My parents did the best they could with what they had, what they knew and the resources available to them.
I like to think that if I were being raised now, some things would be different.
For example, I hope that the “wait ’till your father gets home” philosophy of scaring the pants off kids has been abandoned. In our home, I am the primary disciplinarian being the one that normally finds the error of their ways and ‘gets’ to correct their behavior.
Further to waiting for dad was the infernal waiting in our rooms until dad got around to dealing with us. I’m sure it was maybe 30 minutes or so but it felt like an eternity. I get now that the wait was likely the time it took for our dad to cool off in order to dole out the punishment calmly – for that I’m thankful…. and, all in all, the waiting was probably a good thing to some extent – it was certainly more productive than what happened when the wait was over.
Which brings me to corporal punishment.
When the wait was over and we heard the footsteps coming down the hall and our stomachs knotted one more time and the 747 jets bounced up against those knotted muscles we knew what was coming. There wasn’t much talking – the spanking happened.
Thankfully I think most people have given up the practice – or at least I hope so.
Parents have come to realize that hitting your child, and don’t kid yourself, calling it spanking, swatting, tanning, whacking or whatever other pet names people have for it – spanking is hitting – you know, a rose by any other name is still a rose. Call it what it is. It’s hitting.
So – a kid in the playground hits another child – the spanking parent’s response – hit the child and say very firmly ” you will not hit ” ya. That makes sense.
The other common justification for hitting a child is the danger situations. “He runs out on the road“. Ya. I’m sure he does but here’s a scene I witnessed first hand.
A parent with a young child, maybe 3, tells his child that if he runs on the parking lot he’s going to get a spanking. A little while later the kid takes off out on to the parking lot, the parent yells, the kid turns his head to see the parent and continues to run while holding his hands over his behind.
I was lucky enough to get some great solutions to these common problems so that I was never tempted to use hitting as a way to discipline my children for these common issues. However, I’m not going to attempt to look perfect. I have hit my children (notice I said hit and not spanked) and to this day I feel bad about the handful of times I lowered myself to that level.
There are other, better ways to discipline and in this section I’m going to discuss positive discipline from redirection to positive reinforcement to natural and logical consequences.
I’ve found with my intense kids, a softer touch is often in order as they take things much more to heart than some other children.
Please feel free to leave a comment or question.