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.