To spank or not to spank… sigh. Once, before I had kids and knew everything about how and what I would do, I thought this was not even an option. End of discussion. Well. Tempis fugit, and here we are. Let’s discuss.
We’ve got some seriously difficult little boys right now- I don’t call them The Terrorists for no good reason. I’m not sold on spanking being a really, or even marginally, effective means of behavior change- but I would be lying if I said we have never done it. Now, when I say spank, I mean a swat on the bottom, not beating with wooden spoons, belts or any means of torture may have been status quo 50 years ago. A swat. With an open hand. But still…
What if the the spanking doesn’t work? Doesn’t correct the horrid behavior? The problem seems to be, what do you do then? You have played your ace, and your out of the game. And, I have read that you should be dispassionate when disciplining, and I don’t think I have ever been calm when I wanted to spank one of the boys… How do you do it? So are there situations that simply warrant a little bit of corporal punishment?
Here is what happened at our house today: We had a great day, so I can’t figure out what or where we turned left when we should have gone straight, but anyway… We went to the park, we had a picnic lunch, Jeffrey helped me cook dinner and we sang songs while we cooked, Eric read books and complained about our singing, and Abby slept in her bouncy seat on the counter, to be safe from Eric. After dinner the boys had a bath, got ready for bed and I read them three (three!) bedtime books. I’m feeling like I’ve got this one in the bag. Big Mistake.
As I am ushering the boys off to bed, at the same time as every night, Jeffrey starts to give me some grief, asking for more stories and griping about not wanting to go to bed. When I tell him no, he starts to pout and whine. He begins with the garbage about not loving me, wanting a new mommy, that I am not his mommy anymore, blah, blah, blah… I can totally let this roll off my back, but then Eric chimes in and starts to mimic Jeff, saying all the same yucky things. Now I am ticked. He had taught my two-year old to say crappy crap to me. They receive verbal warnings, first once, then twice, and three times- on the third, Jeffrey looses his favorite toy. It’s standard procedure here.
At this point, he is climbing the ladder to his bed, and reaches out and hits me. Here is where I loose it and swat him. Cool, now I have spanked my kid for hitting me! Give mom a prize!
Ultimately, it went downhill from there, and DH had to come in and take over. In our house, we are still old fashioned, and dad is the big-guns. Both boys ended up getting spankings. I feel like crap about it.
So when your kid is spewing really nasty stuff at you, teaching his younger brother to do the same and then hits you, what do you do? Perhaps if I were getting more sleep, not tired, didn’t have a new baby (definitely part of the problem) I might have come up with something more creative and effective… So, is it ever ok?
(I’ll tell you what makes me think it’s not: It is really hard to say your prayers after you’ve spanked your kid. Just a thought…)