February 23rd, 2013 § Leave a Comment
When and How
It’s touchy; I know. It’s a difficult subject for me too. And if I sound defiant or dogmatic, then I’m not representing myself well. Like I wrote in an earlier post, the older I get, the less I live in certainty. The decision to spank our children was a difficult one for us. Just about every time we did it, we wrestled with some measure of doubt. And yet, despite all this, we concluded it was good for our kids. Again, I’m not trying to convince anyone; up to you. To those of you still with me, I’d like to pass on some practicals, namely the when and the how.
In my last post, I wrote my belief that spanking has a very specific, limited usage: Not behavior modification, not teaching. The one purpose is to introduce humility: To say in effect, “You are not the King.” And so, in our home, only one crime led to a spanking: Rebellion. I think parents make the mistake of spanking based on the degrees, the severity of the crime. “If you do something REALLY bad, you get a spanking.” This results in inconsistent, subjective approach to discipline. For the child, there’s no way of knowing the when. What constitutes REALLY bad? Not knowing when promotes fear. And so, we decided, big or small, rebellion and only rebellion would lead to a spanking.
How do I define rebellion? Let me present a scenario: A child is given a clear directive. After reasonably demonstrating that they understand what you expect of them, they choose to act in direct opposition to your directive.
“Hey, don’t step off the curb.”
He looks at you. Stops at the edge (A reasonable demonstration that he understood). Looking at you, he takes a small step to confirm.
“Don’t step off the curb.”
He steps off the curb.
When he stepped off the curb, when he crossed that proverbial line, there was no counting. No, umpteenth repetition. No yelling, grabbing. No name calling. Usually, it was a calm resigning to what neither of us wanted, “Okay, let’s go.”
The How next issue.