Unless you live under a rock or outside of the US, you are probably aware of the deluge of news coverage about professional football player, Adrian Peterson, of the Minnesota Vikings. He was indicted recently for child abuse after whipping his four-year-old son with a tree branch.
It’s almost sickening to watch the debates on this. “Is it abuse or is it love? Where do we draw the line on discipline?” are some of the topics of conversation. I even read one article where Peterson’s mom was quoted as saying, “When you whip those you love, it’s not about abuse. It’s about love. You want to make them understand what they did was wrong.” Well, here’s my opinion.
HITTING A CHILD IS NEVER OKAY! It is NOT love.
Parents set their kids up for a lifetime of inner struggle when they spank.
And I’m not just talking about a “whipping” as Peterson did, but also those little swats on the butt that we mommas and dads tend to give. Let me explain what happens energetically to a person when they are punished like this.
When a child is spanked, she takes on the belief that says, “I am bad. I deserve to be hit.” That belief gets buried in the subconscious mind and becomes a filter for her life. Instead of believing that she is worthy of forgiveness, compassion and love, she takes on a belief that she deserves punishment. Energetically, she holds a vibration of guilt or shame. These two emotions are the lowest levels of energy you can have. They drain you of life-force energy and make life hard.
When a child takes on a belief that she is bad, she begins to feel she is not enough and unworthy, and shuts down to receiving love, success, happiness and abundance.
I realize that if you’re reading this and you know that you were spanked, you may be thinking to yourself, “I don’t agree with this. I’m doing okay.” Well, you might be surprised to know that this belief is possibly hiding in the dark recesses of your mind. I’ve worked with many coaching clients over the years and about 75-85% of them have been in shock to see how being punished affected their lives.
Do you run yourself into the ground trying to make everyone happy? If you do, you are punishing yourself before someone else can do it to you first.
Do you hold your voice in? When you don’t give yourself a voice, it’s because you are afraid of being punished.
When you treat yourself as if you don’t matter, you feel you will be punished if you treat yourself better. At the core, you don’t want to lose another person’s acceptance and approval, which for many, is the greatest punishment of all.
Are you trying to work up a career ladder, but always feel as if you come up short? Your career is mirroring to you what you believe deep down you deserve.
The way we live on a hamster wheel in our culture is the best example. We’re all trying to prove that we are good or the best so that we will receive rewards. We do this because we feel bad on the inside and want to prove we are worthy of success and happiness.
Here’s the problem with trying to PROVE you are worthy: you separate from who you are. That’s when the old guilt monster rears its ugly head again. When you live your life trying to get others’ approval, you send a message out to the universe that says, “Something is wrong with me! I am not okay!” You separate from joy, peace, happiness, playfulness, fulfillment, and love. You stay on the hamster wheel of punishment.
Parents judge their children where they have been judged.
I feel very strongly about not spanking because I have lived it. Both of my parents were spanked, and my mom was often whipped like Adrian Peterson. Thankfully, my parents broke that cycle, but they did spank me with their hands. They truly believed this was their job as a parent, to mold and “make” me be a good person. But because I felt I had to always perform for people’s approval as I grew up, I got angry, resentful, and was filled with uncertainty and fear.
As a young adult, I often found myself lashing out. When I became a mom, my need to control continued. I didn’t realize from where my sense of lack stemmed. You would have never known it from the outside. I looked to have everything: a beautiful family, a 7,000-square-foot home, a 50-foot yacht, classic cars, and money to roll in. But I felt miserable on the inside.
My greatest desire was for my kids to feel more acceptance and love than I did. HOWEVER, I thought the way to do this was just like my parents: to mold and make my kids be good so others would approve of them. I almost continued the cycle of punishment with my kids. Almost. Thankfully, my instincts told me that this was not love and I made a decision to heal. That’s when I started studying energy.
I soon realized that my kids were my reflection. It’s as if they were playing their parts for me to learn about myself and grow. They were mirrors for me and I judged them where I had been judged.
The rules that were impressed on me to follow as a child became my filters as an adult. I thought that not only did I have to follow those rules to avoid punishment, but so did my kids. Life would go along just fine and then all of a sudden one of those old rules would get triggered in my subconscious mind. That’s when I would react. This is what most parents do. We react instead of coming from a space of compassion, communication, forgiveness and love.
Instead of setting our kids up for happiness and inner success, we set them up for a constant inner struggle: who they are versus who they think they have to be to win love and approval.
When the parent heals, the family heals.
I knew I wanted to stop the pain that had been handed down from generation to generation. It was time to find true love and inner happiness within myself. That meant I had to go into awareness of how I was reacting. I had to get honest with myself.
Every time I found myself wanting to scream or raise a hand to my kids, I stopped and gave thanks for the opportunity to heal. I knew my kids were showing me something about myself.
I would then step away and go within to talk to the little girl inside of me. I asked, “What’s hurting? What false belief are you holding onto that is causing you to react this way?” These simple questions took me to the rules that had been impressed on me as a kid. I gave myself permission to take back the authority of my life and simply live from my heart, instead of how I thought I had to be to get approval. And with the release of each rule, I became a much more peaceful, happy and playful mom. My whole world changed!
The beautiful thing about making this kind of shift is that my family healed. For instance, my girls used to fight when they were young. I hated this and would often get in the middle of it. One day when they were going at it with each other, I stepped away. I went within and looked at the little girl inside of me again and asked her those simple questions of what was hurting and why she was reacting this way. That’s when she said, “It’s not okay to fight. It’s not okay to have a difference of opinion.” I knew this was the belief I had taken on as a child and one in which I was often punished. I knew it was also time to release it.
I told my inner child, “I am the boss now. You have every right to have your opinion. You can even argue and fight. It’s okay.” And just by giving myself permission to be human, I stopped reacting to my kids fighting. That’s when they quit fighting. Literally, they stopped. I even heard my youngest, Kolbi, tell someone when she became a young adult, “My sister and I used to fight all of the time. And then one day, it just stopped. I’m not sure why, but it did.” Well, I know why. It’s because I shifted my subconscious mind and, thus, shifted my energetic vibration. So, my kids no longer needed to play the part for me. I healed and they healed. By bringing love and compassion to myself, I stopped the cycle of pain for my kids.
What we really want for all of us.
We all just want to be happy. We just want to feel loved and accepted. That’s the core of what we want for our kids and for ourselves. But it will never come as long as we look outside of ourselves for approval. This is why we need to stop spanking our children.
If you are a parent and want to end the cycle, I invite you to make a commitment to heal your life. Go within and clean up the beliefs that say you deserve to be punished. Treat yourself with love, kindness and compassion. These are very high energies. When you hold this kind of vibration, you OPEN UP TO RECEIVE all kinds of miracles, simply for being you.
True success and happiness come when you no longer feel the need to perform and have permission to stand in your truth. And as you do this for yourself, you will do this for your family as well. You will give them the very best of love when you make a commitment to heal.
If you are ready to stop performing for approval and are ready to commit to healing so that both you and your family feel true abundance and happiness from the inside out, click here to check out Terri Britt’s book, “The Enlightened Mom: A Mother’s Guide for Bringing Peace, Love & Light to Your Family’s Life.”