Ever since I’ve been blogging, I occasionally get comments alluding to the importance of spanking children, and then other people comment in response, advising against the practice. I find this interesting—the polarization, the undercurrent of strong emotions. No one seems to ride the fence on this matter, except for me.
Here’s what I think:
*Spanking isn’t evil.
*Spanking isn’t the best option.
*Spanking can be extremely detrimental.
*Spanking is lazy discipline.
*Spanking can be helpful.
*Parents who spank can be excellent parents (and vice versa).
*Parents who don’t spank can be excellent parents (and vice versa).
*Parenting to be The Best is too stressful—it’s more encouraging, practical, and realistic to strive to be Good Enough.
I also think:
*It is dangerous to advise people to spank because you don’t know their situation and all the variables.
*It is important to encourage parents to think of creative ways to discipline children.
*It is unhelpful to stand in judgement of other parents.
*To assume that parents will always be consistent and calm when administering spanks is a dangerous assumption—we are all deeply and irrevocably human.
*There are an infinite number of personalities and temperaments (both parents and children alike)—to assume that we know all about the different types of children based on our two or four or eight children is another dangerous assumption.
How do all these beliefs play out in my life? I try to discipline my children using other methods besides spanking, but sometimes, in my less glamorous moments, I spank my kids. I am not proud of that fact. I don’t think it is effective or helpful, and I feel lazy when I do it. So I keep pushing myself to try to rise above that inclination—sometimes I succeed fabulously and sometimes I fail horribly.
I don’t think spanking (or not spanking) makes (or breaks) a good parent-child relationship; from my experience, it’s the quality time, among other things, that cements the bonds. (My parents spanked me, and not usually in a gentle, calm, consistent way, either; we have a very close relationship.) Spanking can be a deterrent to deep relationships, but so can many other things—a too-busy household, sarcasm, the inability/refusal to celebrate each other, and a focus on materialism, just to name a few.
I have not even come close to fleshing out all the information and perspectives surrounding this very touchy subject. Everybody offers a different slant, a different reason, for what they believe. I would love to hear what you think.
A Most Important Note! Please, please, please, comment with gentleness. Remember, we can all better understand each other when we share bits of our own stories, our insecurities, struggles, mistakes, and hurts; if you feel a need to criticize, please be vulnerable first.
About One Year Ago: Donuts!!!