Monday, December 17, 2007

The 64,000 Dollar Question

If you look in the comments of my last post, you'll see that Kidzmama has left me a meme. I thought, "Oh what fun! A meme!" My experience with meme's has been of wacky things like, what's your superhero name? Or maybe Christmas meme's. But this one makes me think and feel, which I'm not overly fond of doing here. But never one to turn down a challenge which won't get me killed or make me ill, I'm game to tackle this one. Just be warned that the subject is not light. In fact, it may get downright gruesome and you may want to turn your head. Like now.

The gruesome subject is spanking. Kidzmama asks, Do I do it or not? Well that's a simple enough question, with a simple enough answer. But nooooo ... that's just what those meme people WANT me to think. And my answer really isn't one I like or like to think about.

Like Kidzmama, I was spanked as a child. My dad used his belt. Some of the stuff Kidzmama said about her upbringing apply to me, as to how I responded and felt, but really, my dad was the only person I remember spanking me. I guess my mom did, but I don't recall it hurting. And when my dad spanked, it wasn't very often. He always had conversations with me about what I did wrong. But inside I always had a difficult time either seeing or admitting what I did. And when I got spanked, I rarely cried. I just ground my teeth and sucked it up. And I was known as stubborn and rebellious (a title I fight today).

Fast forward to me with children. I was not going to use a belt, ever. But I believe that little hineys are padded for a reason, and that spanking is reserved for acts of outright disobedience, when children understand what they're doing wrong and do it defiantly. Have I always practiced spanking calmly for the right reasons? No. And did my kids sometimes smirk at their weak mother when she attempted to spank? Yes. Do I spank now? No. I think that spanking only serves for a short window of time in a child's life. And how did I spank? Usually a wooden spoon on the derriere. But there have been times I've misused my mom powers with my kids, times I regret. And other times when a spanking got their attention and we could talk about what happened and why.

As my children got older, the consequences for disobedience were made to suit the crime. And the child. Mae almost never got spanked. She's my quiet child. And I couldn't really tell you what works with her. Conversations, patience, love, grounding at times. Oliver was spanked a few times, but he's always been so much more active than defiant. He gets grounded. And he tends to bend the truth, which means he's grounded till we work through things. Nathaniel - well let's just say I thank God every day that we figured out the whole ADHD thing and that he's on wonderful meds. There were days I lost my religion with that boy.

So where do I stand? I believe that spanking, done correctly, will not harm a child, and will in fact help in discipline. Do most parents use spanking correctly? I don't think so. Have I always? I don't think so. Are there parents who don't spank who should? Probably, but not all. Will my children be in therapy long after I'm dead because of their upbringing? Probably. None of us have a handle on this parenthood thing and can say we do it perfectly. I know some parents who do it well. I think they're the ones who admit when they screw up, who learn from their mistakes, who apologize to their kids and let them see that they're human. I want to be one of those parents.

Thanks, Kidzmama, for making me think. Don't do it again. :)

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.

Kidzmama will never spank.

The Good Flea spanked when necessary, for a certain window of time.

I would like to see The Karate Mom deal with this topic (when she gets her power back).

1. Go to your blog.

2. Post about the topic.
3. Link back to my blog.
4. Copy the last paragraph above and add your name and discipline style.
5. Post that paragraph onto your blog, including links. (If you copy and paste the links should come too.)
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.


Amy said...

Thanks for posting on this. I didn't start this meme, but I had a similar reaction to you when I received it.

I appreciate you coming by and leaving a comment on my post.

The Sports Mama said...

Like Amy, I want to thank you for taking part in this meme. Its been incredibly enlightening, and heartening, to see how many parents will admit that they, and their children,are not perfect.

As the mother of an ADHD child who wasn't diagnosed until almost his 9th birthday, I can completely understand where you are coming from on that score. He is my challenge in life, but he is also the keeper of one of the biggest chunks of my heart. I wouldn't change him for anything. But, like you, I am thankful every day for his doctor and his medication!

Flea said...

LOL! My boy was diagnosed at 10 (just a couple of months ago). I homeschooled my three kids till this fall, so I didn't have teachers cluing me in to something being wrong. He required ALL of my attention and I just totally burned out.

It was true when I worked in preschool and it's true of my own kids - the ones who are the most work get the biggest heart chunk. :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Kidzmama said...

Thanks for sharing and being so honest. If I ever tag you again for a meme it will be the fun and easy kind just to make up for this one!

Karen said...

You did a wonderful job. Much like I think. I have been tagged with this as well and need to get off my buckus and post it.

Flea said...

Kidzmama - thanks! Maybe 100 things kids do with picked boogers?

Karen - good luck! This is NOT an easy post.