Spanking children is a subject which provokes strong emotions. Some oppose it under any circumstance. Others – equally erroneously in my opinion – believe that it’s the only tool in the parenting box.
So if you choose to spank, when is it appropriate to do so? Spanking for every ripple in the parent-child relationship is not only wrong, it’s also counter-productive. Children need to be encouraged and the carrot-stick ratio should be heavily weighted in favour of the root vegetable!
However, there are some circumstances when a sore bottom should be an automatic consequence of bad behaviour. I sometimes call them the Three Ds – Defiance, Disrespect and Dishonesty.
Naughtiness in children is a common phenomenon. Children exhibit this behaviour largely to establish and re-test boundaries. Children actually love boundaries and rules – they make them feel safe and secure.
Naughtiness must be dealt with, of course. The child must be told ‘no’ (very young children) or given a detailed explanation about why certain behaviour is wrong (older kids). Note that I’ve deliberately used the word ‘wrong’ rather than the mealy-mouthed ‘unacceptable’ because children need to be taught about definite morality, rather than just given an exercise in empathy.
But naughtiness isn’t always a case for spanking. That should be reserved for acts of deliberate defiance, when mum says a) and child chooses to do b). Acts of defiance are never ignored or given a second chance in this house – they always result in a sore bottom.
Acts of defiance are a direct challenge to your parental authority and such challenges must be dealt with early and without mercy. If you don’t get a handle on this at an early age, you are in for a whole boatload of trouble.
I’m often left open-mouthed at the manner in which many parents allow their children to speak to them.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a humourless puritan and a bit of mutual teasing is fun and healthy. But come on, deep in our hearts we all know when our child’s language and attitude cross the line into disrespect.
Parents often make the mistake of letting their mood dictate when they draw the line but as I remarked in a previous post, discipline is not about you.
If a child is being disrespectful to me or anyone else, I will call them out on it and there will be a clear warning that continuing to talk in that manner will result in a spanking. As always, you should be prepared to administer the punishment before you give that warning!
If the disrespect is extreme, mind you, there will be no warning – just a very soundly smacked bottom.
Again, respect for others – and particularly parents – should be taught to children as a matter of absolute morality from an early age.
This is the most serious of all the Three Ds, in my book. I don’t tolerate any level of dishonesty from my children. Again, this is a question of moral teaching – I leave them in no doubt that telling a lie is wicked and will automatically result in a spanking.
And no ordinary spanking. On the few occasions where I’ve had to punish my children for lying, they have been thoroughly whipped until their bottoms are bright red and my T-shirt has been soaked through with their tears and snot during the post-spanking cry. There can be no room here for tolerance or indulgence – the lesson is far too important.
Some opponents of spanking argue that the punishment only teaches children to conceal their disobedience. My answer? That behaviour is also essentially lying. We need to teach that truth to our children at an early stage, and make them really fear the consequences of going down that route.
I have made it clear to both my kids that if they deliberately try to conceal their misbehaviour or disobedience, I will treat that as a lie and they will be punished twice; once for the original misdeed and again for lying. Thankfully, I’ve never yet had to do this.
I appreciate this post may have felt like heavy going at times but bear in mind, good parents should need to use these sanctions only rarely. But when we do come up against the Three Ds, we should remember two more – decisive discipline.
Contributor: Louise. Originally published in her blog The Spanking Mum. All opinions are solely those of the original author.