In recent weeks, my kids’ behavior has been noticeably getting worse. I’m sure it’s a combination of things: me going back to work, my husband having been gone for so long now, and the newness of having a nanny full time (who I’m sure doesn’t stay on top of them the way that I do).
When something comes up with the kids that is out of their norm, I like to seek advice wherever I can. Not that I always take it, but I understand that I don’t always have the right answer and, since people have been raising children since the dawn of time, each family has developed methods of their own. So, surely someone has something to offer that I hadn’t thought of already. They usually do.
Talking discipline with other parents is like discussing breastfeeding and circumcising. Everyone has a different opinion and the conversation is often comparable to trying to make your way through a mine field. Proceed slowly, with caution, or it might just blow -- it might anyway. Typically, the explosion occurs when I mention the fact that I spank my kids. A big no-no in today’s society.
I was spanked as a child. I wasn’t beaten, I wasn’t thrown around. I was laid over my fathers knee and would get a couple of good wallops. It wasn’t done excessively, only on an as-needed basis. For me, that “as-needed” would come around much more often than it would my sister. One of the small burdens of being too much like my mother. The point is, I wasn’t traumatized. I didn’t feel abused. I felt as though I deserved it and, looking back as an adult -- I did.
I don’t like spanking my kids. In fact, I usually give them numerous chances and warnings to straighten out the problem before I do. The truth is, it probably bothers me more than it does them. I know that’s the case when it’s Sophie laid across my lap, anyway. She gets over it almost immediately.
The situation I find myself in today is different than the typical “testing” phases that cycle through with children. The actual acts of defiance are the same, but greatly escalated -- both in severity and frequency. Although I have no doubt that the recent changes at home contribute to the behavior issues, the fact of the matter is life is full of change. Yes, I have sympathy for them and yes, I do let A LOT slide because of that fact. I also know that I refuse to teach my children that if life doesn’t go their way, they have the right to act out, throw fits, and cry “poor me.” They’d be in for a lifetime of disappointment.
Feeding children what we know as adults are lies, such as, “If life isn’t fair, then throw a fit and you’ll eventually get your way,” is more traumatizing to their chances of being a strong, healthy adult than spanking them will ever be. When we turn our head to behavioral issues because something has rattled their routine, that’s exactly what it teaches them.
We are raising a generation of children who are over-sensitive because they eventually find out that they aren’t as good at baseball or ballet as some other kid and their parents promised them that everyone is equal. They feel entitled because we teach them that they should. They throw tantrums when life doesn’t go their way because their parents have tiptoed around them to make sure that it does.
These same people are telling parents like me that we are failing our children because we practice controlled discipline in our homes. I say: the children that are raised without it are the ones being abused and robbed of the chance of success in adulthood.
Photo Credit: loyal_oak.
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