…because I’m going to open a highly controversial can of worms.
To spank or not to spank. That is the question.
So, right now, you are either thinking to yourself, “Sure! My parents spanked me, I spank my kids. What’s the problem?” OR “You’re crazy! Spanking kids injures their delicate psyches and creates a fear situation. No, no, no!”
I’m most decidedly and completely on the fence.
Before I became a parent, I saw nothing wrong with spanking when used as a punishment, not in anger. Not that I was spanked, but I was a spoiled rotten child who needed a good swift kick in the ass sometimes. My childhood is certainly not the spanking litmus test.
Once I had kids, I couldn’t imagine ever laying a hurtful hand on their sweet, pink bodies. Until they turned about three, that is. So, now I’m beginning to form something that looks somewhat like a conclusion at the edges of my gray matter — spanking as consequence doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.
My kids that I love with all my heart are amazing little people with a great big honkin’ flaw — they have no sense of respect. None. Zip. Zero. I’m told that this is normal for children to be disrespectful and that they will someday learn how to think of others and my job is to constantly remind them until they learn.
But these highly intelligent modern kids know that there is no consequence for their disrespect. They get yelled at — they could not care less. They get toys taken away from them — they don’t bat an eye. They lose electronics privileges — no biggie, they’ll just play something else.
Case in point: before we went away on vacation, I told them that the next day, they had three hours (after homework until dinner time) to properly clean and organize their room. Everything that they did not put away properly would be thrown away or sold. They were reminded of this many times. They have a clock in their room. They know how to tell time and do math. Did they do it? Not really. They played and goofed around and got about half of it done. They don’t care that their things got thrown away.
The only thing that they care about is having fun at the expense of quite literally everything else. No, really. I mean that.
Yes, I know that kids are supposed to play. They are hard wired for fun. But I firmly believe that I am molding future adults. The behaviors that they shape as children will follow them into adulthood. Bad habits are MUCH harder to break as adults. Good habits are MUCH harder to learn. I know from my own personal experience that this is 100% true. If you let a kid do whatever they want their entire childhood and never teach them any life skills, they will flounder as a new adult. Period.
Is that what I want for my kids? Hell, no.
I have read EIGHTEEN “peaceful” style parenting books and implemented the tools therein throughout their lives. None of their ideas – which seem brilliant and useful – actually work for us.
These glorious children are being provided with the opportunity to learn life skills that will give them wings. They don’t care because it’s work. It’s not fun. They don’t have any reason to respect us. Why should they? Because we put food on the table? They think that food magically appears in the grocery store. Money just magically appears in the bank. A little plastic card makes everything ours. The house we live in is a fairytale castle. Our car works with pixie dust and happy thoughts.
So what do I really want for my children? If they have no respect for others and no work ethic, how will they survive? At this moment, I am convinced we are raising a generation of pussies who will have no practical life and social skills.
I read Little House in the Big Woods the other day, and it occurred to me that those who were raised before the gentle parenting movement were a hell of a lot more respectful. They worked. Hard. They earned their keep and helped keep their family alive. All of that has been lost to this soft society of cheap fuel and buzzing instant entertainment. We have too much time on our hands and kids are becoming LAZY and ungrateful. I also realized that Laura Ingalls deeply loved and respected her father even though (and I daresay because) he used a switch or a strap to “tan her backside” when she broke the rules. Was it done in anger? No. But the consequence was expected if the rules were broken, and they followed the rules — and learned them well.
My three bigs are neither motivated by punishment nor reward. They have a reward chart to make it easy for them to “be good” and stay on track with what is expected from them to keep our large family going. Does it work? Only marginally. They just don’t care. Why should they? They get fed. They have thousands of toys to distract them. They have a roof over their heads. Why should they care if they take care of their things or not? They think they’ll just get replaced. Why should they keep their bathroom clean? Clean up after themselves? What happens to them if they don’t do it? NOTHING!!!!!!
They don’t care because there is no consequence. They don’t mind playing in a dirty room. They don’t mind sleeping on dirty sheets. They don’t mind pulling dirty clothes out of the hamper to wear. They don’t care at all. They have proven this over and over again with their actions. We ask them to do something, and they completely ignore us. There is a disturbing lack of respect in our home.
I do not want to raise children who grow into little Hannah Montana monsters with overblown senses of entitlement who think they are cute when they are sassy and rude.
So these observations and ponderings have led me to consider an out-of-vogue parenting style.
I would love to see comments on this. Constructive, thoughtful comments. Any blasting, flaming or whiny nonsense will not be approved.
On your mark…get set…go…