The Very Real Need for Loving Discipline - From a Kid who Missed Out


I don't like to admit this but there are times I just want to spank my oldest girl.  When I'm heated, I think to myself, "Why are you crying?  I didn't even spank you.  You want to cry for something!"  Sometimes it takes all my strength to be calm and talk to her like a person.  But it's hard because no one talked to me like a person when I was a kid.  If I cried, I wouldn't get a chance to talk.  My ear would just get pulled or Iʻd get an old school spanking.  Then thereʻs a part of me that wonders if I'm spoiling her.  That maybe she'll grow up to be a disrespectful and unproductive member of society.  The words, "spare the rod spoil the child" comes to mind.

Should I spank my kids?  This question popped up while living through one of the worst times of my life.  Around 2011, I was losing my childhood home through foreclosure and my sister was going through a messy divorce, which resulted in my family taking care of my two nieces.  I was under employed and felt like a failure as I struggled to find work that matched my education.  It came to a point that I was willing to work anywhere, no matter the pay.  This didn't help my chances as I soon learned that having a Masterʻs degree creates a glass floor that wouldn't allow me to work at any retail stores at the local mall.  With life feeling out of control, I started "kicking the dog".  Iʻd take out my stress on my 2 year old daughter, who at the time was acting appropriate for her age.

Now when I say, "taking out" I mean giving her the death stare and talking to her in a rough manner.  I wasn't beating her but I did spank her on the butt once.  In the moment it felt like the right thing to do and it got the job done.  Then one day, I saw my daughter accidentally spill her bowl of cereal and before I could say anything she started to cry.  I wasnʻt sure why, so I tried to talk to her.  When I approached, she backed away from me and nervously looked up at me.  She was afraid of me, her father.  Then she said something that tore a big hole in my heart.  Through her tears she whimpered, "Am I a bad girl?"  Those words made me pause as I reevaluated what my discipline tactics were teaching her.  I decided on that day to change my style of parenting.  I would try to be slow to judge and quick to listen.  Remembering that disciplining our children have long term effects and therefore should be done thoughtfully.

Why should you think twice before spanking?

1.  Spanking produces obedience through fear.

When I was growing up, I was a good kid, a very good kid.  I never rebelled or did anything to make my parents or grandparents angry.  I think for any parent, I'd be the golden child, however, if you looked deeper, you would see how messed up I was.  Many of the things I did for my family was out of fear.  I was scared of disappointing them and making them mad.  So I stuffed my feelings so deep that I loss sight of who I wanted to become.  This generalized to all aspects of my life.  I wouldn't fight back when picked on or stand up for myself when I knew I deserved better from my friends.  I didn't have a voice because I learned at a young age that it was important for me to make other people happy.

2.  It's usually done in the heat of passion without reason.

When I was spanked it was always coupled with blind rage.  It wasn't done in a calm and deliberate manner.  It was more like, whatever was in my grandpa's hand could be used as a weapon.  Then afterwards, there wouldn't be a conversation of why I got spanked.  The usual reason would be short and to the point.  "See when you no like listen.  That's what you get for being stupid.  You don't have any common sense."  So what did I learn? Nothing but the icy bitterness I felt toward my grandpa.

3.  It shuts down communication.

This is the biggest reason I don't want to spank my kids.  I know through experience that when you spank without reason.  The fear it produces will stop honest communication.  For instance, when I would make a mistake or do something wrong, I would try to hide it.  Or if I knew a choice wouldn't go over well with my grandpa, I would try to do it undercover and if the risk was too great I wouldn't do anything at all.

Now there are many more reasons I can come up for not spanking my kids but I would like to know what you think? Why should you spank or not spank your kids.