Monday, September 22, 2014

The Hot Topic of Spanking Part 2

I feel like I'll get some heat for what I'm about to write. But then again when haven't I?! So I just need to learn to thicken my skin a bit in the internet world I suppose. Today I'm writing about that all too touchy subject.... spanking. Also, the original post was bit long so I've divided it into two different parts. Read part one, about discipline versus punishment and the Biblical view of spanking here-

I don't want to spank. I really do not. I have popped, and I'm sure my flesh will falter again in the future and I will pop again, but I am working really hard not to. I want to parent out of love like Jesus, I want a daughter who is confident and strong in who she is and who her Savior is and obeys and learns out of love and respect, not fear of punishment. Parenting is not easy, neither is discipline. Does it not makes sense that to be thorough and work it would take effort?

I see SO many people talk about our generation and how if people spanked more people wouldn't be like this. I'm sorry but that's a very close-minded and uneducated statement. Statistics show many if not most parents in America still use physical punishment, and haven't stopped. Our generation is the way it is because of a lack of parenting and effort, not a lack of physical punishment. Many other factors go into why our nation's youth are the way the are. There's also these things called free will and rebellion and different personalities. All tied in with the way our parents raise us or discipline us and personal experiences and choices that lead people to be who they are or act they way they do. There's also the aspect of what spanking can do to the developing brain. And that's science my friends. (Here's some links from Psychology Today on that subject: How Spanking Harms The BrainSpanking: It's Bad For All KidsDiscipline Tips Instead Of Spanking, & How Hitting Doesn't HelpSpanking Makes Kids More Aggresive)

What I am learning in being a parent is not only do I need to be a teacher and guide to my children about life and proper behavior but I too have to grow and learn and be willing to have my heart worked on. Be open to new information, be willing to admit when I've done wrong and learn from my mistakes and do the best I can to grow beautiful lives into wise, loved, confident, functioning, healthy adults. And ultimately lead by example.

There are many tools for gentle (non-physical) discipline and I will be listing a few resources to read and gather information from! We so far use redirection and explaining and natural consequences and will continue with different tools as needed. Below I am sharing a few images, resources, and quotes from parents about what they chose for their children instead of physical punishment and why.

"Parenting is first and foremost a relationship, and the most influential relationship in my children's lives. This doesn't mean I'm trying to be their friend, but more importantly, trying to know, guide, and love them as only a mother can. There is no checklist, no formula, no manual. There is this relationship, and the consistent, God-centric principles it's built upon that inform my parenting choices. That's enough. It's not easy, but it is necessary and sufficient." -Eron

"We don't spank because we don't have to. We teach respect in our home. Our children respect us, and we respect them. We felt that teaching them to respect us would be more useful in the real world then teaching them to use physical force to get what you want. We use time outs and use privileges as leverage.. but that rarely is necessary.." -Beth

"I try and understand development, their ability to reason& process the situation, then respond at their level accepting my job is to show them through redirection, encouragement, and mentoring over's a journey. Spanking just teaches them fear, it belittles their right to autonomy over their body, and doesn't encourage learning." -Patricia

"We have 5 children and only one has ever tempted me to spank him. I know though that it is my loss of control that makes me feel that way and that hurting him isn't going to help the "problem" nor is it setting the example I wish to teach my children. I have found that taking my child out or away from what's triggering the issue, getting to eye leval with him and talking very softly ( this makes him work to hear me) he will indeed listen. I try to be honest with my kids about how I am feeling too. It's a Amazing how compassionate they can be when they are able to see that we struggle too. Deep breaths and hugs go a long way too. With being Christians I think the kids NIV children's bibles are great. I love how if they are struggling with something specific you can look it up and it will tell you the scripture that relates. This really helps children link their day to day life with the Bible." - Danielle

"I think it's our job as parents to teach coping skills and how to appropriately deal with feelings. Spanking is a result of parents' feelings (angry, frustration, disappointment, etc) and physical violence is not an acceptable response. Children need to learn appropriate skills to deal with their emotions and learn by example and gentle guiding. I personally think all physical violence is wrong and children should not learn that whoever is stronger is right. And hitting a child is just mean. - Krista

"Hands are for holding, not scolding! We like to hug it out! I always tell the kids, hands are for hugs or high-fives, not hitting." - Lori

I too have just 1 of 4 that has ever tempted me and it's usually because he hit which would just reinforce his negative actions. In our world, any act of violence on a human is assault other than our own children so I don't see why assaulting a child is acceptable." - Krista H.

"There are so many reasons why we choose not to spank. As a Christian, the most basic reason being that we are charged to love God, and love others. I know many pro-spanking parents who say they spank their kids BECAUSE they love them, but I just cannot see anyone feeling loved by receiving some sort of physical punishment. When we study love languages, we see that the way you show love to a person only matters if that's also the way they receive love. Is hitting, spanking, slapping, etc. a love language? Absolutely not." -Michele

"We don't spank because we don't believe in "negative reinforcement" as discipline. I don't want my child to brace herself or run when I approach her to discipline her because she's "bracing" herself for some sort of negative feeling. I want a bad behavior to stop because she understands-not because I'm instilling fear or bad feelings. Also, as adults when we sin does Jesus strike us down? No, we learn a lesson and we grow as a person. I want ------ to grow with every lesson she learns and I don't feel like there's any place for growing when you're using physical force to make a child learn a lesson. Right now, we LOVE using a "calm down jar"! It takes her away from whatever bad behavior she was doing and let's her calm down and focus and listen to me when I'm talking to her. That little glittery jar has changed our house!" -Kathryn

