Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Thoughts on Discipline

I know I am probably going to raise a lot of eyebrows here, but I think it's something that needs to be addressed, disciplining children.  Every parent has their own philosophies and ways that they feel is the best way for their child, and as long as they aren't raising some tyrant that won't listen or flat out beating the kid I am all for different parenting techniques.  The problem becomes everybody thinks their way is the best and the only way, and if you aren't doing it their way then you must be a "bad parent".  The truth is parenting styles have to be different because kids are all different and parents are different.

Not every kid/parent combo is going to make every parenting style work for them.  Sometimes time outs work well, and sometimes you have a slippery little bugger who's just not going to sit still in that chair for five minutes.  You've got to figure out what works for you, and it doesn't have to be set in stone.  In fact I think it works best if both the parent and the child are willing to adapt and try new things, especially as the child grows and reaches new boundaries.  Sticking their nose against the wall tends to lose something when they hit the teen years after all.  Then again, the threat of it in a public place is just enough humility to straighten up a nasty attitude ;).

This brings us to the dreaded topic of corporal punishment, and the whole reason I started this post.  Lately in the news certain professional football players have been making headlines and not for their abilities on the field.  The one player has been accused of using a switch to punish his 4-year old and drawing blood.  I think we can all agree that is going way too far.  Another one has now admitted to using "harsh" punishment on his 1-year old.  Again this is a bit much.  But what about other forms of physical discipline?  Do they have a place in your parenting style?  There seems to be a lot of heated debate over this with a very firm line drawn in the sand.  Personally, with younger children and as a last resort, I see no issue with a few quick pops on the behind.  Always with an open hand only.  It should never be done with any implement and it should never be done out of anger.  There should always be a warning to the child so that they know if the behavior is done again this is what is coming and there is a set number of spankings coming.  They should never be full force, but just enough to get their attention.  I rarely had to use these with my girls, and they were effective.

As for the argument that it only teaches kids to hit, I can promise you kids learn to hit anyway.  My girls were never excessively violent with each other or anyone else.  And now they know that you should use words to solve conflicts with your peers and adults.  They understand spankings happen from parent to child only.  Kids are amazingly intelligent that way.  I respect those parents that choose not to spank for their personal reasons, just as I respect their different parenting styles.  I think as long as the child is not being abused, and yes there is a big difference.  We all need to respect each other as parents and realize we are all trying to do the what we think is best for our children.

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