Tuesday, April 20, 2010

to spank or not to spank...

i am the typical oldest child: type A, over-achieving, perfection-driven, always-to-be-the-leader kinda of girl... it honestly didn't take much discipline to get me to change my behavior, whether i was a little 4 year girlie or when i was 14....

not that i wasn't ever spanked or sent to the corner but it really wasn't necessary (well, at least i don't think... better call mom... ok, she said it was necessary some of the time :) ) because simply giving me that look of total disappointment and telling me that you thought i was so much better than this, well it would just do me in! i'd drown myself in sorrow and create a plan to out do myself with goodness when the next opportunity presented itself.

however,my first or second or third attempts at "goodness" weren't ever truly good enough, because i was still harshly dealt with by my dad whenever it suited him.

his definition of "discipline and guidance" was a belt, sometimes his thick hands, and it didn't just sound scary or painful... it was scary and very painful

being a trimuphet survivor (thanks be to God) of child abuse has always impacted the disciplining of our posse of kiddos: definitely for the good

before kiddos i would have told you there would never be a case for spanking them! post-three-very-different-kiddos i would confess to you that i am an advocate for spanking... if it makes the point within a short amount of time and used appropriately.

our oldest, 'P' , never required more than 3 swats on the hiney as a toddler, that's it 3; our lil' Lou-Woo was a bit more of a challenge with all the drama that comes with having a girl :) but even then, the times she was spanked really made the point and her behavior quickly corrected itself...

however, our sweet baby 'K' is the world's most stubborn, rebellious & defiant toddler! okay he's not... i only know this from first hand experience that my middle brother (and my hubby's middle brother) is still to this day the world's most stubborn person :)

but i digress... spanking 'K' doesn't matter; he'll go right back to what he was doing the 5 seconds before i patted his rear, or giving him the "i'm really getting fed up with your behavior" tone is not long lasting either, and while the "naughty spot" (you might call it time-out) is effective for the moment of teaching & learning to say 'sorry' & talk about forgiveness, but i am still the very blessed mama of a little boy who couldn't do what he is told if i was paying him in M&Ms!!!

which leads me to begin thinking: does spanking truly work?

it frustrates me to no end that a swat on the hiney for throwing a fit in the store or freaking out at 'P's ball games is not teaching him anything (obviously)! why is my babe not connecting the dots here?! does spanking not have the short-term effect to cause my cute boy's brain to register "hey, maybe i shouldn't do that again?" have you had this issue with any of your kiddos? please say i'm not the only one... please!

all my own inadequacies & childhood memories are starting to get in the way too... i don't in any way, shape or form believe that spanking a child is abuse as long as it's not done out of anger and it gets the point across in a few short episodes... but as i've been researching & coming up with new ways to guide 'K's behavior, i find myself remembering the belt, the yelling, my confusion, and the marks that didn't go away and the internal scars that will always be there.

how can people do that to their kids? as parents we have all felt the frustration, those days that all our kids can say is "NO!" and your rapidly fraying rope begins to harshly smack you in the face, but how can people hit their kids and call it discipline?!

my dad always justified his attacks as "discipline".... i always knew i didn't want to ever become that: you know, somehow it's the victims fault or they say "you made me have to be tough" sort of thing. that's not of Christ, not even close

i am flooded by love for 'K' and he is the cutest little man... incredibly smart, funny, imaginative, cuddly, tough & sweet all mixed into a curly-headed boy.... goodness he's awesome, and what's even better he's mine!!! alright i'll share with daddy, but that's it! (giggles...)

i've been praying (lots!) that the Lord will use this head-strong, relentless & dominant spirit to change the world someday. if 'K' is this stubborn about not wanting to hold my hand in the store or so passionate about playing with my breakables no matter what i say, if that is used for God's ultimate glory, then watch out world!! he's coming to tell you about Jesus' love for you whether you want to hear it or not!!

so for now, our battle of wills is going to head a new direction; i will refuse to frustrate myself & 'K' by continuing to spank & not see any changes. i won't buy into what i know some believe which is "spank more and harder and they will eventually get it." NOPE, not gonna do it! in my opinion, that is how parents can cross the line of discipline into abuse....

what direction are we going? well, lots of attention and explaining of why there are rules & mama and daddy love you and it's our job to boss you around & teach you stuff :) hee hee!! i love being the mommy! i still like the 'naughty spot' and if the fits keep going in the 'naughty spot' then it's off to bed to cry it out there when he doesn't get his way. we are teaching him Bible verses about love & obedience... and he is able to tell me his verses, believe it or not!! and i can think of nothing better than hiding the Word of God in his heart to help change his behavior.

as a child, i always hoped that my dad would change, that if i was better that would make him nicer, i wanted him to care about my sports, look at my pictures, spend time doing fun things with me... the fact that he wouldn't made those episodes of violence that much worse

hug your kids today, especially when they are being bad, tell them how much you love them, turn off the t.v. and spend time with them... that way when we have to give guidance & discipline they will know it comes from a heart that is truly devoted to them

Lord please continue to bless me with wisdom & understanding to guide my children, so they will have hearts to love & serve you all their days. i want them to obey not just me but learn to obey you God, to develop a spirit of grace and have an abundance of wisdom from you. make me in to the mom that my children need, that i would be open to your direction & leading, that i will always love them with all that is in me, just as you would! i pray the same for every parent that reads this and is moved to serve you more Lord by loving their kids more. thank you Lord!!in your Name....amen

1 comment:

  1. We have some of the same issues with my daughter. She is 2 and we do believe in spanking...but not for everything. It depends on the situation...and outright, in your face, defiance is usually one that gets a spanking.

    One day, it was that defiance about staying in bed during nap time. She doesn't have to go to sleep, but she does have to stay in her bed. And we said that she would get a spanking if she got out again. She did get out and she got a spanking. She cried and got back in bed. She was admonished to stay in bed again. A few minutes later she was out playing again. Another spanking. This cycle repeated over and over and over.

    It seemed like she got a million spankings that day. I was so weary of giving them...but I didn't think I could go back on what I told her the consequence would be.

    After that, we are much more careful about telling her that she will get a spanking...if I tell her she is going to, I think I need to follow through...but at the same time, I don't want to get into that cycle again.

    It is definitely a struggle at times to try to parent this spirited and strong-willed child, but, I too, look toward the day when she will use this determination to be an incredible, positive force in this world. Now if I can just be a good enough parent to help her get to that point...