My Life. Beautiful, Ugly, Unfiltered.
To Spank or Not to Spank?- The Great Debate!
“Don’t be afraid to correct your young ones; a spanking won’t kill them.
A good spanking, in fact, might save them from something worse than death” Proverbs 23:13-14
Let me first say that I firmly believe in corporal punishment. I grew up “gettin’ my mouth mashed” for back talking, and knowing that if I did something wrong, there would be consequences. I am thankful for that, because I believe that it has made me into an adult that knows how to act. I will say however, there are not many times in my recollection that I ever as a child actually acted in a way that warranted a “spanking”. I can’t remember them, and neither can my parents.
My husband on the other hand, was a different child. He remembers, as does his mother, many, many times where he would get himself into “situations” that required some, shall we say, firmer attention. He would be sentenced to his room to wait for his dad, where he would put on multiple pairs of underwear, and await his pending doom.
You may be thinking that boys are different from girls, but I beg to differ. I see in Astaire, the same mischievousness that her father had, and still has…and I recognize it because it’s something I never had.
See what I mean?
Now clearly this is not something I am going to spank her for, just a few examples of her curiosity that tends to get her into trouble. She is an amazingly smart little girl, and for the most part she is very well behaved- but she is very curious, and she really likes to test her limits. Most times when I want to punish her, I have to walk away and laugh first because she is really quite funny.
So what’s the big debate about?
Here I am, a firm believer in punitive discipline- with a toddler who is starting to exercise her will on a regular basis, and I am saying to myself, maybe we should try a different approach…Why?
- Retaliation Hurts— When she gets a pop on the hand for not listening (usually for deleting my emails) – She grabs my hand and bites my finger. My reaction the first time this happened was to escalate the situation- but in all fairness, who likes to be bitten? Then I remembered three things: She’s One, She Can’t Talk, and children (especially those that can’t talk)communicate their feelings through their behavior. Basically, she is hurt and angry because she is being hit, so she’s biting me. So perhaps the literal “rod” at this age is not the answer.
- Redirection Works--Typically, being that Astaire is so curious, I can redirect her attention successfully-if I stay focused- with little effort(or bite marks!). I found this great article on creating a “Yes Environment” for your kids, and I really think she has some creative ways of explaining how to redirect. It saves you a lot of breath during the day, and your child a lot of unnecessary frustration. Now if I can just find a better place for my laptop…..
- We all need some Time (In)– Astaire and I tried time out once. Let’s just say it led to a meltdown for the both of us. Time out is great if the child understands what is going on, and it doesn’t lead to genuine upset. Astaire was a wreck. At first it was a tantrum, and then it was full on crying because she was crying….you know the kind. We’ve all done it. The kind you can’t stop….your crying so hard that when you stop crying your still crying. It was awful. She finally fell asleep on my chest and was still crying even in her sleep. I felt horrible for the rest of the day. Time IN is an exciting alternative, and although I haven’t made a “Comfort Corner” yet, we do have our rocker where we nurse, and I think I might just use that since it’s already a place she associates with comfort. This idea really excites me, because usually by the time she needs a time OUT, I need one too…
I’m not saying that we will never have to resort to spanking, but there are several other options that I want to add to my repertoire as well. I want it to be a last resort. I wanted to share these resources with you because I know that none of us aspire to be that parent who is dragging her child across Walmart’s parking lot beating their behind, while onlookers gawk in disbelief.