Tuesday, September 11, 2012

To Spank or Not To Spank?

This seems like a question that has been brought up for years. Before I get started, everything that I say is MY PERSONAL OPINION. To each is own. Whether you spank your child or not that is up to you. I feel that there is no wrong or right answer to the situation and I'm always open to everyone's thoughts. I just ask that you be respectful of others if you decide to provide your input on the topic.

I grew up in a household where even though my parents were divorced since I was 5 years old, both of them spanked my little sister and I whenever we got in trouble. Sometimes it would be a spanking with the hand, sometimes with a slipper, or sometimes even with a belt. Talking to some of my peers that wasn't uncommon for us kids growing up. Now that I have a son of my own I went back and forth with the idea of spanking. I never wanted to instill fear in my children like I felt my parents liked. I've heard them a few times express that fear = obedience, and I feel that there are other ways to get the point across than make your children fear you. If you read this and it sounds like I'm on both sides of the fence with the idea, it's only because I'm still trying to figure out what works haha. I see both sides of the argument and so far it seems there's no clear winner when it comes to my son. I never spanked my son until probably he was toddler age. I would slap his hands or spank him on his butt lightly with my hand whenever he acted out and wouldn't listen after talking to him and/or putting him in time out. I learned that the time out thing worked real well until about the age of 4. I implemented the technique that they used in his preschool of having a calming time rather than the normal time out. I would send him to a designated corner for him to calm down and he was allowed to leave the area whenever he was ready to talk. If he still wasn't calm I'd send him right back and kept doing this until we actually talked about the situation calmly. Then he turned 4 and I feel like he lost his mind.
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He started throwing horrible tantrums by trying to hit, throwing things in his room, pouting, stomping, everything you can think of. I tried the calming time, I tried reasoning with him, I tried taking things away as punishment, and then I spanked him. I low key cried the first time I legit spanked him on the butt. I felt so bad but somehow it worked! He stopped acting the way he did after that one spanking. He tested the waters once in awhile, but I'll warn him that he'll get spanked if he didn't stop and that was the end of it. It wasn't until one day around Valentine's Day where I was trying to define the meaning of "love" where I questioned the methods of spanking. One thing I said about love was that you don't want to hurt the people you love. This is where the conversation made a turn where JAM immediately made a comment that caught me off guard.

JAM: "But you and daddy hit me."

ME: "What?! no we don't."

JAM: " Yes you do, when I get in trouble you hit me."

ME: "No we spank you when you get in trouble....." wait.

Crap! my son was technically right! How do you explain to a 4 year old the difference?! I honestly tried my best to explain the difference and he looked and me like I was crazy so we just stopped talking about it. I promised his that I would never spank him again as long as he listened to my words since the only time he seems to listen is after he ends up getting spanked. He agreed. However, this arrangement lasted until his was halfway through Kindergarten. I don't know if it's what he picked up at school or from the older kids, but he started back up with the tantrums X 10 and he started talking back as well! I warned him that if he didn't stop that I'd start spanking him since he's not listening to my words, but he didn't care. JAM is 6 years old now and in 1st grade and I think I've only spanked him 2-3 times since then. I decided that I'd walk away and we'd both cool down and we talk about the situation in a calm fashion instead of all the yelling and spanking. Sometimes it works, sometimes he gets things taken away. I ended up spanking him when his acting out got really bad and nothing else was getting through to him. I don't know. Clearly I go back and forth with it, but I personally don't like doing it. I thought that all this attitude stuff would come around when he was like 13 NOT 5. I love my son. There's no doubt about it, but what do you do when you've tried everything and the kids still don't respond? I even read that certain areas are considering banning spanking.
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What do you think? Should spanking be banned or should it be the parents choice?