Tuesday, August 4, 2009

To spank or not to spank

When I was pregnant...well really before I was pregnant...I knew without a shadow of doubt I would breast feed my baby, we knew Jacob's name before we even knew he was a boy, I knew I would make baby food and that it would be organic, I knew I would be a stay at home mom...but I never really knew about discipline. Or should I really say never really put that much thought into it. I had worked in child care so I knew all about redirection and not using the word no, if you listen to super nanny she says don't spank or yell it isn't good for your children, and then if you follow the Bible (which really can be a parent handbook) it says spare the rod spoil the child. I have done 2 Bible studies through Motherwise Denise Glen " Wisdom for Mothers" and "Freedom for Mothers." Both books go into depth about the Bible guide of discipline. Including things like spank your child, but never use your hands your hands are for loving, use a spanking stick or spoon. Of course I still didn't think much of this when I was doing the study as my sweet little Jake was still a tiny baby and of course was perfect in every way...at least to me!!

Which brings me to my now 21 month old son. The other day we were getting ready to run some errands. We walked out to the garage and I opened the door. I let go of Jake's hand to open the car door and he took off running down the drive way. I knew that if I chased him he would laugh even harder and keep running. This is a newish game he plays and loves it. All day long he takes off running and wants me to chase after him and of course he is belly laughing the whole time. Yelling at him to stop running was not working and as the 1st car went speeding down our street not even pausing for a second (we live in a neighborhood, but some how these people don't understand the term slow). I decided I had better run after him Thank God I got to him before he got to the street and our very sweet neighbor was driving down the road at the same time and stopped before he came to our driveway. The whole time I was running to get Jake he was as suspected running more and cracking up laughing. I was so mad, but also relieved that he didn't make it to the street and that said neighbor had stopped. But I still grabbed Jake by the arm and marched him into the garage where I proceeded to spank his butt, while screaming "don't ever run down the drive way again," "you could be hit by a car." Keep in mind he is still wearing a diaper, but this was the hardest I had ever spanked him a few times in the past I have swatted his diaper( I am sure he didn't even notice then). But this time was different I was totally freaking out that my sweet boy was going to get run over. Let me just tell you Jake didn't really care he thought the whole charade was hilarious. Including the spanking that I gave him. But then I felt terrible for spanking him so I gave him a hug and calmly told him he can't run down the drive way. Oh and just to give you an idea this whole thing played out in about 3 minutes. But I felt terrible about it for umm...the whole day!

So this whole thing got me thinking about spanking and discipline. What do you do? What is appropriate for an almost 2 year old...who on some days has certainly started with his independent 2 year old stuff. I really want to be a woman of the Word, but what does this mean when I am disciplining my 21 month old. We've tried time out once or twice, but he never sits there for the whole 1 minute and if I tried to keep him sitting there it would take forever to finally get him sitting for 1 minute.

So the question of the day is spanking, time out, redirection, combination of them all...what is the best method? What is most appropriate for a 21 month old...obvious some reasoning could work, but he really doesn't understand "if you run in the street you can get ran over." Some days this parenting stuff is much more difficult then others, but I wouldn't trade any minute of it for the world. I would love to hear your thoughts!


  1. Do you remember Nicholas' "Timeout Tommy?" It was a clock that I had gotten that was for timeouts. It went to ten minutes and as soon as you turned the dial, it made a sad face, but when the timeout was done, it made a happy face. For "small" infractions, timeouts were given and we put him in a chair and the rule of thumb is one minute per year old. Sit him down, explain the rule, and if he gets up, sit him back down. Keep doing it, until he gets it.
    Larger infractions, such as running out in the road, call for spankings, or swattings. I had a wooden spoon that I think I might have used all of twice on Nicholas. That is a dangerous situation and danger needs to be handled differently. To this day if I grab a wooden spoon as if I am going to swat Nicholas (Keep in mind he is 5'7"-5'8" and 200 lbs) he'll still run away.
    Maybe you can talk to your pastor though to see what he/she recommends?

  2. Hi Melissa. Discipline is such a tough topic...and a very personal one too.

    I could (and probably will) write a whole post on this topic, but I'll start by saying that I'm not a fan of spanking (for a number of reasons) nor do I think it is mandated in the Bible.

    In our house, we use:
    (1) time-outs (with a timer)
    (2) positive praise (when good behavior is present)
    (3) redirection
    (4) offering choices

    I am right in the middle of reading "Parenting With Love & Logic" - and I like it so far. It has a lot of good ideas. You should check it out on Amazon.com or at your local library.

    Best wishes as you and your husband talk through these topics. I know it's not easy...