Saturday, September 18, 2010

Spanking: The Controversy

I have already established that I break some of the "Good Parenting" rules, so I might as well move onto the "No Spanking" rule...
To Spank Or Not To Spank? 

It's the controversial topic of the century! Parenting magazines, online forums, talk shows, Supernanny and even Dr. Phil has an opinion about spanking. If we don't spank our kids, we're bad parents for not raising them to be well-mannered, respectful little people. 

If we do spank them, watch out! DSS or DHS or DHHS (depending on which state you live in) will be knocking at your door for child abuse. In addition, Dr. Phil and a whole slew of child psychologists will be telling us that we are terrible, unworthy parents that are "changing the people that they are" by spanking them.

In addition, we are raising bullies or chaotic children that will run around thinking that hitting is okay if we spank. So, are they actually saying that everyone who was spanked as a child grew up to be a bully? And, we all run around thinking we can hit our adult friends? 

Come Knock On My Door!

Well, Department-of-whoever-you-are: come and knock on my door, because I HAVE spanked my kids! And, when you come visit me, be prepared to be introduced to well-behaved, courteous, and good-mannered children. Have you met any of those lately? Well, of course not, because you don't ALLOW parents to raise their children anymore!

The Limitations

We have the local and the national government trying to tell us what works and what doesn't as parents. Well, let's see...crime rates have risen, the behavior of children is far worse now than it has ever been, and this new, confused "Millennium" generation is so lost, I'm not sure they'll ever get back on track. What's the biggest factor that has changed since things started going ballistic in the parenting/childhood category? SPANKING.

The Department of Social Services...(again, they are known by different names, depending on which state you live in) will openly tell you that as long as you spank your child on the rear end with an open hand in a controlled manner, it IS NOT child abuse.

The common denominator of all of the problems and issues concerning children nowadays comes down to children NOT getting spanked anymore...sad, but true.

Do I Really Think Spanking Works?

Okay, I'll be honest. Spanking is not my first choice when it comes to discipline. I prefer time-outs over spanking any day (and time-outs usually do work) and taking away privileges (and, boy, do they hate this!). 

But, when it came all the way down to it, what worked for our parents? Spanking. We behaved because we did not want to be spanked. We listened because we didn't want to be spanked. We had manners because we did not want to get spanked. We ate our food at the table because we did not want to be spanked. We did what we were supposed to do because we did not want to be spanked, plain and simple. 

I disrespected my mother because I knew she wouldn't spank me...but my Dad...I wasn't going to cross him. Why? Because he would spank me! How many people remember their mom saying, "Just wait until your father gets home!"? I think I made my point.

There is a hierarchy for discipline, of course, you wouldn't just start wailing on your kid for not doing their homework...that's so 1900! We're in 2010, here, and we've got to be smarter parents. 

So, What Are We Supposed To Do?

Look, I'm not saying to spank your kids for everything that they do wrong. No, way! And, I'm definitely not promoting the terrible abuse that parents think is okay - you know, the dad that said that he was "Play Boxing" with his little two year old and ended up killing him. Dejesus, you were seriously trying to teach your son to box and accidentally hit him in the face several times - and killed him?

That cowardly excuse for a father (and, I'm trying to be ladylike here) needs to rot UNDER the jail! Let me at him, judge! That baby NEVER deserved anything like that, even if he was being naughty! Two-year-olds don't require spankings (their age group, and younger, is more at the time-out level), let alone being popped in the face!

And, no child needs to be beaten - or killed - for that matter. 

I'm talking about a spanking, not a beating. I'm not talking about belts or whips or even wailing on a child. Three pops on the butt usually works just fine for me, if it comes down to it. 

Let me make this clear: Parents that can't control their own behavior should not put their hands on their children. Spanking should not be done out of anger or when you are pushed to your limit.

There Must Be A Better Way

Of course, there are better ways to discipline our children! And, my honest feeling is, if these methods of discipline work, well, why even turn to spanking? But, there are certain occasions when a pop on the butt is called for - and that's that. 

Techniques Other Than Spanking

I definitely recommend using other techniques, and 99% of the time, "other methods" are my choice for disciplinary measures. Prior to handing out any form of discipline, you will need to make sure that you lay out the "Actions Versus Consequences Rules and Regulations of Life". 

In other words, make sure that your kids understand that there are consequences for every action that they choose in life - they should understand that some "consequences" (or rewards) will be great and others (for bad choices and behavior) will be negative.  

Then, you need to stick to handing out the consequences. This - in my opinion - is parent's biggest downfall today. They are so inconsistent when it comes to discipline that their children have NO IDEA what to expect. Give them clear expectations for their actions -whether good or bad - and let them know what the "consequence" will be and then stick to it. Here are some ideas:

1) I've mentioned the "time-out", and I've seen so many parents fail miserably at even attempting the time out method with their children. Eventually, they give up. If this method doesn't work for you, you're doing something wrong.

2) Try to find a "happy medium" where your child can behave and you can be happy. In other words, negotiate. (I do not agree with this one, although there are too many times when I do it.)

3) Give yourself a time out. I have looked right in my misbehaving child's eye and told them: "I am so upset with you right now that I need a time out." Wait until you see their reaction! If you have never seen a speechless child, try this technique and walk away.

4) Make sure your child is getting the appropriate amount of food and sleep - lack of either one can cause bad behavior. 

5) Take away their favorite ________. You fill in the blank. What could you take away from them that would really hurt their feelings? I mean...make them think about their actions.And, don't give it back until the time has been served.

But, When All Else Fails...

For your children that are between the ages of four and upwards, if all of the "other" techniques on the planet don't work for you, calmly reach out and pop them on the butt three times. I bet they'll listen to you the next time around!


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  2. Bethany

    Cases like that of 'adam 13' is very frequent. I think parents take to beating (not spanking) or physically torturing their children when they are incapable of dealing with the kids. Such parents needs counselling first and then think of raising kids!

  3. Chitra,

    Thanks for you comment! You are very very right. And, the fact that that happens makes me sick.

    I think I drew a line between the two in my post, however, I will re-iterate that there is a controlled manner and there is the angry manner. If you're angry, you and your child are better off if you don't raise your hand.

    In the meantime, the majority of parents that I talk to nowadays tend to agree with me...most of us were spanked and none of us turned out to be serial killers or child abusers.

    I agree that this is a controversial issue, but I am not going to walk on tip-toes to make everyone on the Internet happy. I'm going to say what I think.



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