The truth is, I didn’t read it for “what it is.” Duh, I’m a dude. It’s not written for me, specifically. But I noticed one thing, in the first two paragraphs in particular, that really stuck out to me.
The whole blog post starts out talking about how she copes with her two little boys who refuse to go to bed and stay in bed. She lists off many of the discipline techniques she has tried…but it felt like there was one thing missing from the list.
She either doesn’t spank her kids when they are stubborn/purposeful in their disobedience or she left spanking off the list on purpose. I don’t understand either of those motives. Why is spanking not a viable option? Or, if she did try it, why leave it off the list?
I know that I have just offended half of you and you’ll probably stop reading right here, but I wish you wouldn’t. You either:
- …think spanking is a horrible and violent form of discipline. You feel like it is abuse, which I get, really, I do, but I think you’re part of the problem. I get it because I grew up in a house where spanking wasn’t always done appropriately. It was often done in anger. It was often far more than just a couple of swats with a spoon or a hairbrush. It was often used for some pretty petty and minor issues. It was often used with little or no warning. And you most often knew it was coming because you could hear dad’s belt whipping out of the loops on his pants behind you. I get it. That’s just not right. No one should want to raise, or discipline, his or her kid that way. To be honest, for most of us that grew up in that kind of house, I don’t think it was how our parents “wanted” to raise us; I think they just didn’t try to figure out a better way. That doesn’t excuse what they did, or make it ok, but it doesn’t make eliminating it as a discipline option OK either. I don't feel like I grew up in an abusive home, just one where spanking was not done in a manner that elicited change through proper motivation and understanding.
- …are thinking, “you don’t have kids, so just shut up.” To which I reply, “thank you for being a horribly insensitive jerk.” My daughter may have only lived three days, but I can put myself in your shoes at the drop of the hat as I think about how I would have had to deal with the same issues you do. Also, taking a six year old boy into my home has brought a huge does of reality with it, too, and I’m able to take the parenting ideas I have developed over the years, watching my friends and relatives raise their children, and put them to the test.
Here’s the deal, the kind of spanking you’re thinking of is not the kind of spanking I’m talking about. You don’t have to be a famous child psychologist to know and understand that the kind of spankings many of us grew up receiving only created an atmosphere of fear and left us feeling like we needed to “perform” well, or in specific ways, to receive the approval of our parents. That kind of atmosphere is why children don’t tell their parents they’re being sexually abused or bullied, because they think their parents will be angry at them instead of the person who is hurting them. It’s the kind of atmosphere where children feel guilty about things their parents should be comforting them over. It’s not the kind of spanking anyone “deserved.”
What I am talking about is the kind of spanking that is only given after a warning has been clearly given and the consequences of further disobedience have been clearly laid out. I’m talking about the kind of spanking that takes place long before you have “had it up to here!” I’m talking about the kind of spanking that is given when you are in full control of both your emotions and your physical abilities. I’m talking about the kind of spanking that is reserved for stubborn and purposeful disobedience, not every minor discipline issue. I’m talking about the kind of spanking where you use a wooden spoon, because hands were made for holding and loving and hugging after the spanking. I’m talking about the kind of spanking where the real pain the child feels is more the sting of pride than the sting on their bottom…because as you spank them, you’re crying--on the inside, if not the outside--because you hurt just as much as they do.
Why are we so afraid of that kind of spanking?
If you’re like me, you know a bevy of non-spankers these days. You also know that many of them do actually spank their kids…but only when all the other things they “believe in” have failed and they just don’t know what else to do. They end up spanking the wrong way and reinforcing the idea that ALL spanking is wrong, no matter how it’s approached. Like I said…part of the problem.
So, back to our blogger, I don’t know if she’s a spanker or not. I’m not going to take the time to read her whole blog to try and find out. All I know is she left it off her list for one of the two reason above: she either doesn’t do it or she does and doesn’t want to admit it. She’s just like a lot of people I know.
Here’s what I see when I read those first two paragraphs. Her boys have a nightly game with mommy and they are most definitely winning. They go to sleep on their terms, not hers. I can’t help but wonder what would happen if she would lay it on the line and explain to them that every time they get out of bed they will get a swat on their bottom. I hypothesize there would be a couple of nights with a lot of tears. I also hypothesize that within a week or two, she wouldn’t have to sit outside their door until they finally fell asleep. Finally, I hypothesize that she would feel less frustration about it, in the long run, by addressing it in an appropriate manner where she is in control of the situation, taking the control away from her sons.
Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways.
Proverbs 20:30 GNB
Don't hesitate to discipline children. A good spanking won't kill them. As a matter of fact, it may save their lives.
Proverbs 23:13, 14 GNB
I really don't want people to think I'm claiming to have been abused as a child, by spanking, because of this blog post.
Yes, I was spanked.
Often. Even for things I didn't do once or twice. That happens with 4 rambunctious boys in a small house.
However, ultimately, I'm glad I grew up in a home where spanking happened. I have three brothers and I think there were many times when we probably truly deserved a good spanking. Today, all four of us know that wrong is wrong because it's wrong, not just because you get caught. We understand that if we make poor choices, we deserve the consequences, no matter how bad they are. None of have been in jail. We all grew up to be good people (I think.)
But that doesn't mean I agree with the way we were spanked. I do think there is an appropriate way to spank and that way was not usually the norm in our home. I realize many of you know my family, and no, I haven't talked to them about this, yet. It's probably a huge can of worms to open, especially just before Christmas, but we're all adults now and I know we can "deal with it" if we need to. I love my parents, my siblings, their wives, and their children. When they say, "love covers a multitude of sins" this is what they're talking about. The past IS the past; that doesn't mean it didn't happen, it just means none of us can let it rule today.
Sally forth in good spirit.