And I Turned Out Just Fine

Spanking has been a hot topic on various FB pages lately. I have my definite opinions on the matter but I like to see what others have to say-never know when a new perspective is going to present itself. I haven’t found an argument yet that has deterred my way of thinking about it. So I thought I’d write some of the arguments and phrases I’ve heard/read and what I’d say in response. I refuse to actually argue the matter -especially over FaceBook-but I do make it known what I think about a subject if I’ve formed an opinion. I see no purpose in hiding what I believe. I also feel that if someone is looking for more information on a topic I feel strongly about then they know to come to me for information or support.

Spanking and Hitting are different. Uh, in what universe is that true. True, not all hitting is spanking. But a hand, paddle, or any tool used to strike another person/object is in fact hitting.

Swats to deter from danger are okay. No, no they are not. The kids aren’t learning the actual consequence. They are still learning that if they don’t do what you say they get hurt by you. Its your job to simply keep them from harms way until they are old enough to see the danger. I don’t let my kid run into the street, I watch her and grab her if I must. I firmly say “danger” or “cars” or something because eventually she will see the correlation. Sometimes I let her get hurt…a little. I tell her the consequences. When she’s young I say a simple one or two word warning. For instance when she’s close to the stove I say “hot”. And I even let her slightly burn her hand on a hot but not scorching casserole dish while saying “hot” and promptly putting her hand under  cool water. She learns what hot means and listens when I tell her something is hot. If I can’t keep a close eye then I use gates or put her in a secure chair until I can use my eyes and hands to guide her to a safer activity. When she’s older I say something like, if you keep hitting, your sister won’t want to play with you. Action->Consequence +communication

Spanking done in anger is wrong but cool, calm, calculated spanking with an explanation of why its being done is okay. WTF? If enough time has passed that you’re calm enough to purposefully dole out a spanking then your calm enough to use your brain to figure out another way to discipline your kid. Maybe the kid is  too young to even make the association between what he did wrong and why he’s being hit. And if he’s old enough to make the connection then probably he’s already made some connections between his action and the consequences and its your job to help him think about those and find a better behavior for next time.

Cause the Bible says its okay. The whole spare the rod spoil the child thing. Well I don’t really buy into the whole Bible being infallible thing so using that as an argument really doesn’t jive with me. One, its written by a bunch of men, in a certain political and social and cultural climate that doesn’t necessarily apply to or translate well into this modern world. Second I just don’t see how a God who’s supposed to love unconditionally would allow us to raise our kids to believe that love IS in fact conditional. And spanking is conditional. You are telling your child that unless he behaves a certain way he will not be treated with love.

We’ve all heard someone say it. It usually refers to being spanked as a child. “I was spanked as a kid and I turned out just fine.” Well did you? Did you REALLY? Then why do you think its okay for one person to hit another person? Usually the person hitting is several times bigger and significantly heavier. Usually the person hitting is supposed to be the person that little person trusts. Usually the person being hit doesn’t even logically understand why he’s being hit. Trust is lost. Usually the person being hit learns that hitting others, especially ones smaller and weaker, is an okay way to either express anger, humiliation, or control. The little people grow up and have problems trusting people, or they’re afraid of confrontation, they might not feel as close to their caregiver as they’d like. They begin at an early age to start bullying or being comfortable as the victim and those labels stick.  Psychological issues are being beaten into kids.

Stop crying, whining, throwing a fit, etc or you’re going to get a spanking.  I don’t think fear is a proper motivator. Sure it does accomplish its goal of shutting that  brat up. But I want my kids to feel like they can feel. I want them to be able to work through that emotion instead of bury it. The better they get at it the shorter the fit is because they are learning to regulate their emotions. And really, you’re  going to hurt your child and make her cry or scream in order to make her stop another annoying sound? That’s just silly. And if the physical pain isn’t bad enough, making a child feel shame and inadequate for having feelings is equally bad.

One lady on FB  asked me (if I don’t spank then) how do I gain their respect and obedience and is it was working. This is how I responded: The short, very surface answer that I could write books about if they’d not already been written: I respect them by giving them respect. I don’t demand obedience because I believe they have the right to their own bodies and thoughts and to make decisions for themselves. I keep them safe by watching them, being with them, talking openly with them about consequences, and letting them experience some consequences. I observe my children to learn their limits, their needs physically and mentally, and their interests and what they are naturally driven to learn. I listen patiently and validate when they express their feelings and offer alternatives to behavior that could harm them, others, or just gets on my nerves. I give up the notion that my environment has to be controlled because while we’re each individuals, we’re at the moment a family unit that has different personalities and needs and interests. I say “no” less, because to a young mind it becomes background noise-when they ask “why” I really ask myself that too and try to answer-if there is no “good” answer then I say, “your right, there is no reason why you can’t do that”. I try not to shame, yell, frighten, hit, or manipulate my kids into submission. I see my kids as equal however needing some guidance as their minds and experiences develop into adults. I have a teen and two toddlers. It is working for us and the goals I have for me and my kids- my kids are free to express themselves, they are learning to regulate their own emotions and behaviors instead of me demanding they be happy, we are all kinder and more respectful toward each other, and we all have a close trusting bond with each other. We are happy, and even though its a challenge sometimes, it usually means an adjustment of my own attitude, a slightly different approach to accommodate a different situation or personality, or it means I need to help fulfill someone(sometimes my own) need for rest, creativity, or hunger. I would not hit anyone, especially someone younger and smaller, in order to bend them to my will-to me that is not love or respect. I will never ever agree with spanking in any situation and refuse to argue it.

And yes, every child is different. But there are a thousand and one different gentle ways to discipline, set boundaries for, and respond to the needs, of a child. Put on your big girl/boy hat, do a little research, and find a way that honors the child and creates more peace for everyone for the long term.

Do you wonder if I was spanked or my husband?I remember a couple times. I remember feeling confused. Did I turn out just fine? No, I have issues that I work on an so does my husband. When stressed I’m easily frustrated, angered, and annoyed. I often feel/felt shame, insecurity, and embarrassment. These are not just from spankings. I have other experiences that have shaped me. The way a caregiver treats a child doesn’t entirely do the shaping of the child, but it plays a humongous part. Eventually I’ll be able to work though my issues because I choose to-I’ve worked thru many already. I’d like to give my kids the benefit of a healthy physical, emotional, and mental life from the start.




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