My mother used to tell me that what works with one child, won’t necessarily work with the next one(s). Boy was she ever right. My oldest son is so calm and well composed that many times you won’t even know he’s in the house. For 8 years he was an only child so he learned to entertain himself–the two smaller children-not so much. My two youngest ones (4 and 2) are the exact opposite. You hear them from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to bed. They routinely break things, talk with their mouths open and laugh over their own bodily function-they are normal kids. But with them being normal kids, there’s something in me that wants to control their behavior. You know make sure they’re “well behaved” children. So to help keep them in line, I’ve spanked them.
Up until this week, I was a fan of spanking their hand (or bottom) if they did something out of order. You know when they decide to have a contest on who can throw my glasses the furthest. Or when they take my prized computer and I find them typing over an important document. But this week I got to thinking if spanking actually helps their behavior. Yes, they learn to be afraid when Mommy gets that “look” but do they really alter their behavior? Heck no, instead they are soon doing the same thing within 30 minutes of being punished. Let me give you an example. Last Tuesday, I was honored as Teacher of the Year (I’ll give you details on that later) and while I was in the program I could hear my two youngest making noises, talking loudly and crying–all during a formal program. I saw my husband take them to the back and then bring them back in. After about 30 minutes of sitting quietly they were back at it: bickering, yelling and running. I almost got mad but I began to think.
Is it normal for a 2 and 4 year old to have to sit through a 3 hour program and not lose it? Ummm..no. They were used to being at home, playing and doing homework not sitting through a boring program. After the program, the kids were still restless so they did what any good toddler would do–they began to play tag. Yes, I got frustrated mainly because I didn’t want people to think I was a “bad parent” but then I remembered that they were kids and after sitting for 3 hours they were ready to play! So after “checking myself for a few minutes, I relaxed. Why in the heck do I care what some stranger thinks about how I choose to parent my children? For the rest of the week, I sat an marinated on if spanking was helping my kids and as of today I decided to go against EVERYTHING I was taught.
I will not whip my kids again. They don’t respond to it and they never learn a lesson from it. Instead my 2 year old (especially) starts to do what he was doing before he was spanked. I don’t want my kids to be afraid of me, instead I want them to respect me. So instead of spanking there will be a lot of time out, stern ‘talking to’, and removal of toys to control their rambunctious behavior. So This will be quite an adjustment to my parenting style but I’m willing to do it. I’m not getting “soft” but I’m evolving to a more informed parent. Now do you spank your kids? Holla if you hear me!