By April Dye
A woman a few months ago was arrested in San Antonio for spanking her 2-year-old daughter. There are differing reports that she left bruises or that the child had some red marks on her bottom. I don’t know the details but I do know this is the worst news for parents.
There are proponents for non-spanking and spanking alike but what is funny to me is that even proponents for spanking are confused as to when it would be appropriate to spank a child. Bill O’Reilly stated that 2 years old was too young. Seriously!
Our children look to us for comfort, support and as their teachers. Our children need our parenting. We need to train them in the ways of manners. We need to nurture them with our hugs and kisses. We need to develop their minds and attitudes. We need to prepare them to be the adults they will become. We need to be there with a high-five when they do good and a rod when they aren’t.
The sooner you start discipline the better. Now obviously you wouldn’t start with a spanking or on an newborn/infant. However, as soon as they start moving around and wanting to do what they want – it is time to start letting them know there are rules and consequences.
I started, for one thing, with a swat to the leg if I was changing their diapers and they were trying to wiggle away from me and my task of changing a diaper. Why? For one, to let them know that they needed to be still and two to let them know I needed them to do something and they weren’t following directions. I also would swat little hands if they were touching things or getting into things they shouldn’t. Why? For one, it could have been something breakable like a picture frame or could have been dangerous like a electrical socket. I used my words and then when they continued they got a swat. A small child does not understand enough to reason. So you use something they do know. Now why do babies cry? Because they are hungry or wet. How do they know this? If they are hungry, their tummies feel empty which to them probably is a little painful. When they are wet probably uncomfortable and to them maybe even painful. They understand the pain response.
There is a difference between a swat/spanking and physical abuse. What makes more sense…teaching your child not to play in traffic by getting run over by a car or spanking them when they disobey and walk in the street so next time they will think first because…who wants a spanking. Has anyone nowadays heard of deterrents?
Society today says that our children are so fragile that a harsh word or swat on the bottom can damage their little personalities for life. Having at one time been a child who got my fair share of spankings, even in high school and am now raising two children, I have to say I find that argument very amusing and actually very sad. I have seen evidence of this kind of philosophy. I have seen children hold their parents and households hostage by their unreasonable demands. I have also seen homes where discipline is given but consistency and follow through are absent.
I am a Time Out/ISS aide at an elementary school. I see kids of all ages from pre K to 5th grade. Most of these kids could care less that they get sent to the office. I had one child in my room 64 times. There is no corporal punishment. There is really no deterrent to make them not want to come to the office. They get a few minutes maybe hours in TO, maybe all day in ISS maybeOSS (home for the day – which probably consists of getting to play video games or TV). I have had parents who are not even upset when they pick up their kids or if they are, you could not tell by the way they spoke with their kids. Many times the parents are mad at the principal or the teacher or want to blame another student for their child’s behavior. Seriously.
Do you like going to a restaurant and sitting next to a family whose children are running around, yelling, screaming and/or throwing food, where the parents are yelling, ignoring or pleading with their children to obey? I would assume your answer would be no. I know mine would be.
I know, for our family, that because our kids got swats or spankings and reprimands the older they have gotten the less I have to do that. Sometimes of course, I have to go in that direction, but more often than not I can just make them aware of their behavior and it changes.
Children need structure and boundaries. How you let them act at home is how they will behave in public. How you let them treat you is how they will treat other adults as well. If you let your children hit each other or you, why would you think they wouldn’t think it is okay to hit other children or adults/teachers? They need to know where the line in the sand is drawn. They will try to cross it but are always looking to their parents to remind them that it is there. They are not born with the knowledge of goodness. It has to be taught. Every child knows how to lie and they don’t even have to try.
We do our kids a disservice by not making them responsible for their actions. When we let them pick and choose the rules they will and won’t follow what are we teaching them? What is your expectation for your children? When I was in school the expectations were that we when we went to school we would go to class, pay attention, obey the teacher and do the work. Why is this not the expectation now? The same rules applied to everyone.
It is amazing how sometimes parents do not give their kids very much credit. When we expect that they can’t follow rules or act in a certain way, we are really saying they are not up to the challenge. Children are smarter than people give them credit for and this could be good or bad.
Do adults not realize that kids know how to manipulate? That they see what gets them what they want? They use it and even learn how to find different ways by watching and learning. They will adapt their behavior to the circumstance. That also works with good behavior and discipline.
Sometimes I think adults now a days forgot what it was like to be a child. I remember when I was told “do not hit” , that it meant I better not hit. I heard the whole sentence not just “hit”. Yes, these are the things that teachers and even adults are being taught in “education/parenting” classes.
Every child is different, true. So modify your discipline that works for them, but I promise the sooner you start the better and you cannot negotiate with children. You have to let them know that you are the boss and what you say goes. When they become adults they aren’t going to be able to tell their boss “I don’t feel like working right now, so I will come in later” or “I know that you prefer we wear pants to work but I really am more comfortable in shorts”. They will have to say goodbye to that job.
We are not supposed to be our children’s friends. We are to be their parents – to teach them and guide them in the ways of good, kind, caring and responsible adults.
Love your children enough to tell them no and to set boundaries and discipline. They will thank you for it.
April Dye is a wife and mother of two. You can follow her at clardye.blogspot.com