Spank This!

by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor

 

The other day I was at Target (shocker!) browsing through an excellent selection of eight dollar tank tops. They were the extra long style which I happen to need since I am in possession of a serious muffin top, yet I insist on wearing low rise pants. So I was pretty engrossed in the tanks when I couldn't help but notice a woman pulling a dawdling toddler along by the wrist. Apparently the little guy wasn't thrilled to be leaving the purse section across the way from me and he was letting his displeasure be known.

 

The mom sort of pulled him in little jerks, you know the move, while giving him a sharp, "Come on! Now!" I felt her pain, truly. My twins have been extra tough lately and I've felt all kinds of aggravated at having to deal with them defying me in stores, the car and other people's houses. It's enough to make me not want to take them anywhere except that they aren't much better at home so it's kind of a no-win. But then all of a sudden, the mom whipped her son around and smacked him on the butt so hard the "thwack" noise went right to my gut. The little guy dissolved into crying and wouldn't get off the dirty Target floor, which enraged him mom even more. "Get. Up." she growled at him through gritted teeth while looking around to see if anyone was staring at her son's bad behavior. Then she sort of pulled him up by the wrist, spanked him again and said, "We're going." And he went.

 

All of a sudden I felt so pissed off. And I tried to see it from her side and not be judgmental. But I was. This wasn't just a swat on the butt due to losing all patience and impulse control - well, maybe the first one was - but once you hit your kid twice, you're a Spanker.

 

I don't believe in spanking. You might. A lot of people do. So just me saying this may piss you off. There may be some automatic party lines drawn between the "don't mess with my civil liberties" libertarians and the "greater good" liberals. I don't care; this is my opinion.

 

People shouldn't hit their kids for so many reasons -like it doesn't work. Sure Spankers will tell you that it does; they'll say that once you give a kid a spanking they learn immediately not to repeat the offending behavior again. But studies have shown that spanking doesn’t change behaviors, in fact, it oftentimes makes it worse.

 

Dr. Phil says on his website, “When you spank, you introduce chaos into your child's world. This tells him or her that violence is acceptable, and it's an OK way to react when you're mad.” If you’re anything like me, when Dr. Phil talks (or jots something down on his website), you listen.

sadepate
02.20.11

I agree with the whole not spanking your children thing. My problem is what do you do? I was raised to get spankings all the time for everything. I dont want my children being raised that way. I do the time-out, the counting to three, the angry face, but nothing works. I dont like to raise my voice, I dont like to talk in anger. Is there a book on this stuff?

intellamom
02.19.11

I think you are naive if you interpret your own behavior as one of the ultimate in control when you can't control your muffin top! Dr. Phil is not the worlds expert - he's another blow hole with an opinion. Spanking is a parenting choice, not always done well, nor right - just like every other good intentioned choice that parents make. The difference is those that conscienously choose spanking as a part of their parenting vs those that don't. Perhaps that's like choosing to have a muffin top or just realizing it's something thats there, and instead of

LocalMotion
02.19.11

No need to debate, you are 100% right. Spanking (from "taps" to taking a spoon/belt/switch to your own children) is an abuse of power. And it is child abuse - plain & simple - although many parents seem to think differently. It's really sad, but these same parents were probably hit when they were young. There are so many better methods to building a happy family.

Jane Nelsen's "Positive Discipline" series of books and workshops is one terrific approach which yields cooperative, happy behavior from children with *no* punishment, especially not spanking. they just advocate "kind & firm" and that "when children feel better, they do better" - as opposed to the weird assumption that kids need to feel worse (big punishment) in order to do better.

Freedom2Pixie
02.19.11

I agree with you. Spanking is never ok, I believe that it actually teaches the child that it is ok to hit (or get aggressive when angry). There are other ways to discipline a child without having to spank.

mfelter
02.18.11

Thank you - this article is me. Completely. I ride the subway to work and see tired frustrated (often young) mothers beating their children all the time. It really pisses me off. Once I yelled at a girl and told her she was a child abuser but I don't like getting into verbal altercations with definitely-tougher-than-me folks on my way to or home from work. I told that teenager that I was calling child protective services and followed her with my cell phone until she escaped into a building dragging her little boy by the wrist. Then I got scared and left. I hope it made her think not to abuse her adorable little boy but I'm not sure. Hate seeing this. Now I need a huge cookie.

christinenicole1
02.18.11

i agree. period. dot. when i see a mom lose it in public i wonder how they are in the privacy of their home. it makes me sick to my stomach to think of what the child is going through.