Wednesday, March 19, 2014

To Spank, or Not To Spank. That is the Question.

To not. For us.

I wasn't going to write about this topic, as it is one of the most controversial ones in parenting. However, our family has been there and back and I thought it would be interesting to put my thoughts out there.

If you care to listen that is.

Both Andrew and I were spanked as children. We know this, not because we can remember {no worries, no traumatized children here} but because our parents told us. But if we tried to think of a slap on the hiney or an incident, we cannot come up with one. Again, not traumatized.

So naturally, when we became parents we just assumed that when the discipline time came that we would spank if we needed to. Because after all, we wanted to raise obedient children. Yes? Yes.

Well, we tried that route. A few times. We did a "trial run" as I like to call it for a couple months. To see if spanking was for us. To see if this was in fact the discipline route that we wanted to take. We never really needed to spank often, as it would be maybe once a week. It worked, I have to say. Immediate attention from the toddler. But I never felt good about it. I knew I was not physically harming my daughter, as there was never force behind the spank, however I couldn't help but feel defeated. I felt like the only person I was hurting in this situation was myself. Something about the whole spanking issue just did not feel right to me.

Sure, it worked. It worked quite well. But again, was this the best way to go about the situation?

To me, it seemed like we were taking the shortcut. The easy way out. The lazy parenting. To me, for us, and for those particular situations.

So after a few weeks of trialing this whole spanking deal, Andrew and I sat down and talked about it. Actually, it was through a number of texts, and eventually a discussion over dinner that we finally came to the conclusion that there would be "no more spanking" in our household. We wanted to test out different routes, and we felt that there was no actual benefit with spanking. Immediate attention? Sure. But was it because this was easier on us, or because it was easier on the toddler, who, after all, is just trying to explore the world, figure out boundaries, and learn from these experiences and surroundings.

The answer was simple: It was because it was easier on us.

You know, I think that parents have the decision to decide what works best for them and their family. I am not here to judge what decision you make for yours. I do not believe those that have the mindset that spanking is a form of child abuse. I was spanked as a child. My husband was spanked as a child. You were probably spanked as a child. In fact, statistics show that 90% of parents have tried spanking. Did anyone even remember getting spanked? Our parents tell stories about how they chased used around the house, yes. And everyone laughs about it. But was it abuse? Absolutely not.

But what I do think is that there are in fact other routes to take. Not that we weren't taking these routes already; such as listening charts, taking the time to talk things through with them, taking away toys, time out, and so forth. We were already doing all that. But I think we weren't believing in them, nor putting our best effort in making those options work 100%. From the beginning. We, as parents, needed to try harder.

I think that sometimes we underestimate our power as parents. How simple and easy discipline {okay maybe not easy or simple} can be if we only take the time. Something I know we {all} lack these days. Time. It's not on our side, it's not our friend, but when it comes to how we raise our children, it's something that we need to make room for. To actually sit back and keep reinforcing the time out {for the 10th millionth time}, even if there are things to get done and places to be. We needed to stop and do it anyway. Taking the shortcut, the easy route, the quick and simple, was not necessarily the successful and best learning tool for us.

So that is where we stand today. A no spanking household.

And for us, it works out okay.

8 comments:

  1. I like that you tackled this topic. I was spanked as a child but do remember it (and remember hating it). My fiancé and I have also decided that we will be a no spanking household .. probably because we both have a psychology background and have worked with "difficult" children using other strategies.

    cheers for addressing the issue :)

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  2. We sometimes give a little thwap on the butt or back of the legs... I don't love it, but so far it's the most effective form of discipline that has worked with our child. Usually it's when she's running away from us and definitely not listening, and we give her a warning and then talk to her about it afterward. I can't remember the last time I had to do it... it's a very few and far between type of punishment.

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  3. I have had a tough time working up the courage to write about this on my own blog... We are a no spanking household as well. My husband and I were both raised without spanking and never even entertained spanking our own children. We both definitely agree with you in that it is a "lazy" way of parenting! I think you tackled this topic well.

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  4. We're not spankers either. I believe we can achieve what we need to without hitting our way there.

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  5. I think that spanking is hard topic for me. One I'll have to cross when I get there. I'm so used to using spanking as a part of discipline. I was raised like that, my husband was raised like that and we have been taught to discipline our nieces and nephews like that. Its never malicious. I think the thing I hated most about spanking (or the pops on the mouth I got even as a teenager) was the embarrassment. I hated being disciplined in front of other people.

    The problem I have with spanking as an adult is the logic of how do you punish a child for hitting by hitting them? I think I will probably take a more logical, reasoning approach with my future children, but will always reserve the right to spank them sometimes.

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  6. I really like this discussion. I love that you gave it a trial before ultimately deciding against it before writing it off right away. Kudos! I think that's what parenting is, to an extent - trial and error and finding what works best for your family. I was spanked as a kid, and I remember it hurting and crying about it. I'm not sure if I will do it myself. However, I'm curious, since you've taken spanking out of the equation - what do you do instead of it now to discipline?

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  7. Was very blessed by this. The most powerful part was - "Something about the whole spanking issue just did not feel right to me." - I have heard that from so many mothers. It is such a common thread that is found through many experiences similar to yours.

    Blessings from Jerusalem - samuel martin

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