Wednesday, January 19, 2011

To Spank or Not to Spank

This is were i get kicked out of the attachment parenting club. I find that style helpful with babies but not defiant children. I have really struggled with writing this post. The first part is a post I made myself on Cafemom right after Ronan was born. It was hard for me to put it on here without editing it because I actually don't agree with myself on some of it. I had just had an awesome natural birth, on which I was criticized about on Cafemom for allowing my dr to strip my membranes and breaking my water. I was just learning about AP, had read Dr. Sears book. I think I was trying very hard to "fit in" in this online community. I ended up abandoning Cafemom. It turned out to be full of to many extremes for me. With all the Lactavist, intactavist, hardcore APers. Yes, I'm a breastfeeding advocate, but I'm not going to tell another mom she's feeding her baby poison if she chooses formula.  Three of my boys are circ'd and one isn't, so I'm definitely not going to accuse someone else of butchering their son! Point is as parents we all do our best with the information we have at the time. This isn't a test, there aren't right and wrong answers. As long as you are loving, and making the choice you feel is best for your family, you can't fail. We should encourage and help one another, not judge and criticize. I was also high on oxytocin when I wrote the original post. I hate to say I'm more nurturing when I'm breastfeeding... But I am.  So here it is....

I'm on the fence with this subject... I agree that kids today seem to be much less respectful but it also seems like there are a LOT more parents that still believe in spanking than not... Don't misunderstand me... I am NOT advocating the extreme spanking most of our parents and grandparents used but I think in order for any disipline to work it has to be full on.  Back in the day parents didn't worry about having a relationship with their children... this is not to say that those kids didn't develop a respect for their parents later on and form a close relationships.  When you did something wrong you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that you were gunna get your butt busted... so you didn't do it... and they didn't just use a liitle tap on the butt... it HURT. There were no one, two, three chances. So I don't think spanking is an effective form of disipline when used arbitrarily... either use it all the time... or reserve it for EXTREME meassures, or don't use it at all.  I think... HOPE... that other form of disipline are effective for most behavior problems if used consistantly.  IMO that is our biggest down fall as parents today... we are not consistant.I agree that not all kids can handle this type of punishment... and that some have and do suffer from it.  I also agree with the part of the article that says parents sometimes spank as a way to release their own frustrations. I also agree that spanking can lead to violent behavior.   I am not making lay statements... I am a mother of four who is struggling to find the right method for my family... I have spanked all of my older three children and I'll have to admit that it has not worked for us... plus I am constantly dealing with the issue now of my kids hitting each other.  I try to explain to them that it is not their place to disipline each other but when one does something the other does like their first reaction is to hit the other.  My husband and I say to each other all the time that we don't understand... we would have never behaved the way our children have at times.  I'm not saying that I gave birth to a bunch of hellians... they can be really good kids.. but we do have our issues.. I won't go into all that right now though.  I am currantly looking for something that will work for our family that I can use consistantly... but I can't let that thing be spanking... I want my kids to repect me without fear of me inflicting pain on them... and I can't take the constant fighting in my house anymore... this has to be a hit free zone. I can't promise that I will Never spank Ronan(my youngest) for EXTREME things.. but I hope not... I hope that I can find something else that works... my relationship with my kids is very important to me... I know you can't be your kids best friend all the time but theres GOT to be something else that TRUELY works... cuz I've got news for you ladies that only have one... or haven't been through it all yet... an occasionall spanking doesn't work!

When I decided to revisit the subject I got online and tried to research. There are plenty of "studies" that show adverse effects of spanking. The problem is none of them are scientific. The people looked at come from an era when it's hard to find ANYbody who has never been spanked. Sure, ask a mass murderer if he was spanked as a child... I'm sure he will say yes. But how many well adjusted citizens, or even Nobel peace prize winner were spanked as well. I was.  Maybe the murderer was spanked more often but chances are he wasn't a very good kid!  Remember we are just talking about spanking, not abuse. In January 2010 a study was released claiming to be more scientic than any previous study.
So is spanking actually beneficial when used correctly. But what is correct... 

