Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I Was Spanked and I Turned Out Alright

I'm going to take a leap over a cliff and discuss my opinions on spanking. GASP! When we look at the parenting controversy of spanking, many parents who spank can be heard saying that they were spanked as a child and turned out alright. Granted, that may be a valid point; however, I'm thinking there are several other factors that contributes to a person turning out alright or not, independent of whether they were spanked or not.

One of the biggest obstacles in my current position is when speaking with parents and even staff members at the child care centers about dealing with problem behavior is the role parents play in their child's discipline and whether they spank their child or not. Another aspect of my job is to speak with parents about their concerns of their child's behavior and to offer them alternatives to spanking. Many parents, I have found are open to these alternative methods and I think many have turned to spanking out of sheer frustration and desperation because the things they have tried haven't worked. Parenting brings about a lot of differing opinions on the right/wrong way to discipline and spanking is one of the topics that brings about some of the most heated debates. Obviously, at child care centers, corporal punishment is not allowed but I do not know how many times I have heard that a certain child would behave SO much better if the parents gave him a good butt whoopin'.

So, now here are my personal thoughts/opinions on spanking. I believe that in this day and age with the resources we have available to us, that there are far better alternatives to spanking. I believe that spanking delivers a few messages:  When we get mad, it's ok to hit and that Mommy/daddy are going to spank me if I do something wrong, so I am scared of being spanked, not necessarily of the natural consequences caused by my behavior. I also believe that when we spank we fail to teach our children what we WANT them to do or what the desirable behavior is that we do want. They know that they did something wrong to be spanked but many times fail to see why and what they can/should do differently next time, which is why many times, the behavior still exists. I also believe that even if spanking does stop or curb a behavior it isn't really for the right reasons and bottom line- they don't want to be hit. 

I will admit that there have been a few times throughout my parenting journey that Sophia has received a few swats on the bottom in the moment. On a funnier note, one time when she was still in diapers, so she must have been around 2ish... I gave her a little swat and she exclaimed "Don't hit me mommy!" I felt compelled to explain that I wasn't hitting her, especially if God forbid, she went to school and shared with everyone that "mommy hit me" Oh the horror. Even as I began explaining, I was hit with the irony of my words.  Another time, she tried to swat at me when she was angry and I responded by swatting her bottom at the same time reminding her "that we don't hit." and once again I was met with how that actually sounded. Sometimes, I have to remind myself of what I am trying to accomplish and what I want Sophia to learn from the situation because trust me, I have been to the point that I feel like I have tried everything and it's just not working and sometimes it would be easy to just threaten a spanking. For some kids the threat is enough but what about the kids that threats don't work? Then it's a constant battle and every behavior is met with spanking. That just doesn't sound too fun in my book. For me or her.