Okay, so let’s all join hands and say a little prayer before we begin this discussion because goodness knows, it brings out the kitty claws in the most docile of humans. Amen.
Weird Questions from my Masseuse
Recently, I was getting a massage at my chiropractor’s office and she was one of those masseuses (messeese, massueer? You know, the chicks that rub your back) that basically leverages herself between the wall and the table, feet on your back and elbow digging so deep into your butt cheek that you’re pretty sure she’s gonna pull back a sausage. I was already a little on edge because of the raping I was receiving and then the lady (whom I had never met previously) asked me out of the blue, “Do you spank your kids?”
What in the shiz-nit was she asking me that for? As I mulled it over, trying to figure out the motive behind the question, she laid into my thigh and I audibly groaned. She quickly told me I didn’t have to answer, but she and her fiancé were trying to conceive and she was researching and interviewing everyone to find out “if they should spank”. It was such a loaded question, I was almost afraid to answer. I really wanted to suggest worrying about getting married before spawning a human and subsequently spanking it, but didn’t want to seem judgy so I clamped my hole on that one.
Do I Have a Stance on Spanking?
Later that night, I really considered what my stance was on “spanking” was. I’ll admit it, I’ve swatted a tail or two in my day as a Mother. I don’t like it and it doesn’t make me feel good. More often than not, I threaten but don’t do it. (which is a whole other parenting mistake fit for its own blog post)
The conclusion I’ve come to is it’s not really about whether or not you should make a conscious decision to hit another person (child or not) but whether or not you make a conscious decision to purposefully parent your offspring.
These days, everybody wants a baby but low and behold the little nit-wit starts sassing and doing naughty stuff and people tend to give up and give in. They don’t have a plan, aren’t consistent and emotionally check out some time around puberty. I guess sometimes beating them into submission seems like a good idea.
In a sketchy little nutshell, my answer to “Do you spank your kids?” is Yes and No. Did we ever make a cut and dried determination to physically punish our kids? No. Have we spanked them? Yes. Do they get spanked regularly? Honestly, I don’t even remember the last time I felt that I needed to spank one of my kids. I may or may not have flicked someone on the head but we’ll just leave it at that.
They know our rules and expectations and they know there are consequences. They know that Mom and Dad are a united force and the dictators of this circus they call home. They know that they will reliably and consistently be responsible for their actions (Dad makes sure of this because I’m not a good disciplinarian or the world’s most consistent person) But hey, it takes a village, am I right?
I hope you don’t think I’m insinuating that my precious children never do anything cray-cray or get in trouble, because let me tell you, they do. Some days, they are rotten to the core and I consider buying a paddle with spikes. But then I calm down and hide in my closet for a while instead.
What Can We Do To Avoid Corporally Punishing Our Nuggets?
I do think there are a few common threads I’ve noticed in parents that seem like they’ve got the discipline thing down and that seem to make a huge difference in the behaviors of their minions.
- Set a good example. In my limited experience, most kid problems inevitably turn out to be parent problems. (read: their parents act up so they do too.) Show them what you want and how you expect them to behave. Kids are the best mimics I’ve ever seen.
- Be consistent. If they’re not allowed to jump on the dang bed today, don’t let them do it tomorrow.
- Talk to your kids a lot. EVERY. DAY. If you never let Suzy know you don’t approve of butt-tight Daisy Dukes, chances are your 12 year old princess will procure them and display them proudly. If you expect Johnny to clean his dungeon, make sure he knows it, help him do it a few times so he knows what to do and then have consequences if it doesn’t get done. (then refer back to #2) You might want to keep your dungeon clean, too.
- Be invested. As far as I’m concerned, having a family IS the focus of life, not a hobby or something you do on the side because you think it’s what you’re supposed to do. Be present, be involved and put in the effort. Kids know when you’re just surviving and shuttling them from Point A to Point B. Live intentionally and make the kids the priority.
So, the next time you find yourself proudly proclaiming, “I got the belt and I turned out just fine…” reconsider for a hot little minute. It is really about spanking?
Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici via freedigitalphotos.net