So, you may be asking yourself why did I decided to engage in this tired debate now. Well, it's been stirring in me for quite some time. I keep reading articles from the anti-spanking perspective that I find unfair to those who spank. I thought maybe the pro-spankers needed some support. I simply wanted to address some anti-spanking assumptions that I find ridiculous. Let me start off by saying that I could care less if you spank your child or not. It's your kid...spank...don't spank...give cereal at 3 months or 6 months...breastfeed or bottle feed...I really don't care.
These next quotes come from articles written on spanking from Family Education.
""the more educated, the less likely they are to spank""
Both my husband and I are educated and on the higher end of the IQ charts. I know plenty more like parents like us.
""Many parents occasionally hit their kids when they are frightened (the child has done something dangerous), or from sheer stress, frustration, or fear of having no other options.""
While I do believe this does happen for many parents, I object to the word hit and that this represents spanking. Spanking is often assumed to be an irrational action taken by a parent. That is simply not the case in all situations.
""you lose it and spank your child,""
Again with the idea that parents who spank are irrational people unable to control anger. In my house a spanking is NEVER given out of anger. In fact, I have never spanked one of my children because I was angry. If I am angry I do NOT spank. My kids know what will result in a spanking and what will not. I have no need to get angry, I simply carry out the punishment.
""It's harmful emotionally for you. Have you ever felt wonderful after hitting a child? Spanking often leads to remorse, guilt, and doubts about the quality of your own parenting skills. Avoid the agony-resist the urge to smack. It's a very unpleasant sensation to feel like a bully.""
First of all, I never hit or smack my child. Second of all, I am NOT a bully. I discipline my child and I am a parent. I never question the quality of my parenting skills after I spank. Sure, you won't feel great about spanking your child but why should you? How are your feelings an indicator of a method of discipline. I don't feel wonderful after putting a child in time out or not getting a child everything she asks for either. Should I never discipline and only spoil so I will feel better about myself?
""Where do you go from there? Once you resort to physical discipline, the only steps “up” are more, or stronger physical discipline. Don't start down that path.""
That is simply laughable. Do you honestly think that since I spank my child at 2 that I now use a medieval torture device on my 12 year old? In fact, I spank my children from the ages of 2-5 and by 5 or 6, I hardly ever do it again.
""It's after 6 p.m. The supermarket checkout line is going nowhere. Tempers are fraying fast. Six-year-old Lizzy whines for a DoodlePop, as everyone in the vicinity clenches their teeth. Lizzy's mom finally explodes. Yanking her daughter within reach, she yells, "I told you to stop that!" and delivers three hard smacks to Lizzy's behind.""
Again, this is insulting. First, if you spank your child chances are she will not throw a fit at 6 years old in the grocery store. Second, the word "smack" is used again. Spankers do not abuse their children but simply discipline their children. Third, spanking is NOT the result of a frazzled mom who cannot control her own child.
""And because both are often administered in anger, spanking and slapping too easily slip over the line to punitive physical abuse""
Oh yawn, yawn....how many times can we say that spanking is NOT administered in anger and is NOT the same as slapping. If spanking "slips" over the line into abuse then the parent already had anger control issues.
""Sometimes we're so overwhelmed by the problem and our own angry feelings that we can't think of anything else to do.""
Again with the frazzled parent argument.
Certainly there are abusive parents in the world. Yes, there are parents who spank improperly. However, those parents have outside issues that affect their parenting style. The average parent who spanks cannot be defined as an overwhelmed frazzled parent at her wits end. Convincing a parent not to spank will NOT decrease the amount of abused children. Do you really think abuse is that simple?
How to spank properly:
- Never spank in anger. If you are angry, walk away and return when you are calmed down. If you still feel you have grounds to spank then proceed.
- Do NOT spank for every infraction. Spanking is not the end all be all to discipline and not the answer to every mishap. Decide for what offenses you will spank for, make your child aware, and follow your plan.
- Do NOT consider a strike, slap or hit as a form of spanking. That is clearly abuse. Spanking is a controlled punishment that should only be delivered on the child's bottom.
- If at all possible, spank in private as any form of discipline in front of others can be humiliating and thus not achieve your desired response.
- Be routine about spanking...same room, same procedure and such. This is a punishment NOT a reaction.
- Talk to your child about his offense before spanking. If your child is very young try to communicate simply. If your child is very upset be sure to calm the child down in order to have a reasonable communication. However, if that is not possible, I spank and then talk after.
- Be sure your child is aware of what offenses will result in a spanking.
- If you find yourself spanking for the same offense daily or if spanking becomes the only form of discipline you use, re-examine your methods or the root cause of your child's behavior. It should not only take a spanking to get your child to listen.
- Be consistent in any and all forms of discipline.
My children are 12, 10, 5 and 2. Each one has been spanked at one time or another for various offenses. Other than my 2 year old, none have received a spanking he or she did not expect. My 2 year old is not old enough to remember the "rules" nor is she old enough to have effective communication with. However, not all her offenses are met with a spanking. My 12 year old has not required a spanking in years. My 10 year old has also not been spanked in years. As they grew, they no longer needed that form of punishment to reinforce rules or produce children who act according to our standards. We use other forms of discipline depending on the offense for all four children. However spanking is NOT a last resort.
I marvel when parents say they use spanking as a last resort. I decided that I did not want to warn my child by counting to three or giving several chances before inflicting a punishment. Why? I did not want children who learn to disobey until I react. As a result, I punish on every offense from mild form of talking to time out to spanking. Yes, I will spank on the first offense. If my child is willfully disobedient the result is an immediate spanking. I had the only child who walked out of the toy store without tears or stomping simply because she knew misbehavior such as that fell into the willful disobedience category. I also have children that I tend to trust since lying also result in an immediate spanking. Again, spanking is not the only form of punishment. I am not afraid to ground and spank. As my children matured, I would ground first and if the behavior continued a spanking would follow. When I say behavior, I speak in general terms. My son not doing the dishes when asked is the same as not taking out the garbage when asked. Both instances have rebellion at the core so we treat each as the same offense as to avoid putting out fires on two fronts. Attacking the root on a broad front will result in a more obedient child on the whole and not in a defined area.
You may not agree with my parenting methods. My children are not perfect. However, perfect children should never be your goal. Regardless of your stance, you cannot tell me that I spank my child out of an unloving heart. You also cannot categorize every parent who spanks as an abusers. Abuse really does happen and it's a shame to minimize it by calling spanking abuse.