Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Spanking Pickle

When do you resort to spanking a child? Is spanking right? Is spanking wrong? I know that this has been an avid debate in many homes and communities nationwide.

I spank my children. I use it as a last resort. I do not like spanking and try to use it only in situations where everything else has not worked to get my child to understand that the choices he's making are dangerous. I use time out regularly as well as other discipline alternatives. I also use rewards for desirable behaviors.

Most of us have stoves we use on a daily basis. Kids are naturally attracted to things we do every day. We, as adults KNOW that stove is HOT and getting close enough or even touching that HOT stove is going to HURT! And not only is it going to hurt -- its going to hurt a LONG time.

So, what is more cruel? A swat on the behind that only lasts moments to deter them from touching the hot stove. OR what potentially can be a NASTY burn from letting them touch it, that the pain will last several hours to several months? (Several months, of course, being the very worst case scenario of burn wounds that refuse to heal.)

It's a very frustrating topic. Many believe that spanking promotes causing pain is okay. Others think that spanking is needed to stop behavior that otherwise is problematic. Still others use spanking as routine to get the children to do what the adult thinks they should do.

I often wonder about these people who say spanking is the worst most horrible thing you can do to your own child. I would like to watch them interacting with their children for about 2 months. Who's the "ruler of the roost" in their home? I have seen it both ways -- where the kids rule the roost and get everything they want. And where the parents rule the roost and guess what? Many of them spank. And where the kids "rule the roost" the kids are out of control, cruel, disobedient and had I talked to my parent that way I would have had my face slapped off.

I do not think there is a happy medium here. What has worked for one child in my home has not worked for the others. My youngest son and my second child are perfect examples of that. My youngest is a dare devil. He does things the others had never dreamed of doing at the same age. One of those things is he used to be very attracted to the road which our house is close to. Living on a busy street has been part of mine and the children's lives nearly all the time. My second child -- he never gave me trouble about going toward the street to investigate every car and truck that went by. The youngest, however, is completely different in that aspect. Everything that goes by on that street has got to be fun! The only problem is -- its also very dangerous for a 25 pound lightening bolt made of delicate bones and muscle to encounter 175 pounds plus of metal going at least 20 mph or more. (Average adult cyclist *male or female* is 175 pounds with the bike and they move fast down my road -- that being the smallest of the worries. On up to fully loaded 18 wheelers weighing in at 28 tons. Despite best efforts I don't think any of them can stop on a dime to avoid hitting something jumping out in front of them.)

The second child --- I could give him a look and he wouldn't dare go near a busy street. The youngest child -- the temptation and the impulse to investigate that road was simply more than he could tolerate no matter how many times I made it clearly a bad idea for making a bee-line to that road, UNTIL -- I spanked him. That is when he finally got it that I absolutely meant it when I said do not go near the road!

Every situation is a bit different for everyone. Personalities, life experiences, life in general all play a factor in how we deal with things.

If you choose not to spank your children and it works for you then don't spank them. If you choose to spank your children as a means of discipline then be responsible about why, when and where you use this form of discipline. Also, do yourself and your child a favor. Do not spank them when you are blind with anger. The use of spanking does hurt - just be sure to control yourself so that the hurt is as it is meant to be - short term discomfort to make a point. Men that spank have to be extra careful - males by nature are stronger and tend to strike harder than they realize.

Many blessings......