I want to talk about the topic of spanking. I know it’s a rather HOT topic these days. However, I want to talk about it. I wholeheartedly believe a that a good butt spanking does no harm if done properly. I’m pretty sure we can all picture the funny old movies and tv shows from our childhood, and laugh hysterically at the hysteria of the scenario’s. I’m picturing Kevin from Wonder Years over his dads knee now, and it’s a rather comical sight.
When I was a child, it was VERY common to get a spanking. Not many people bothered to even pay attention or say anything about it. Children, just accepted that it was proper punishment. In fact I was spanked, but not with a hand, my parents and grandparents were old-fashioned and we got the switch. When we were older, it was our responsibility to go pick out the switch and come promptly back for our spanking. We learned fast that the teeny tiny branches hurt WORSE of all, and stung leaving red marks, sometimes made us bleed. We thought we would be smart and use the thicker branches, but those were no better. It was a very fine science in learning which switch (smallish branch) would hurt the least. Thankfully for me, it only took a handful of times having been switched before I just decided to not do anything to get in trouble to begin with.
When I was a child, we got spanked anywhere, and everywhere. It wasn’t always at home. If we popped off at the grocery store, you bet we got a spanking or a pop across the mouth. If we ran around in the department store, or were being obnoxious, you bet we got a spanking right there in front of all the other shoppers, without hesitation. We might have gotten the hairy eye first as a warning, but chances are we ignored it, or didn’t see it, and the spanking always came swiftly. We were not allowed to yell at the table if we ate out, we weren’t allowed to behave in an unbecoming or disrespectful manner, and we knew the consequence for doing so was going to be a swift spanking right there and then; no questions asked, or waiting until we got to the car or home.
TODAY, if we, as parents were to do that, people are ready and willing, just waiting to call CPS on us. I’m not joking, I fully believe in spanking, and like I said, as long as it’s done properly, I see no issue with it. I was grocery shopping with my oldest son Jay one day, while daddy gave me a break from being home with his newborn brother Zech. Jay decided that for SOME reason YELLING like a crazy mad child in the middle of Fry’s Food store was the funniest thing in the world! I was HORRIFIED. I was NOT going to be that mother, that had THOSE obnoxious children misbehaving in public. I swiftly stood him up in the basket, and swatted his butt, and as I was doing it, I told him, that he was getting a spanking for yelling like a banshee in the middle of the store, and that, that was simply NOT acceptable. I did it in a calm, matter of fact manner. There were two ladies in the same aisle as me, the older women, didn’t even flinch, or take a second look, instead when she walked by me after picking up her spaghetti noodles and sauce, she leaned in towards me and said, “I wish more parents were as respectful as you, and disciplined their children properly.” The younger lady, with two children with her, who also ironically seemed to be a LOT younger than myself, sighed at me in disgust, and rather loudly exclaimed, “You know I could call CPS on you for that. That’s child abuse and they have it on camera!” My reply to her, as I smiled of course, “It’s not child abuse, it’s called parenting and discipline. Unlike your children running around and causing a scene, mine is not now, is he?” Jay was 22 months old, old enough that a good butt spanking did no harm. He quit yelling, and in fact behaved the rest of the trip in the store. After we rounded the corner to the next aisle, I told him that he needed to use his big boy words if he wanted something, or if something was bothering him. He simply wanted his sippy cup, thus the yelling episode. Jay has never yelled in a store, or in public since that day.
Now I don’t think switching is as effective or even needed personally, and I don’t switch my children. However, on occasion a good swift spank does the trick. My children are now trained and know, that when mommy gets to the spanking, she’s already asked nicely, she’s already talked to them, and even used the corner, that the last resort, is a calm, collective, effective, firm and swift butt spanking. Typically they don’t push it that far, on occasion they do, especially my 18 month old Zech right now. He’s in that defiant, let’s see what I can get away with mode. I keep telling him, it’s not mommies first rodeo, and she’s been through it with brother already. I have to say though, Zechy is far more defiant in this stage than his brother ever was.
So butt spanking? Yes, there are NUMEROUS studies, and articles that say it leads to unadjusted, angry, criminal tendency children, likewise, there are NUMEROUS other studies and articles, that say the exact opposite. Remember, I’m a researcher, I research EVERYTHING! I’ve read those studies, I’ve picked them apart, I’ve talked to medical professionals (who by the way, can not even agree on it, even in the same pediatricians office, 3 out of 7 of them are against it, while the other 4 were pro spanking.) So, this makes it difficult on us parents today. What is it? Is it good or bad? Is it effective or not? Will my child be a proper law-abiding citizen, or a harden criminal? Well, that depends, do you spend enough time nurturing and loving your child? Do you spend enough time loving them? Do you talk to them? How is their environment? What are they being exposed to in their environment? What are they seeing you do? I’m a strong supporter, after all the research I’ve done, alongside my first time through college getting my Criminalistic Forensics Psychology degree, that environmental and socioeconomic conditions foster the growth of law-abiding or criminal behavior.
