It's been a long week, of kid chaos and afternoon naps. Pretty much like every week. As I've gone through it all, I've been thinking about why we've chosen to do things the way we do. Like our decision not to spank. I don't think I'm an expert, and I know I make mistakes, but on this issue, I think we've made a good choice.
There are reasons behind our decision to give up spanking, and reasons that we've continued to practice gentle discipline. It's something I've ultimately become pretty passionate about.
Spanking didn't work. It made our kids sorry, but mostly sorry they'd been spanked. I felt it encouraged a sense of martyrdom that failed to make the point I hoped for. I also felt it damaged the relationship I wanted to build with our kids. In my opinion, it's hard to feel close and trusting with the person who can hit you.
I came to believe that spanking gave my kids the idea that people had the right to lay hands on them, just because they were in a position of authority. I want my kids to understand their bodies as their own. I think that's one way to help protect them from abuse. Besides, if spanking didn't work, I had no further I could go. It limited me with discipline.
I don't believe that spanking gives me the opportunity to temper true discipline with grace and mercy, two virtues I want to instill in my children. I think I'm a much more effective teacher when I understand their motives and give them the best information with which to learn something. If it's just action and punishment, I don't think there's as much opportunity for them to learn something valuable.
I'm the parent, and I'm in charge. We have rules that our children must follow. We expect the same respect from our children that we show them. But we find ways to do that without spanking. It works, too. That's the best part. I get to help guide the hearts and minds of my children while helping them to develop real character. And isn't that what I signed up for when I became a mom?