Christian Parenting · Musings

Disciplining with compassion

Have you been caned when you were young?

A guest pastor at my church was sharing how his mother whacked the hell out of him when she caught him stealing money as a child. In his own words, he “went in a horse, came out a zebra”.


It wasn’t the first time he was caned. He’s one sprightly child. But it was the first time he felt sorry for his acts and understood why his mother whacked him.

She was crying while hitting him.


It reminded me of my mother.

The last and final time she laid hands on me, was in Primary 6.


I did badly in my Math test and because we needed the parent’s signature, I had to show it to her.

I remembered standing nervously next to her while she was squatting down and doing some housework. When she saw the results, she scolded me and hit my leg with her hand.

I started crying. That’s when I saw the tears welling up in her eyes.


Out of all the times she punished me (which was rare), that was the one memory etched vividly in my mind after all these years.


And now that I’m bringing up my own child, it’s a constant reminder of how I should be doing it.

The compassion behind the discipline.


That no matter how much I’m fuming and wanting to just smack some sense into my boy, I need to remember it’s got to be out of compassion and not disoriented anger.

Which is why I’m getting a cane.


Woah, hold up there. You must be thinking, that sure escalated quickly, aren’t we talking about compassion here?


I’ve been advised by veteran parents to refrain from using our hands when disciplining the child because our hands are meant to love, not to hit. And they should learn to fear the cane, not you.

Also, I was thinking the time that it takes to get to the rod will probably shave some edge off the anger.


Incidentally, when I was trying to buy a cane the other day, the store was already closing up and I didn’t manage to get one. Daddy K was laughing and going, “Wah! Oliver! You escaped from being punished ah!”

I still haven’t gotten a cane as of yet.

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