My mom is a bit of an anti-spanking fanatic. Growing up, I was taught by my mom that spanking is wrong, sinful even, under any circumstances. Since I’ve been an adult I have heard other people talk about the value of an occasional good swat on the tush and I have to say that I have agreed with them. I tried spanking my oldest when he got really out of control and I didn’t know what else to do. It didn’t work. He would just laugh and say, “Do it again!” I’ve never spanked any of my other three kids: I’ve never felt the need… until Princess became a toddler. I’ve only spanked her a couple of times and each time I’ve felt absolutely terrible. But what else do you do when you’re trying to wrestle a child to the ground just so that you can put clothes on her and she smacks you?
I usually give my kids lots of choices to avoid conflict. Pants or a skirt? Milk or juice? Walk or be carried? Clothes or no clothes? But when you are going out you can’t just have your child NOT wear clothes. Perhaps I should have taken her to the car naked and brought her clothes, that way when she calmed down later she could put her clothes on and hopefully everyone would have been happy. Hopefully.
I really don’t think spanking is the answer. How does it teach them to stop hitting if you hit them? And it just feels so…MEAN. But when they are out of control what can you do? Lock them up in their room, I guess. But what about when you go out? You can take away privileges, but what if there is nothing they care about enough to make them behave? And if you are in a situation in which you can’t take something away immediately, how effective can it be to threaten to take something away in the future?
Recently, an adult family member spanked Princess and I was both horrified and jubilant. On the one hand I felt badly that my daughter had been hurt. On the other hand I was overjoyed that she had received a much-needed smack on the behind for putting this person through hell.
I’ve heard people say not to spank when you are emotional. Honestly, that’s the only time I ever WOULD spank my kid. My natural reaction to being smacked is to smack back. But a natural reaction isn’t always the right one (just because someone is tailgating you, that doesn’t mean that you should slam on your breaks to teach them a lesson). Maybe it really is better to let yourself calm down before deciding what to do. If you do that, will you end up calmly deciding to spank your kid? Or will you think up another more creative and possibly more effective consequence?
I don’t look down on people who spank their kids, I think it can be called for at times. But I’m not sure I can justify it as an effective means of discipline for my kids. But it’s just so hard to think of appropriate consequences when your child is draining all of your brain cells by screaming, throwing a fit, getting violent, or all of the above.