I have been tagged for a very interesting meme. Several blogs have talked about their discipline style, specifically whether they spank or not. Kelly at Ordinary Art and OHmommy at Buttermom…Classy Chaos want to know where I stand on the subject.
I read three parenting books when Belle was 2 ½ years old.They are Supernanny by Jo Frost, Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp, and The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. From these books and trial and error, we have developed a parenting style that works for us.
Anyone who knows these books will tell you a couple of them stand on opposite ends of the spanking debate. Supernanny shows how peace in the home can be accomplished without spanking. Shepherding a Child’s Heart takes the stance that careful and controlled use of spanking is biblical and effective. When we read these books we were not looking for an answer on whether or not to spank our children. That decision was already made through our upbringing.
Jeff and I were both raised in homes where spanking was a consequence for disobeying our parents. I remember meeting a girl when I was little who wasn’t spanked. I was so jealous. I also remember adults discussing how the parents of this girl were making a big mistake, they predicted that this child would be nothing but trouble. I cannot tell you if they were right or not. The girl is a cousin of a cousin, so I never saw her again.
I can’t ever remember being unfairly spanked. I also don’t remember being surprised by a spanking. I knew that if I was caught disobeying, my mom was going to spank me. I never remember being hurt by a spanking. Not that the spanking didn’t hurt physically, it did. I mean that spanking never hurt me emotionally. Other kids were not so lucky. I recognize that different parents had different experiences in their childhood, and those experiences have resulted in their parenting style. I hope that the parents who see things differently than I do will respect my opinion, just as I respect theirs.
In our house we have 3 rules posted on the refrigerator. Let me show you.
Our kids know that there are consequences for not following the rules. I told you in the beginning that I read Supernanny. I am also a big fan of her show. When our children disobey they are sent to timeout. Belle’s timeouts last 3 minutes and Ariel’s last 2 minutes. When their timeout is over we talk to them about what they did wrong and they apologize to the person they hurt or to Jeff and I for disobeying.
We have a couple of exceptions to the timeout rule. Ariel is not sent to timeout for throwing fits. She is 2 years old, so we work with her on controlling her emotions and teach her to express her feelings. I will sit with her while she is throwing her fit and say in the most soothing voice. “You are frustrated because ….” “I understand that you are frustrated” “I am sorry that you are feeling frustrated.” We found with Belle that by helping her identify her emotions, she learned to communicate with words instead of screaming.
Another exception, that I learned from “Shepherding a Child’s Heart,” is to not punish when we didn’t see what happened. Usually this comes into play when our children are fighting with one another. Tedd Tripp’s advice on this is, it takes two people to fight, so both are in the wrong. We expect our children to apologize to each other, regardless of who hit who, and learn to play nicely. If they can’t figure out how to play nicely together, they are both sent to their rooms.
I’ve managed to get most of the way though this post about spanking without revealing whether or not we spank our kids. So, you want to know, do we spank our kids. Yes, we do. How often? Not very often.
Spanking is reserved for situations where our children consistently break the same rule and timeouts are not solving the problem. Our children always get a warning, “If you do that again, you will get a spanking.” Every time I have to say those words to my children, I am thinking “Please don’t do that again, I don’t want to spank you.” Why do I spank then? Well, it works. It changes the behavior, and I honestly believe that a spanking delivered by a calm and loving parent is beneficial. The alternative to spanking would be to allow my children to continue the behavior until I yell at them. Yelling is more harmful than spanking. I mentioned earlier that I was never harmed emotionally by a spanking. My parents yelling, those words said in anger, are hurts that I carried into adulthood.
Now that I’ve established what side of the fence I am on, I want to add some advice about this type of discipline. If you are thinking about spanking, these are the things you need to know. Don’t EVER EVER EVER spank out of anger. If you are angry, don’t spank them. Sent them to their room or someplace FAR FAR from you until you calm down. If calming down is not possible, have someone else do the spanking. If that is not possible, read Supernanny and find a different way to punish your child. Spanking should make you feel terrible. If you get pleasure from spanking your child, it is abuse, and you should never do it again.
I recognize that spanking is not for everyone. I don’t presume to know what parenting style is the best choice. I recommend that parents find what works in their house and for their children. Whatever method of punishment you choose, research it. Know why you are doing it and how to do it properly.
Above all realize that your children have NO idea how to behave properly. All children have a selfish heart and a tendency towards sin, this is the human condition. Do not expect them to know right from wrong and make good decisions. Expect them to make a lot of mistakes, and when they make those mistakes, equip them with the tools they need to make a better decision in the future.This is the hardest post that I have written. I offer a different opinion then those who have come before me. Do me a favor, leave me a comment. If you agree with any of what I say, support me. If you disagree, I want to know what you do that works better. Here are the opinions of those who have wrote on this subject before me.
Miche does not spare the rod.
Jo-N wants to be her children's best friend.
Tot's Mom spares the rod and believes in patience.
Huckdoll spares the rod and believes there are more effective yet gentle ways to discipline than spanking.
Kelly at Ordinary Art has a three-step approach that does not always work but leaves tiny tushes mark free.
OhMommy has spanked and never will again.
Amy spanks when necessary.
1. Go to your blog.
2. Post about the topic.
3. Give me the hot, hard, and heavy linky love
4. Copy the last paragraph above and add your name and discipline style.
5. Post that paragraph onto your blog, including links. (Yeah, you will want to sharpen a pencil and stab it in your eye at this point. But, isn't that half the fun.)
6. Go to the five people you have tagged and leave them a comment to know they are now, it.
7. Sit back and let the comments roll in.
And so I am interested in what you have to say...
Amy at P2P
The Sports Mama