heart in the clouds

Friday, January 23, 2009

To spank or not to spank; yes I want your opinions

I was spanked when I was a child. I was yelled at and I yelled back. There I said it. I don't think I'm totally messed up because of it, but I always said I would do things differently.

That was until I had a strong-willed, stubborn little boy enter my life and no I'm not talking about my husband. I've always thought spanking was the "easy" and "lazy" way out in theory. I still do to a certain extent. Disciplining without spanking requires a lot of patience, resolve and creativity and that is a lot of work. Still, is there a time when spanking is the way to go? Does it depend on the child? Does it depend on the severity of the inappropriate behavior? I have not answered all these questions in my mind to a point where I feel comfortable with the way I discipline my child.

In the Bible, when it says to spare the rod is to spoil the child, it is referring to a literal rod or is that a symbol of strong discipline and guidance as in the shepherd using the rod to guide and steer the sheep in the direction that is right? I don't see a shepherd beating the sheep with the rod. Am I way off base here?

I've read books that interpret it one way or another and I don't know that I agree with either view completely. I guess I find myself somewhere in the middle and that is the reason for all the questions. How hard is too hard to spank? How many swats? What if the child doesn't respond to the spanking; do you keep spanking until they do? Or do you hope that they remember the swat next time before repeating the behavior? Oh see, I'm so confused. Maybe I'm making this more than it should be, but we're just having some serious power struggles with Z and he needs to learn to respect us.

It also bothers me to read about spanking and then immediately hugging the child and telling them you love them. Doesn't that send a mixed message?

I admit I have spanked as a last resort and when I'm at my wits end in coming up with a way to discipline that will actually get through to Z. What are your honest opinions on this? I'm not going to judge anyone for saying what you think. Everyone is in a unique situation with unique children and I know we all have different ways of discipline. I just need some input on what works for you and what doesn't and what you believe is wrong, right when it comes to spanking.

As a side note, I just can't wait to see what ad google pairs with this blog...could be seriously warped!


Jennifer said...

well as you know i don't have kids, so whether we actually do it or not is a completely different story but nick and i have talked alot about discipline lately because some of the kids we see are just absolutely crazy! As of now we have been talking about doing the super nanny time out thing... and if that doesn't work then spanking. We were both spanked and think that we didn't turn out too badly but our parents both tried other ways to get us to behave before resorting to spanking. I think some parents do it out of anger though, and i dont think that is the way to go about it. They just grab their kid and spank them hard and then don't talk about why the kid got the spanking. I think if you leave the lines of communication open so that they know that they got the spanking because they disobeyed they will understand that it is out of love and not unlove (if that makes sense) But anyways.. good luck :) hehe luckily i won't have to put this into practice for quite a few years to come!!

jejic said...

Sure - I will throw in my 2 cents. So we do - not for Isaac (2) yet because he is just now starting to understand, but we do for Eli (3). It wasn't our first line of punishment - we did timeouts first. For Isaac that is painful and punishment for enough. But Eli is getting creative and can make it through time out without much consequence.
We don't spank for everything and we don't do it right after he disobeyed. We put him in his room first - calm Isaac down because the act of disobedience typically involved hurting Isaac. Then we go in his room talk about it and then spank him - twice/three times on the leg. We don't want the spanking to be seen as a reaction in anger and result in him acting violently when he is upset, but instead we want him to see it is a consequence, a punishment.
I have struggled with it too - why spank for an offense such as hitting, isn't that counterproductive. But I think spanking works for two reasons. First, Eli still fears it - sometimes just the threat is enough to divert the behavior. Secondly, he doesn't prefer it. Sometimes he'll say - "can I have time out instead". So I know it is something he doesn't like and he understands it is a punishment for something he should not have done.
I think several types of punishment and instruction are necessary in response to different situations and I think spanking has its place.
Ok - that is all I got.

EGs' Mom said...

"What the BIBLE says about . . . Child Training" by J. Richard Fugate.
I highly recommend this book. It still won't give you all the answers, but it will give a very detailed study of what the Bible says in regards to training up a child including spanking.

We purchased it used from Amazon (I think)
ISBN 1-889700-13-4

And yes we do spank.

mom2many said...

We spank. Some days it is preferred over duct tape. (KIDDING!) I have always read that you should only spank when the child diliberately disobeys...when they are being truly rebellious in their hearts. And when you do this, when they are young, you will find that you don't have to spank when they are older. Dr. Dobson has a lot of good things to say about spanking. Have you read "Bringing Up Boys"? It's a must read. Oh...and my children are very non-violent, even though their mommy spanks/spanked them!

Anonymous said...

I have a soon to be 14 year old boy. He was a very strong-willed toddler and preschooler but every adult that ever had him at church, school, etc. said he was wonderful (thankfully he only showed himself to his dad and I) and he was spanked with a wooden spoon from the time he was a toddler til maybe Kindergarten with a rare spanking after that. Most of the time he only had to "see" that spoon and he would stop the behavior. I even carried it in my purse so if he tried anything in public I would reach for it in my purse and that was all it took. By the time he started school, discipline for him was a rarity and I must say that he is a nice young man. (Other adults say that to me all the time!) So my take on it is that all that spanking/disciplining at the preschool level really helped to mold him into the young man he is today. He even says sometimes when he sees young children misbehaving that they "need a spanking". As a sidenote, he never ever tried to hit his dad or myself. And yes, the book "Bringing Up Boys" by Dobson is great! Now raising teenagers is something that I think is harder so I am not sure if I will ever feel confident about sharing my thoughts on that. I don't consider myself an expert parent by any means but I am a firm believer in spanking. So there you have my take! I wish you the best with your sweet boy! Boys are great!!

Misty Dawn said...

"It also bothers me to read about spanking and then immediately hugging the child and telling them you love them. Doesn't that send a mixed message?"

That bothers me, too, I do think that sends a mixed message.

I don't have kids, but when/if I do, I fully plan on spanking and using time-outs as well. I'm not sure what age my parents started spanking, but I know they did it first and then time outs later on...usually paired with a spanking before. Only my time-outs weren't short. They were 30 minutes to a couple hours, depending on what I'd done.

I think it's just a judgement call for the parent and what the child has done. Some folks only spank and I think kids get used to it and it doesn't work. Same goes for time outs. I think if you only do time outs then kids build up a tolerance and then it doesn't work.