The Spanking Mum: No magic wands

I made the possible mistake of announcing my blog somewhere on the web. I should have been ready for the kickback, of course, but being labelled as ‘not the most abusive of all the lunatics here’ was still somewhat unpleasant.

I don’t mind so much for myself. What gets my blood rising about such remarks is the implication that my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and all who came before them were ‘abusive’ because they chose to spank their children.

The abusers and brutes have always been with us. They continue to be. But they do not include the generations of honest, loving parents who genuinely believed (and continue to believe) that they did the right thing by their children.

One other point about my attacker’s position struck me as particularly strange. She argued that if you have to keep using spanking, it isn’t working and has thus been demonstrated to be a failure.

I’ve always wondered why spanking is held to a higher standard than other forms of discipline. If I ground my child one week, then have to do the same a few weeks later, has grounding failed? If I have to use the naughty step twice in a week, does that mean the naughty step isn’t working for me?

However we decide to deal with misbehaviour, we can only correct children in the moment. Discipline isn’t a magic wand which you wave and all the naughtiness disappears. Children, alas, have strong wills and short memories.

A child’s behavioural development is a work in progress over a long period of time, and as parents, we should take some comfort in that. One mistake – on our part or theirs – really isn’t the end of the world.

Discipline is a bit like taking antibiotics. Initial treatment often produces rapid, dramatic improvement – but for the best possible outcome, you absolutely need to complete the course.

Contributor: Louise – formerly posted on her blog The Spanking Mum. All opinions are solely those of the original author.