We moved from Avondale, Arizona from a community, that when I was a child, was a great family community. Crime rate was very low, gang activity was nearly non-existent (mostly because if you know where Avondale is, in relation to Phoenix, and the sociology-climate of the area when I was a child, it was a very suburban area. Mostly farm land, and a few master plan communities. No city/state bus system, no public transportation (other than the local school bus system). It was idyllic to raise a family there. It was not even a city when I was a child, it was BARELY considered a town. We made city status my senior year of high school. I believe just recently Avondale was added to the state maps, and included in the local news weather (within the last 5 or so years.) Made sense that my husband and I chose Avondale to raise our children in, since we were raised mostly in Avondale/Goodyear, and we knew how “safe” it was for us. Within the first year and a half of living in our house, our community was crime infested so much so, that we only left the house to go outside if we were LEAVING to go somewhere. Night after night, we heard the police sirens, night after night, trash parties until the wee hours of the morning. Night after night, neighbors we knew and trusted, told us of their house being burglarized, and vandalized. We were burglarized several times and our home vandalized several more times. It became apparent, that our sleepy “town” was no longer the safe haven we knew it to be. It was time to move. This time, further west and north. Thus we moved to North West Surprise, reminds us of “home” when we were children. Farm land every where, a few small master plan communities. Enough development to keep us content, but not enough to bring in the chaos. Why did we move? Why didn’t we stay and fight for our community? Simple, our safety was an issue, we were keeping our guns out at all times, JUST in case. Not too safe if you have little ones. My gun was in reaching limits if someone decided to come through one of our doors.
I refused to live like that, and honestly, what would that be teaching our children? We strongly believe that our children, deserve the right to have a childhood, where they don’t have to live in fear, or where their parents aren’t having to keep one eye open and one finger on the trigger. We strongly believe that our children should and do have the right to play outside, or at the local community park without the fear of being a victim. We had not been able to go to our local community park in over a year, because the teens of the gangs that came into our neighborhood over took it. Vandalized it, our HOA was not going to fix it, and they only wanted to start fights with us, every time we attempted to take our children to the park. We had to call the police, who couldn’t really do anything but chase them off for a bit, almost on a daily basis. We started to get threats from the gang members. Why? Because we were white. Yes, that was stated to us, to our face. That we “N******** haters” had no business in that neighborhood. All of the original home owners, had already left. It was time we left. Let me make one thing clear before moving on, we are not “N******** haters” as they stated. We simply hated the crime, behavior, and the fact that our boys couldn’t play outside. We are not parents that want them attached to tv, or electronics, we want them outside playing, like little boys should be doing. We didn’t care who it was, white, black, brown, etc, we just didn’t want that obscenity in our neighborhood around our children.
Our environment changed, and we feared that no amount of discipline, spanking would over come the environmental influence going on around us, as our children got older. That’s why I describe our circumstances for moving, and where I defend spanking. I’ve played out the scenario over and over in my head. My children would soon have to go to school with that, they would maybe even be friends with that, and be influenced by that, and soon, nothing we would do, could reverse that. So yes, we picked up, and moved far away, to an environment we want them to be influenced by in a good way. We chose a bigger, pricier house, because, one we needed to with a third child and growing business, but also to change their fate, if you will. We pinch pennies more now, and we save where we can, including eating home all the time. We switched utility companies, and had to restart, because no amount of money can or will undo the socio economic conditioning they would have gotten if we continued to live there.
Socio economic and environmental conditions determine if a child will grow up to be a well-adjusted law-abiding citizen or a harden criminal, not fully, and not exclusively, but it is a huge factor. We simply modified our surroundings, to try to prevent as much of that outside influence to be a criminal as we could. I’m certainly not saying all kids in bad areas are bad and will become criminals, I’m just saying, it’s a factor, and it does play a role. If that were true, my siblings and I would all be criminals. There was a while we lived in a bad area in inner Phoenix. One of us is a harden druggie criminal, with no desire to change. One of us is living her dream, and raising her family, not completely perfect, but good enough. The other is still walking the line, and hasn’t landed on a side yet, he will, and hopefully not the criminal side.
Spanking does not make a child angry. Spanking does not work for all children, and, or all situations. My two boys, Jay who is 3 and Zech who is 18 months are PRIME examples of that. Jay as I’ve said before is ultra sensitive. Spanking really does more than hurt his bum for a few seconds, it really hurts his feelings, emotions and his little ego. We have to be rather selective as to when and how we spank him. Spanking for him, is a LAST RESORT. It’s highly effective, and it deters him from what he was doing, and prevents him from doing it again. Whereas, Zech is the opposite. Spanking has no ill effect on him, 98% of the time. In fact, he pretty much laughs at us, and thinks it’s the funniest thing ever, when he is spanked. There are FEW instances when spanking does get the point across. Spanking simply for him, is another form of “play”, or chase me and catch me if you can game. I have a feeling for him at least, this may be a forever thing, since his daddy, from what I have been told was immune to spanking as well. Spanking will likely never affect him. Jay, however, will likely not grow out of the being sensitive to spanking, until he’s pubescent.
I’m not saying that spanking is the best, most effective, or the ultimate right punishment/consequence. I’m just saying that for some children, and some instances spanking is efficient and effective.
