To Spank or Not to Spank?
I know, it's a touchy subject. (Ha, ha, pardon the pun). And I am not here to defend my position on the matter, or to judge anyone's parenting styles, nor am I here to have my parenting styles judged. I had a brief conversation recently with an acquaintance about this, and it got my wheels turning.
Originally, I was only planning on posting this as a forum to people to express their opinions on the subject, while keeping my side of the story out of it, but then I started thinking. I really want people to feel safe expressing their thoughts and feelings about this, and since I no longer allow anonymous comments, I want people to use their names. How can I expect you to feel safe stating your opinions, if I don't say mine? I only ask that no one calls DCFS on me if I'm blatantly honest.
So, to paraphrase Psalms 13, comes the old adage, "Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child." What do you think about that?
I have heard a lot of different interpretations of that scripture. I've heard that "the rod" is to be interpreted as "the iron rod" or the "word of God." Okay, I can work with that one. Of course, teaching our children the Gospel gives them guidelines to make good choices. But when it comes to discipline, if one of my children is being naughty will spouting off scripture in their face immediately correct that particular behaviour? Although, I can see the actual Good Book being a good tool to use to swat a naughty behind. Ok, I kid, but in all seriousness, yes I can see where this particular argument is coming from.
I've heard that this scripture is obsolete and no longer applies to parenting in today's world.
My response? So... you're saying that the Old Testament is obsolete? Eh, I'm gonna go ahead and say Nay.
You may not agree with me on this position, and I guarantee many of you don't, but that's okay. We're all different. And each of our children are different.
I believe that each of MY children (as I'm sure is true with most of yours) has different disciplinary needs. For instance, my oldest, KJ, is a pleaser. She would rather die, than disappoint me. So, I don't have to do much to get her to be obedient. Sure, sometime she's lazy and forgets to clean her room, etc, but she is easily motivated. My other two children, need a little more encouragement to be good.
Ok, I'm beating around the bush. Here's my take.
I DO believe in spanking. As a last resort. I also believe that there is a HUGE difference between "raising your hand in anger against your child" and spanking. I believe the line between spanking to discipline your child and abuse depends how the parent feels emotionally.
I believe a parent should NEVER spank if they've lost their temper. But the same goes for yelling and screaming (also something I do, but I'm not proud of) If we're talking strictly from a beliefs standpoint, I believe yelling at your children is more abusive than spanking them, and has more long-term adverse effects.
And it IS different with each child. Some kids just don't need to be spanked. Some kids, like my TJ (he's special), need , like I said, more encouragement. I have tried time-outs for my children. They have proved to be nothing but a complete and total waste of time and totally ineffective. Maybe that works for some, but not my kids. So, after several methods of disciplinary action fail (i.e. taking away privileges, toys, a good old flick of the ear, etc.), then and only then, do I resort to spanking. I firmly believe that children need to be taught at a very young age, that when they make bad decisions, there are consequences. And sometimes those consequences hurt. Each behavior deems a specific consequence. I'm not going to spank my kid for spilling her milk. But, after I ask her to clean up the milk (the consequence for spilling it), and she chooses to disobey me, then she will eventually be spanked. The spanking is a consequence for being disobedient, and not for spilling her milk. And I will always make sure to tell her exactly that, so she knows it.
And it's handy, convenient and fast. You can always take it with you. If my kid is acting up in church, I can quietly pull him into the bathroom, give him a swat on the bottom, and go sit back down. No one else is the wiser, except for the fact that the kid is now exponentially calmer and more reverent because he knows that I am willing to follow through with my threats.
There's my take. So, tell me yours. Do you believe in spanking? Or are you dead-set against it?
Do you have other methods of discipline that work for you and your children?