Thursday, April 30, 2009

National Spank Out Day

Today actually has two purposes. No, not laundry and dishes. Save those for tomorrow! Today is both National Spank Out Day and National Day of Prayer/Reason. These may seem like odd things to put together, but personally I think being a non-spanking parent requires both a lot of prayer and reason.

I wasn't always a non-spanking parent. After all, if it was good enough for me it should be good enough for my kids, right? Hmm, maybe not. For us, there were a number of problems. Number one, I just plain never felt good about it. It never felt right to me. It went against everything intuitive in me that told me to protect my kids. Number two, it felt lazy to me. When I spanked it was because it was the easy way to make my point. I sacrificed creativity and truly teachable moments because it was just plain faster to hit them and be done with it. Number three, I had one child who took spanking very hard and internalized it deeply. It harmed our relationship every time. And I had another child who only became more difficult when I spanked her. It harmed that relationship too, as we became adversaries.

Finally, after a series of events, I began looking to the bible on my own for how God "parents" us. I came to the conclusion that God lets us take responsiblity for our actions and suffer the consequences, both positive and negative, for our actions here on earth. But He doesn't punish us. In fact, He has taken our punishment on Himself. I wanted to show my children consequences, but also the grace and mercy that we are shown. In my house that takes many different forms. My parenting "toolbox" has lot's of tools in it. My favorite set of tools has been 1-2-3 Magic which I've found a very common sense method of discipline. And, believe me, we do discipline. I'd lose my everlivin' mind without discipline!

I have found unexpected benefits of not spanking. I can't imagine how I might have hurt Ciaran had I spanked him, not realizing that he wasn't ignoring me because he was disobedient, but because he has Autism. Instead I took the time to keep working with him and teaching him, and that created a strong bond between us that has gone a long way in helping him learn. He has no reason not to feel safe with those who care for and teach him.

Good parenting for me requires a great deal of trust in God to make up for my shortcomings, and a lot of prayer and reason, too. I am not by nature a patient woman. And to continue to set limits and boundaries consistently has forced me to learn lessons I never would have learned otherwise. Yeah, I think these two days go hand in hand pretty well.

What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?
1 Corinthians 4:21


  1. Thanks for the awesome blog post! I am also NOT a patient woman! But I also no longer spank my kids. I used to think if people's kids were wholly wild that they were undisciplined and needed to be spanked. I firmly believed that if you put the fear in them young, you will not have problems! Since my mom was not a spanker, I assumed this lack of discipline was the reason I was such an awful child. Over time, therapy and lots of book reading on child development and discipline, I discovered that I was an awful child because I was horribly neglect and abused in other ways, not because my mom forgot to spank me! As I have done my best to form consistent, mutually respectful and loving relationships with my children, I've had the opportunity to love them, not take them for granted and help them to find positive outlets for challenging aspects of personality. I honestly believe that removing spanking from my life has forced me to get to know my children on a much deeper level now that I consider my mission as a mother to teach them how to think for themselves and be able to make good decisions in their lives with consideration to their individual personalities. The focus in my house is no longer "obey because I'm the mom" it is "what is the reason to do or not do". There is a lot of natural consequences involved. There is a lot of modeling involved. There is not a way to raise kids "do as I say, not as I do" that I have discovered so far. Modeling is rough stuff. I think spanking really is the easier way out, but as you said with your kids, I did not see positive impact from it either. Thank you also for the scripture from Corinthians, I don't know that I had ever noticed it before. Keep bloggin' Anne, you keep my mind fresh :)


  2. This is an amazing post. Especially where you said: Number one, I just plain never felt good about it. It never felt right to me. It went against everything intuitive in me that told me to protect my kids. - I have heard the same thing from dozens of moms. Thanks so much for this.


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