strict military household. His father – my granddad -ruled the roost. “Bad behaviour” was rewarded with harsh punishment.
One story that I remember my Dad telling me, was about when he was a young boy himself, and he and one of my aunts were pushing their younger brother and sister in the pram, down the road, near their house. What they didn’t anticipate, was losing control of said pram on a steep hill. The two babes fell out of the pram, were a bit battered and bruised, and obviously distressed. My dad and aunt wheeled them home, and were met with their angry father, and consequences.
After being whipped multiple times with a belt, my dad was made to kneel on raw, uncooked rice as punishment. It may not sound that bad – but – let’s just say I tried it after being told this story – 10/10 would not recommend.
My dad never spoke much of his childhood apart from that story, which has stuck with me. I do know that him being discliplined wasn’t a once-off occurrence. I guess it was kind of my ‘understanding’ as to why he was as strict on us kids as he was. Like the old saying goes, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree -” and my sisters and brother were also raised in a very disciplined home.
While my four siblings and I were never whipped with a belt, or made to kneel in rice – we would get the handle end of a wooden spoon or fly swat, struck across our thighs. My Dad ran a tight ship – it was expected of us that we keep our rooms spotless, our toys put away, and clean up any crumbs or mess we made at mealtime. If Dad got home from work to find us lazing around on the couch in the midst of an untidy house, he would unveil his weapon of choice, and round us up like sheep, to fix it – we all didn’t want to get hit, so we would haul ass like no tomorrow at his beckoned call. One would expect a household full of five kids aged nine and under to be absolute chaos – but at our place, there was never a thing out of place.
I’ve also been the bearer of my fair share of hand-shaped welts in my time. One came from the time I was monkeying around on Mum & Dads wooden rocking chair. I was swinging so hard, backwards and forwards, that the chair swung back and hit the floor so hard that it cracked. I knew there would be consequences for this, so I ran and hid. But Dad found me eventually.
I’m not handing out invites to the “pity party”, nor am I screaming “child abuse” – because I don’t believe that’s what happened to me. I know that my Dad loved us beyond the earth. I have happy memories too – he used to take us on adventures to parks we had never been to before, or “road trip” holidays to explore the great country we lived in. He worked so hard to provide for our family, made sure we never went without – but always made sure we were grateful for what we had.The truth is, if we misbehaved, or acted out of order – we were punished. Simple as that.
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As a result of my childhood, I would say I have grown up to be a disciplined adult. I don’t smoke. I barely drink. I’m honest, and I don’t break the law. I thrive in a clean house, and try and keep ours as neat and tidy as possible. I hear the stories of laundry piling up and being a hindrance in some households. I actually feel guilty that I’m not “mumming” properly, because I can’t relate. I do 1-2 loads of washing a day to keep on top of it, always. If I’m honest, I get anxious around mess, the same way I would get anxious about disappointing my Dad and potentially getting disciplined when I was younger.
My husband tells me to relax sometimes. I can’t help it. It’s like I need to be this way, because it’s the way I’ve always been.
What I also know, is that it’s only the way that I am.
It’s not my kids fault that I like “order” – nor is it their duty to keep it for me. I’m a firm believer in letting my kids go nuts and make a mess – even though I may cringe while they are being destructo, and clean it up as soon as they have moved on to destroy the next room.
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“Smacking” kids is seen in a negative light, moreso nowadays. Studies have shown that it has an adverse affect on children’s behaviour – rather than being disciplinary, it’s been shown that kids actually act out more after being smacked. Not to mention the emotional effect that hitting a child has on them. The quick “slap” back to reality may not be worth the long term effects.
For me – the jury is still out. I think there’s a huge difference between a smack on the hand or leg, and beating your children to a pulp. Discipline worked on me. And this is why I won’t think twice if I see a walking tantrum receiving a smack on the hand in the middle of Woolies.
Don’t get me wrong – if my kids piss me off by doing things that kids generally do – I give it to them. I yell at them. I yell at inanimate objects. I yell into my pillow. I yell at myself, my husband, or anyone who will listen. I’m definitely not afraid to raise my voice to get my point across about what is right, and what is wrong.
But one thing I choose not to do, is lay a finger on my kids – other than to embrace them.
The cycle has to stop somewhere, and it’s stopping with me.
For all you snapchat people follow Amy at shutup_amy

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