Thursday, November 01, 2007

Well, spank my ...

I am not a spanker.

(Just a clarification for you Googlers: I am talking about disciplining kids here.)

There are no scenarios in which I can imagine hitting my kids on purpose. As a parent, my two biggest responsibilities are to keep my children safe from harm, and to love them unconditionally. If I strike them, either in anger or in an attempt to teach them a lesson, I have failed in both those responsibilities. Even if that lesson is an important one (don't run in the street; respect your elders; calm down now). Even if I just tap a diapered bottom. Even if I count to 10 first.

Sure, I want them to obey me. I want them to be well behaved. But I don't want to achieve those goals through intimidation and anger. I want to help my children learn values, so that they behave because they know it's the right thing to do. I want them to feel good about themselves and their decisions. If they're obeying the rules simply because they fear a whuppin', they haven't learned the skills they need to make good choices later. And once again, I've let them down as a parent.

I'll admit this all sounds mighty hippie. Like in our house we all sit around and talk about our feeeeeelings instead of doing anything. Like we are those ineffective parents who sit on the sidelines and feebly call out "No sweetie! Let's be nice to our friends!"

Let me assure you that we do discipline our children. We remove privileges, we use time-outs, we are consistent and firm. We allow natural consequences to make their own points. And nope, these strategies don't always work, so sometimes we get frustrated.

But we don't hit. I would be livid if anyone else laid a hand on my children, so why would I ever think it's okay for me to be the one delivering the blow? I read a post recently in which a mom said that the only time she ever spanks is if her child intentionally hurts another person or an animal. Where, oh where, is the logic there? "No hitting!" [whack!] "You know you're not supposed to hit!" [smack!] "This is what you get when you hit!" [slap!]

Yeah. That seems effective.


Do I sound a little more ... provocative than usual today? That's because we're debating! Today's Blog Exchange is a series of arguments on hot topics. So be sure to click over to Webkittyn Warbles for the flip side on spanking -- she does make a good case. You can also visit the BE site for more juicy debates.

14 comments:

Binkytown said...

Somebody, I think a spammer, left a comment on my post from last week where I talked about being frustrated with my stubborn child talking about how a good spanking is the answer.

I could not agree with you more. It's never an answer. Well said.

bubandpie said...

I'm not a spanker either. My best disciplinary measure these days is disobedience. I mean, not doing what I'm told. I think maybe something has gotten reversed along the way...

Jodi said...

I couldn't agree more. I said on the pro side that I don't think we can teach kids to hit by hitting them. And, I work in child abuse and have seen hitting go to the extreme. There are better, more effective ways to punish.

Jerseygirl89 said...

I don't spank either. I liked your points about it too. Although I have to admit that I have smacked my nineteen month old's hand, but even though it was holding onto his sister's hair and she was screaming in pain and he wouldn't let go until I smacked it, I still feel guilty.

Alex Elliot said...

We do timeouts and loss of privileges in our house.

GHD said...

After growing up in a house where we got smacked because "mom was having a bad day and we were asking for it", I completely agree.

So what do you think I did when I was having a bad day and my little sister was "asking for it"?

Fortunately, I know better now and have since apologized to my little sister A LOT.

Hitting begets hitting.

Gunfighter said...

We are a no=hitting household, too.

I don't hit my wife, we don't hit our duaghter.

Nothing says "I'm doing a crappy job of communicating" like smacking a kid.

It's a failure on the part of parents, and it teraches a bad lesson.

soccer mom in denial said...

I couldn't agree more (plus I like your little example at the end).

And very glad you explained for all those excited Googlers that you were talking discipline....

Kellan said...

Well said - see ya.

Aimee Greeblemonkey said...

WORD TO YOUR MOTHER.

You articulated the Greeblemonkey household to a tee. Except for the fact that I can be really bossy and stubborn, which makes it easier to force him to do what I want.

Without hitting.

hamiam said...

Well, it isn't really a debate if everyone agrees, now is it?

We are a 90% no spanking family. What I mean by that is I've a psych degree, and associations with pain work much more effectively with small children than talking things out. That is not to say that I spanked my kids for every infraction when itsy bitsy, but rather, the things that were personal safety related, such as reaching for a burner, darting out in the parking lot, you know things that could physically harm my children, they got a spanking immediately after for. I wanted them to associate pain with the things that could actually hurt them, rather than "Mommy said not to." We did talk about it everytime, whether my children understood or not, as that is so important to me. Otherwise, I too am with you - hitting a child b/c they were aggressive with another person has NEVER made sense to me. Teaches that aggression is not ok, that is unless you are big enough to overpower your opponent, and wow, that's what we all want our kids to learn, isn't it?

In addition to timeout, loss of privileges, and activities where they have to think about what they did (draw a picture of the behavior for my son, 4, and write what was wrong about what you did for my daughter, 6) we like to use proactive diversion as a disciplinary action as well, you know, something looks like a problem, so we put another option on the table and divert before the situation escalates?

Julie @ the calm before the stork said...

This subject is so interesting to me. As a mom-to-be, I really don't know what is ahead, how I will react, how I will teach/discipline my kid.

My parents never hit me, that I can remember. Except one time, in temple, my dad smacked my arm when I refused to get up during an "all rise."

One tiny time, and I was at least nine years old when it happened.

I have friends who spank. I don't feel super judgemental about it. (Maybe a little because I never experienced being spanked.) I just wonder what I will do when the parent is me...

Kelly said...

Spanking just seems so entirely unnecessary. That being said, I generally have agreeable children who usually mind what I say. They aren't that high energy and don't engage in dangerous behaviors, so perhaps it's easy for me to say that we use time-outs and no hitting. I always found the idea of spanking to be disrespectful, with origins in humiliation. We were spanked a few times as children, but nothing that scarred me.

Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

Another non-spanker here. I was spanked once and I've never forgotten it. It was uncalled for and unnecessary. It seems to me that most times, spanking is just an adult temper tantrum.

With all that said, I understand that for some families it works. I hate to be Judgy McJudgington if I haven't lived their life and dealt with their child.