HOW you spank, also plays a role in effective it is. The first thing you need to do is make the distinguish between punishment vs consequence. A lot of parents make the mistake (and yes I did too at first! We all fall victim to it!) of thinking that punishment and consequence is one in the same. It’s not! Punishment is the purposeful, well thought out and considered, imposition of a penalty to an infraction of rules, or a crime. Consequence is the natural by-product of an action or sequence of actions, that causes an undesirable outcome.
When children are young, it’s nearly impossible for them to understand punishment, but they do understand consequences. They don’t understand it in the way we do as adults, they just understand it as, if I do XYZ, then ABC will happen. It’s something that occurs naturally to them. However it only occurs naturally if you begin from day one, and if it’s swift, and constant. For example, how did you set a bedtime routine for you kids? We started day one, home from the hospital. Dinner done by 6pm, bath by 7pm. Quiet play, down time, reading a book between 7pm-8pm, and head on the pillow, lights out by 8pm. Every day, day in and day out, our children are used to this schedule. We didn’t deviate for the first 3 months, although it only takes 21 days to form a habit. My kids can occasionally deter from the normal routine, and have no issues bouncing back. Wouldn’t it make sense that a consequence, which is supposed to “occur” naturally, have the same carefully thought out, strict routine, until it does become natural? For younger kids, this works. They know that if they do XYZ, then ABC is coming naturally, swiftly, and causes an undesirable outcome.
Once a child understands natural consequence, and they are slightly older they can then understand punishments. A punishment is a well thought out purposeful that imposes an undesirable penalty to an infraction to a rule. Punishments can be as creative as you can dream of, and as unique as your child. In, fact, they should be! Jay is now 3 years old, and he understands punishments. We have explained to him, that if he continues to throw his toys around the house when he’s mad, then he loses that toy for 24 hours. Each time he throws another toy, we add another 24 hours. It doesn’t matter if it’s is favorite laugh and learn dog that he sleeps with every night, or one of his die cast Disney Car’s characters. We have explained to him over and over again, that throwing his toys when he’s mad, will result in having them taken. It’s a set punishment, it’s a well thought out punishment. It’s the same for him as it would be for an adult who get’s a DUI. Yes, there are aggravating and mitigating circumstances, but there is a mandatory minimum. Although he doesn’t understand it on the scale that I do, he understands that MINIMALLY he loses his toy if he throws it.
So what does all of THIS have to do with spanking? Simple, spanking is effective if it’s the right consequence for your child and for the situation. Spanking is only effective if its done with the right context. Lastly spanking, how do you carry out a spanking will determine it’s effectiveness.
I mentioned before, that my parents and grandparents used to switch me. I’ve also mentioned that I don’t personally believe that switching is effective. Many parents swear by using their hand solely while others swear using something other than their hand is more effective. I personally feel, that if you have something other than your hand then the swiftness is not nearly as effective. However, hands are made for loving. Hints why I use spanking as a last resort. This one is what works best for you deal. I can’t really say which was is better, because for me personally it’s a feel my way through the situation, gut instinct, and split second decisions. A part of me is very against using anything other than a hand, because it causes pain, and that’s what the child focuses on, not the act that gained the consequence to begin with. I don’t spank as hard as I can, or when I’m angry. I feel that spanking hard, and when angry also deters the child from focusing on the reason behind the consequence, and forces them to focus on the pain, or the anger of mommy and or daddy.
I do spank my children, when the situation warrants it, and when it’s appropriate, and all of my other avenues of consequences and punishments have failed. When someone sees me spanking my children, and says they are going to call CPS on me, I politely tell them, “Please, go ahead and call CPS, because when they do show up on my door step, they will find two well-adjusted, happy, loving children. Two children who have plenty of good, nutritious food in the house, with a stocked fridge, freezer and cupboards, and home cooked meals on the table nearly every night. Two children who have every need fulfilled, who are cleaned, have a HUGE play area with plenty of toys, a nice large back yard to run and play in, with a PLETHORA of outside toys, a park next door we walk to, to play, and plenty of entertainment, such as satellite TV, which Disney Jr is on most of the time, when we do watch it. They will find a clean, organized house, clean bums, rewards, chore and learning trackers, among things such as clean clothing, rooms, arts and crafts and dining areas. CPS wont find one single fault in our home, because they will find two parents who are dedicated, attentive, and loving towards their children at all times, and work hard to provide every need, and some wants and desires. So please, do send CPS to MY house, to only validate what a good parent I am. Spanking is not a crime, yelling like a banshee in the store is a crime, running around the store is a crime, jumping on the seats/chairs in a restaurant is a crime, spanking is the consequence, followed by a punishment if it keeps up.”
The goal is to remember that a consequence is a natural reaction to an unsolicited or ill behavior, and a punishment suits the crime, the situation, and the child. I simply refuse to have THOSE children acting like fools, talking back to me, or possibly not listening to me when there comes a time they need to listen so I can keep them safe. It’s not to be mean, hurtful, spiteful, or to have control. It’s to keep them well-mannered, respectful and safe.
Do these two look like, they are not well adjusted, happy, exploitative, and well mannered young boys?