I want to be a good mum
April 2002

Iím a single parent with a four year old. In the past I have hit my child, I hit her when she wouldnít do what I wanted her to do. I did it to control her. My mother hit me when I was a child. I felt worthless, unloved and unlovable when she hit me.

I have read parenting books, some say you should hit and some say you shouldnít. I want to be a good Mum. I love my daughter. I want her to be a good kid. So I thought it would be okay as long as I never did it when I was angry, the way my Mum did.

I did not want to smack her, it made me feel bad and I knew it made my daughter feel bad. I talked with her yesterday about it. I asked her how she felt when I hit her. She said to me "I feel like you donít love me." I started crying.

The most important thing for me was that my girl never doubted that I love her, no matter what she did. Then she told me I made her feel unloved. Me, her mother, the one person she should feel safest with. I was horrified with myself, I felt so bad. It is so important to me that she knows I love her always no matter what. I promised her I would never hit her again. I told her to tell me if she is ever afraid of me. I told her what had happened to me as a child, how my mother had hit me, and I told her I should have known better. With a childís huge capacity for love and understanding she told me she was sorry Iíd been hurt like that.

I will never ever hit her or threaten her again.

This has been hard for me to write. Iím crying. I feel unworthy of my daughterís love and trust. I feel I have betrayed her by hurting her this way.

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