I so many times in the past, when my kids were misbehaving wondered where I went wrong. The only thing I think I did wrong was not turn to God sooner for guidance. All of the character qualities I want my children to have are outlined in the Bible. It's my job to teach them. I don't think my kids hit each other because of an occasional spanking. I think they hit because the majority of them are aggressive boys, and I failed to teach them self-control.
So what exactly does the Bible say about spanking. 

Prov 13:24: "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (diligently)."
Prov 19:18: "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying."
Prov 22:15: "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."
Prov 23:13: "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die."
Prov 23:14: "Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell (Shoel)."
Prov 29:15: "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."

Some people argue that King Solomon who wrote proverbs was a tyrant and look how his son turned out but the Bible tells us God gave him great wisdom. 

Solomon prays:

"Give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people and to know good and evil."1 Kings 3:9 [9]

"So God said to him, 'Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked...'" (1 Kings 3:11-12)[9] The Hebrew Bible also states that: "The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart." (1 Kings 10:24) [10]

The old testament also advises a lot of stoning though... So you decide. 

Anyway, this is what we have come up with for our family. We have Bible study every evening to learn how to apply the fruits of the spirit to our lives. In our chore packs specific consequences are given. If morning pack isn't completed, that person has to do everyones bathroom chore in the afternoon. If the afternoon pack isn't completed, that person has to do everyones kitchen chore in the evening. If evening pack isn't completed, no bedtime snack! Timeouts are given for indirect disobedience... Or doing what you know you are not suppose to do. Grounding and loss of priveleges results after a third timeout in day. Direct defiances gets a count to 3, then a spanking. There I said it. I spank my kids. Or at least I would. They don't usually let me get to 3. I used redirection with Ronan, as I am doing now with Raiden until about 3. When I was sure he understood my direction, but started telling me no. Am I bad mom, I don't think so. Although, my kids do sometimes tell me I'm the worst mom in the world, when they don't get their way.  I figure they will have plenty of friends in their lifetimes, but only one mom.  My firmness is balanced with, love, gentleness and affection. My 12 year old son still likes to cuddle with me, as do all my kids. I don't yell and scream anymore, it's not necessary. Hopefully as my kids and I learn more from the Bible, discipline will become less and less. It seems like it has already and we are only two weeks in. 


  1. So interesting...I am more of an attachment parent with babies and then not so much as they get older. Different children have different languages and sadly, my oldest has to be spanked. We have tried EVERYTHING. I don't think I will ever have to spank my youngest. Timeouts and scoldings work for her. With a house full, I imagine you have to have blanket policies to maintain order!

  2. I really need to get these chore packs. We have a hard time being consistent, and Brad and I have discussed that a lot lately because we have a lot of issues with our middle child, Isabel. She's pretty defiant. And I admit, sometimes the screaming gets out of hand and it honestly doesn't do any good.

  3. I have a problem with consistancy but I am working on this. Also working on the yelling and screaming part too. Not a good example for my little ones so have to make changes. I can't see how you can be the worst mom in the world because at times i carry that title (when little ones are angry). I too am a spanker, which i try to reserve for more serious issues, although i do not see much of a result and seem to be encourging the sibling fighting issues as well. Thank you for sharing your research and experiences. Being a mom sure is a tough job but it is one that i wouldn't trade for anything. I just hope and pray I always do my best at it.

  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog and for sharing! We do sound like we have similar ideas. :)
    I think you're right in that consistancy is the main thing. I worked at daycare before having my son and consistancy is what helped kids really understand that you meant what you said. That's important! If you only discipline half the time, the kids will learn they can really push it.
    As far as spanking, I think it's a good thing if it meets certain qualifications- if it's not abuse, if it's done calmly & in control (not in anger- that's where it gets scary), and if you do it out of love for your children and explain why you did it. And of course- if it's done consistently. I know not everyone might agree, but I think that if the child doesn't have real consequences then they'll still do whatever they want. I knew a lot of kids who didn't care at all about getting put in time out. (That being said, it does work for some kids, so that's wonderful if it works for your family!)
    This is a long comment-sorry- but I think what you said is good- being firm, consistent, and loving. :)