"I stopped spanking the day I went to give my oldest a hug and he shrank back because he thought I was going to hit him. I still get tears in my eyes thinking about that day. I was never a huge spanker to begin with, but apparently a few times is enough to create a negative reaction in a child. I give warnings/strikes; 3 strikes and he loses his electronics. I redirect, I give choices, I give time away to calm down, I have my oldest go outside and take a lap or 2 around the yard to get out some of his negative energy, I take time away to calm down, and during that time I try to pray myself calm. I try to start my day with prayer for God's strength and patience because I don't have near enough of my own, and when I start getting frustrated I try to pray my way through that, too." -Julie

"We approach behavior as communication and try to respond in-kind. If a child is acting out, either against us, a sibling, or anyone else, they're sending out a message and it takes a trained ear to hear what's being said. We do address all physical aggression with "time-out" to calm down and think about how we made someone else feel. When time-out ends we talk with the child about what they can do to make the situation better. We also focus on praising behaviors we WANT to see from our children: cooperation, helping, words of encouragement, sharing, taking turns, manners, following directions, etc. By rewarding the good with attention we are more apt to see those behaviors repeated than if we were punishing the bad with discipline, especially through physical/corporal punishments." -Alexandra

"When a parent strikes a child, that child's perception of the world changes forever, their perception of themselves and their value changes in that instant going forward and their definition of unconditional love as demonstrated by that parent includes violence and aggression.. I prefer redirect, contemplate, restate, retry." -Barbara

"One of my biggest points is that we are told to train up our children in the way they should go (Proverbs). Training a plant is not (typically) something that involves hurting it. The biggest hurt might be to pull off a little sucker or a shoot when it is still a TINY shoot-- mild correction/redirection. It is a gentle guidance. The point in time that we end up having to hurt a plant is when we have failed to train it correctly in the first place. I am more and more convicted that the point in time when I feel there is need to punish my child for something is the point in time when the lack of training in an area has come to the forefront. Lack of training my children means they "need" punishment. But then is that my fault or theirs? Maybe I should punish me for not training them before punishing them for doing exactly what I have allowed them to be trained to do?" -Melissa

"There is not 1 example in the Bible of a parent hitting their child. When Jesus told the story of the prodigal son... that man had every "legal" right to beat or even have his son stoned, but instead he was gracious and loving. There was no mention of any harshness." -Amy 

And in regards to those who like to argue that while the "rod" was used for comforting and guiding but shepherds also used it to break the sheep's legs if they wandered off:

 "As far as breaking the legs of sheep... a shepherd would have never done such a thing! The majority of sheep in biblical times were used as sacrifice, and an imperfect sacrifice was unacceptable. He would be losing money, and ruining his business by doing something like that." -Amy

"As a "shepherdess"--Well...we raised sheep on our farm.....that whole breaking the leg and then carrying the sheep might have been something a not very bright shepherd might have done--but not the normal." -Mera

"There is no shepherd ANYWHERE who would purposely ruin a sheep if it was a wanderer. They are far too valuable for food and clothing. Plus breaking their animals legs is doing anything but building trust with them. Sheep naturally follow their LOVING shepherd. No need to damage the animal." -Melissa

This is one of my favorite blogs on the topic of spanking: by Sarah Bessey. Here's what she says about spanking:
 My motivation is to parent my children the way that I believe God parents me. To me, this mean unconditional love, drawing near to me, seeking transformation not adherence to a law. I want to be a path for them to follow, instead of an obstacle to overcome.
When I think about how God parents me, how Jesus loves me, it’s not behaviour modification focused (just getting me to Behave Right). It’s about my heart. For instance, do I want to be a nicer person by sheer force of will? Or do I want to truly be a more loving person? Why would I want less for my tinies?
Do I want quaking instant obedience? Marionettes of fear? Or do I want the hearts of my children knit to mine, obedience born out of love and understanding, a connection of joy and gentleness, self-control, kindness, wholeness and love? (I wrote here about how we practice “time-in” instead of “time-out.“)

The short list of why I don’t spank

  1. Personally, I believe it’s morally wrong to strike a child. Also, it isn’t Biblical.
  2. Hitting teaches hitting as a solution.
  3. It creates an adversarial relationship between parents and children – Us vs. Them.
  4. It can easily lead to abuse.
  5. It doesn’t work over the long term.
  6. It promotes anger or gives place to anger in both the parent and the child.
  7. It doesn’t teach inner discipline.
  8. It creates a behavioural response out of fear instead of love.
Here are some more resources on the topic:

I know many people who spank. In saying all of this I am not aiming to offend those who choose to. I am not even saying you must stop and do as I do or believe as I believe. I am simply sharing my thoughts and Biblical belief in a hope to spread awareness of what the Bible does say about it and that this may help someone who hits because they think they need to but don't want to.

It goes without saying that most parents do what they do for their children because they want to raise them right and do right by them. So with all I've said I am not suggesting parents who spank their kids are bad parents. I will say I personally don't think its right for me or my children and would urge you to look at alternatives. Especially if you were abused or have abusive tendencies. Crossing the line is a very gray area and people can easily go overboard.

Is spanking of God, or is it a doctrine of man? Look at the fruits guys. The fruits of the spirit go with us in parenting and our children. I feel it's of man. The fruits of the spirit are the result of the Holy Spirit's presence in our lives. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control." Parenting without spanking takes a LOT of patience, kindness and gentleness, I can attest to that!

The most important thing we can do as parents is be willing to see our mistakes and grow from them, and be willing to look at other perspectives before assuming our way is the right way, yes? For me, that led me to this path and various other paths on my straight and narrow that so many disagree with. But I know in my heart of hearts that this is what is right in my parenting relationships.

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