When I started this blog, I didn't really know what to expect. I thought I might "meet" a few nice people. Laugh at some funny stories. I even dared to hope that I might end up with some new friends out of this, people I could email with and really get to know on a more personal level. Didn't ever occur to me that I'd occasionally be letting the entire internet get personal with ME.
One of my "daily reads", Amy at Memories and Musings of A Mommy, has become one of my favorite reads. She's insightful and intelligent. Plus, she seems like a mommy that's got it all together. One of the things I like best about Amy's blog is that she doesn't just post drivel. (Not that most of you do..... lol... and if you do, well-- I'm actually pretty sure you do it intentionally!) Which is why one of her latest posts intrigued me so much.
Spare the rod and spoil the child?
Years ago, parents were able to discipline their children in whatever way they saw fit. Often, that discipline included spanking. I can't even count how many adults of my acquaintance when I was younger would talk about "picking out their own switch". These days, its a very terrifying prospect to admit to anything harsher than a time out, for fear of your actions being construed as child abuse. And NOTHING scares me more than the thought of losing my children in ANY way. And yet, there have been times I've found myself in the (unenviable) position of deciding to spank or not to spank.
My boys have not always been the easy, loving children I've painted them here. (I know, that comes as such a surprise to all of you out there!) And I've not always been the patient, kind, understanding mama I am right at this moment. I have an unfortunate combination of a quick, often vicious temper, and a rather short strand of patience. These qualities make parenting with love and logic quite a challenge sometimes. However, because I ADORE my boys, the often herculean effort is made to remain rational when they are not. I am not perfect, and my boys instinctively know which buttons to push and when. Bug, especially, has been my challenge as I've mentioned before.
With my boys being so very different from each other, the discipline styles have -- out of necessity -- been different. Jock has always been the type of personality that responds well to warnings, and minor punishments such as time-outs when he was small. Bug isn't so fortunate. He's inherited the same unfortunate combination I suffer from. Combine that with ADHD and what we suspect is some form of a sensory disorder, and it is a recipe for meltdowns. It helps that I can understand that, so when I'm able to remain calm I can generally calm him down and he and I talk things through.
I notice I've said a lot, but not answered the question. Do I spank my children?
The answer is not a simple yes or no. If it was, I'd have to answer: Yes, I have. There have been moments with each of them, after all other punishments and disciplines had failed (more than once, I might add), that I felt it was the only option left to me. Was it effective? At those particular moments in time..... the answer would be: Only sometimes. And it depended on the child. Almost always with Jock. Rarely with Bug. Any sort of physical contact with Bug during those meltdown moments was painful for him both emotionally and physically. At those times, I sat with him on his bed, holding him in a hug on my lap, rocking him and singing softly until his tears and tantrums were spent. Sometimes that took just a few minutes. Often, that took a lot longer. And on rare occasions, that took a couple of hours. There were times when Coach had to come and relieve me, because you simply can't hold your child when he's at his breaking point without getting close to your own.
There is a difference between spanking and beating your child. As it was mentioned on Amy's post (I'm sorry.. I don't recall if it was Amy herself, or one of the comments), if you take pleasure or feel justified, I feel its gone beyond a mere spanking. There is a certain truth to the old saying "This hurts me more than it hurts you." It should ALWAYS break your heart as a parent to inflict any pain, no matter how minor or temporary, on your child. ALWAYS.
My boys are older now, and the disciplines have changed. We no longer even consider spanking as an option. First, there is something patently absurd about spanking a teenager. Second, as the boys have matured, they are better equipped to think things through. Now, we find that the best punishments are ones they have had a hand in designing themselves. The most effective has been giving up something important to them. Something that THEY have chosen as important. It has helped to establish a lasting connection in their minds that their actions have consequences.
I thought this would be a difficult subject to write about, and I wasn't wrong. My parenting style differs from many others out there. And even though my kids are older now, and we don't really face this issue any longer, I'd love to know how each of you tackles this situation. *** Here's the people who have tackled this sensitive subject before me:
Miche does not spare the rod
Jo-N wants to be her children's best friend.
Tot's Mom spares the rod and believes in patience.
Huckdoll spares the rod and believes there are more effective yet gentle ways to discipline than spanking.
Kelly at Ordinary Art has a three-step approach that does not always work but leaves tiny tushes mark free.
OhMommy has spanked and never will again.
Amy spanks when necessary.
The Sports Mama found it depended on the individual child and the situation.
1. Go to your blog.
2. Post about the topic.
3. Give me the hot, hard, and heavy linky love
4. Copy the last paragraph above and add your name and discipline style.
5. Post that paragraph onto your blog, including links. (Yeah, you will want to sharpen a pencil and stab it in your eye at this point. But, isn't that half the fun.)
6. Go to the five people you have tagged and leave them a comment to know they are now, it.
7. Sit back and let the comments roll in.
I would really be interested in how these people tackled this subject:
The Burgh Baby's Mom
Karen at The Rocking Pony
Karen at Lyrics of My Life
and Lunanik at Secrets of A Black Heart
***Please, don't be shy about leaving me a comment. All I ask is that you be respectful. It takes a lot of courage to post something so personal for the entire world to see. I am not asking to be judged, as I will most certainly NOT judge you for your personal style of parenting. If you can not refrain from being mean and judgemental, I would ask that you please NOT leave a comment here today.