This is gonna hurt me more than it hurts you.

I gave both of my boys spankings last night and the guilt is killing me!

I've given them both swats before--a quick smack on the butt to grab their attention if necessary--but in the 6 years that I've been a parent I've never given a real, full, on the bottom spanking.

I really didn't think that I would ever do it--you know, spank. I always thought that I would find other ways to discipline my children; always reason with them logically with clear communication. Thought that they'd always be reasonable children who would listen and behave, and when they didn't would straighten up with one tough look from Mama.

Yeah, well, it's just not quite working out that way.

But the truth is, Time-out really doesn't work on my kids anymore. It doesn't stop the bad behavior--it only delays it a little.

So I bought a couple new parenting books last week, one that has to do with disciplining through biblical instruction. I'm a Christian. I want to follow God's will for my life, why wouldn't I want to to parent the way God wants me to too?

This book was very clear cut: don't spare the rod. The author's discipline suggestions are simple: instruct your child through biblical scripture (not quote it or anything, just keep it in mind when you're giving reasons why they shouldn't hit their brother--Cain and Able anyone?) You should also stay consistent, spank carefully and emotionally controlled when they are disobedient, and always work to reach the heart of your child.

Like any parenting book, I don't agree with everything that it says. But I do agree that scripture makes it very clear on what we as parents are supposed to do so why would I want to take a chance with sparing the rod.

***

We were at the store buying camping equipment. Granted, the Golfer and I were being a little slow in choosing what kind of propane we needed for the grill, but that's no excuse for how the boys were behaving.

The Monkey had walked away from us more than twice (he refuses to sit in the cart anymore) even after repetitive commands for him to stay put. Both boys were horsing around--big time. Pushing each other, running between the aisles, basically being disruptive in public. But that's not what got them in trouble. They got into trouble because they were not listening and following what we had asked them to do. They were disobeying. If I was going to try out the whole spanking thing, the time was now.

I told them both in the store, with a very calm voice, that when we got home they were both going to get a spanking. They both nodded theirs heads that they understood and the bad behavior stopped. So far...so good.

When we got home, I told them both to go up into their room to wait for me. I grabbed the fly swatter--enough to sting but not really hurt.

I went into the Cheese's room first and did exactly as the book instructed. I explained why he was getting a spanking and why what he did was wrong. I told him that he was getting three quick swats and that he needed to pull down his shorts. About that time he started to cry. The swats were quick and none of them packed much of a punch, but the Cheese cried hard all the same. I hugged him, trying my best not to cry, and told him to sit on his bed for a couple of minutes and calm down.

Emotionally shaken by the time I walked into the Monkey's room, I went through the routine all over again. Just like the Cheese I had pulled down his shorts and swatted him, except this time there was no crying, not even a pout.

After the first swat, the Monkey looked at me with a puzzled look and said, "What's that?" and after the second swat "Ouch! That hurts!" with as much inflection as someone saying "Darn! We're out of cereal!" Still no crying. Now instead of being on the verge of tears, I was trying my best not to crack up.

It wasn't until the Golfer walked into the room and gave him the mean Daddy voice that the Monkey's punishment really took effect.

Here's the bummer. I know that what I was doing was the correct thing to do as a parent, biblically correct, but I feel terrible! Some people like to say that spanking is child abuse, and I suppose that in some horrible circumstances that might be the case. But what I did was very clear and calm. I wasn't spanking in anger--I wasn't doing it to make myself feel better. I was doing it because I don't want bad things to take root in my children's hearts.

When they had both calmed down, I flooded them both with love and hugs, and then the weirdest thing happened. For the first time, both of my children really seemed to understand that there are consequences for bad behavior. And I have a very good feeling that the next time that we're in the store, I won't have to worry about them acting horribly.

I am raising boys that will grow into men; men that I hope will strong and secure in every way, shape and form. I don't want to raise whining, self-absorbed, self-entitled cry babies which is how they've both been acting lately. Will spanking make the difference? Possibly.

Will I be able to stay strong and continue this new discipline?

One things for sure, it's gonna hurt me a hell of a lot more than it's going to hurt them.

3 comments :

Dawn said...

Steph, this was great! I loved it. You're right, it does hurt us more than them.

If you've not read the book Wild At Heart by John Eldridge you need to read it. It is a book how God made boys to be. I read it even though I have girls. I was teaching at a Christian school and found it to be very helpful!

Lisa said...

I hope you never have to do it again. I spank, but to me, like to you, it's a last resort. And usually when they're trying to do something dangerous. I figure a spanking is 'pain' and getting hit by a car is pain, so if they equate running in the street with pain, maybe they won't do it again. The corner still works for my 5yo, for now. But somethings are so bad, they warrant a little more.

Jenn said...

Well, I, for one, can't imagine your charming little guys EVER being disobedient! :) We are very familiar with the spanking for disobedience at our house... In fact, every time I ask Lexy why she is getting a spanking, her response is "because I was disobeying." (I think we read the same book!)
Regarding Cheese and Monkey's reactions... That sounds EXACTLY how my brother and I reacted as children-- 1st child (me), horrified at the idea of spanking and thoroughly obedient to avoid it. 2nd child (my bro), "A Spanking? BRING IT ON."
Good luck!! :)

p.s.- Farm on Monday (Aug 11th) possibly????