Okay, I had a really benign post all set for today. It was all happy and fun and called for you to answer an easy question. But all that has changed after following a discussion on Twitter then following it to the source blog: Her Bad Mother and her recent post A Spanking a Day. Every once in awhile I like to stir it up, like I did with our infamous Child Leash Debate.
In sharing her own experiences with spanking her own child, that was spawned by an article suggesting that spanking may actually be good for kids, this mommy blogger opened a firestorm of opinions and judgments from readers (including threats to call the police, and comparing spanking to slavery, racism, witch burning, and wife beating).
I followed this debate for a few days before commenting. I wanted to gather my thoughts properly and try to get down exactly what I meant before I wrote it. Most of my feelings and opinions here reflect the many comments this blogger received after posting this story. Now, 72 comments later, I finally contributed my own two cents:
There are many things that we do as parents that we wish we could have handled differently. Raising my three sons, there have been times when I’ve spanked and wished I’d handled it differently and there are times I’ve spanked and understood that though it wasn’t nice, I would have done it again.
I do know that with age and experience, I’ve learned that the spanking I do relates directly to the amount of physical aggression my kids show toward their own brothers and other children. I've learned that it isn’t a solution for me in most circumstances. Almost never, in fact. Calmer methods often yield calmer results. But still don't believe that all spanking is abuse.
I really can’t remember the last time I spanked one of my children, but I know it has happened. I also can forgive myself, as they forgive me, because we are all finding our way here. We are all learning from our mistakes and finding out what works and what doesn’t.
We are all trying to separate compulsively repeating what happened to us as children with what we choose to do as parents. All of this comes with age and experience...and I'm still learning.
I’m glad I didn’t have anyone threatening to call the police on me as I stumbled down this path of parenthood trying to learn what works best for us. I’m glad I was surrounded by people who listened and offered some insights and advice without judging or condemning me for my actions. I’m also glad I can admit I made mistakes and learn from them as I continue the journey.
Will I ever spank (spanking around here is one swat on the tush, not a repeated beating of the bum) again? I can’t answer that question, but I know how to evaluate the situation differently now, after 11 years of motherhood, and I will come up with the right solution for our family. But if I do spank, the intent and degree will not be that of abuse, and will not be equivalent to witch burning, wife beating, or slavery. It is "a tool in my box" quoting this commenter.
Don't misunderstand, I'm not agreeing with the the article, nor am I promoting spanking as a method of discipline, but I am defending my right to use it (or not) as a discipline tool depending on the circumstances.
Thoughts? Let's keep it civilized - no name calling or rudeness. We are all bound to disagree on this issue so let's hear each other out and begin a constructive conversation.