Candid Chatter

Just Say It

The Spanking July 28, 2009

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 6:33 am
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“Spare the rod, spoil the child”

kate-gosselin-spanking-daughter-picture8

Kate Gosselin spanking daughter via Google images

Recently, I was able to voice my opinion on this subject. Spanking the children. The conversation wasn’t really about whether or not it is right or wrong. A person I know made a statement of disgust over a couple of women who were bragging about the types of physical disciplines they used on their children. They tried to back it up with Scripture. Man, I hate it when that happens. I almost didn’t join the discussion, but I get really ticked off when less than educated people try to use Scripture to back up their stupidity and poor judgment.

Solomon does write about disciplining children in Proverbs. There may be other places in the OT which talk about child-rearing too. I don’t recall where though.

However, using a “rod” to beat your children with because it’s in the Bible is disgusting to me. Following that logic, then I suppose it’s ok to make 700 virgins your concubines too, right? I mean, it’s in the Bible stupid. Duh! And, when we fast we should wear sackcloth and cover ourselves with ashes.

I’m just getting started. But, before I continue, let me say this. If you hit your kids with your fists or an object, I believe you need help. That, my dear reader, is abuse. If you twist their arms, jerk them, shake them, slap them, poke them so hard a bruise appears… you are being abusive. I do not condone that and I never will.

Now, having said all of that, I do not believe there is anything wrong with spanking a child when done correctly. Am I perfect? Unfortunately, no. I have made some mistakes in disciplining my lovelies. Fortunately, they have been very few and my conviction was immediate and my confession as immediate as possible. My apologies have been accepted because my kids were kinder and more loving than they should have been… because I was wrong.

I am not an expert. But, I have strong beliefs that a loving, nurturing, and joyful home is important for everyone in the family. We all have bad days. Some days kids behave very well. Some days I need a couple glasses of wine before bed. The same goes for them. Not the wine. But, the mood swings. We’re imperfect humans. I try to remain aware of this and give them the benefit of the doubt. However, I absolutely will not tolerate defiance or blatant disrespect.

When I spank my kids I swat once on the buttocks with an open hand. Before I spank, I give plenty of warning and opportunities for them to make the right choices. Spanking is a last resort. I might threaten to spank and count to three, however, I rarely have to follow through with it. When I do have to spank, I do not enjoy it. I feel it is a necessity for proper discipline and control in the home. It sends my message in a hurry and I can count on one hand when one of my children has continued their improper behavior beyond the spanking. In those rare cases, I have repeated the steps to another spanking — warn, give opportunity to make the right choice, count to three, spank. It is their choice. Behave and submit to my authority, or be punished.

I also do not threaten to do anything to my kids that I don’t FULLY intend to follow through on. I don’t tell them I’ll break their arm or rip out their hair or any of that verbal crap (which is abusive language, IMO, but that’s another subject altogether). I warn. I follow through with my threat. End of story.

My kids know that I am not messing around.

It works for us.

My daughter has had less spankings than my son. She responds better to time-outs in her room and I allow her to scream to the tops of her lungs in there as long as her door is shut. She blows off her steam and then comes out and we have a calm conversation about her behavior followed by lots of hugs and kisses and compliments. I can’t remember the last time I spanked her.

My son is not the same. He’s about half and half. Nothing jolts him into obedience like being spanked. Thankfully, he has learned self-control enough that I don’t spank him daily. In fact, if I kept track I’ll bet I don’t even spank him every other day. He is really learning, and being sent to his room is starting to work.

Do we draw lines? I don’t think so. I believe it’s pretty matter of fact. You are either constructively demanding obedience in your home or you are being too lenient or too abusive. Kids need discipline. Without it they will become spoiled and will have very little respect or trust for authority. You cannot negotiate with a 3 year old. You cannot.

You are the parent. You need to act like it.

What say you?

 

One Thing We Never Say to Them August 3, 2008

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 7:26 am
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There are several uses for the word “bad”. Just check out a dictionary and you’ll see a lot of them.

That car is bad! (which actually means good)
Ew, that turkey smells bad. (which means it’s rotten)
I can’t drink milk. It’s bad for me. (which means someone is lactose intolerant)

You get the picture.

Before Rich and I had Brianna we discussed this one particular issue and it is an important one to me. We never ever ever call our children bad. Never! He almost slipped once, but caught himself and looked at me like “uh oh”. They are not bad. What they did might be bad; they may have made a bad decision — but they are not bad. No child is.

I was so embarrassed on New Year’s Eve this year. I went to a church party (never thought I’d go to church on New Year’s Eve… Ha!). My friend and her family were there. We were chatting about some boys who were misbehaving in her son’s Sunday school class. They were trying to get him to turn off the lights. When he refused they started to tease him. The boys she was talking about were both in the class I volunteered for when they were 3 years old. Truth be told, I dreaded having them there every time I volunteered. If they didn’t show up that Sunday, I knew my job just got infinitely easier. They were rotten kids. To the bone. I know I shouldn’t say that, but it’s how I felt. Out. Of. Control. Little. Heathens.

Just to be clear, I no longer serve in the Children’s Ministry — I am so not cut out for that stuff. I couldn’t take it. I do not love other people’s kids and it became apparent to me when I started working in that ministry. Totally a wrong fit. Not my gift. Not even close.

So those boys were about 4 feet away from where we were standing. We weren’t looking at them or making it obvious we were talking about them. She was telling me the story and I told her I had them both in my class before they turned 4 and “they are bad boys”. [suck in breath] Yes, I said “bad boys”. That’s not the worst part of it. I nodded in their direction when I said it and their mother heard me. I know she did. She pretended she didn’t. But she certainly did. Crap! Then, wouldn’t you know it, the following Sunday it was my turn to serve in the 2/3 year old’s room and here comes their mom with her youngest. Oh crap! She acted strange and I was probably visibly uncomfortable, but she didn’t say anything. Neither did I — just on the slim chance she didn’t hear me. But I know she did. I know it. Her reaction when the words left my mouth said it all.

I think it was about 2 more volunteer Sundays for me and I called it quits. I did about 11 months of my 1 year commitment. It wore me out.

A former neighbor of ours came over unexpectedly a lot. She didn’t really get on my nerves because she wouldn’t stay long and if she saw I was busy she’d be on her merry way. One time when she was there Brianna was throwing a fit and not listening to me. I was getting upset with her and neighbor lady interjected, “Brianna you are being a bad girl. You listen to your mommy.” My mouth about hit the floor. Brianna looked at me like “what the???” I didn’t know what to say so I didn’t say anything. I told Rich about it later, but he was just as clueless as I was on how to handle that kind of thing if it ever happened again. I probably should have said, “we don’t use the word ‘bad’ in describing our children — yes she was behaving badly, but she is not a bad girl”. But I didn’t. Weak. Next time, hopefully there won’t be one, I will stand up for what I believe.

I don’t mind seeing or hearing a parent discipline their child. I know what it’s like to be somewhere with two toddlers behaving badly. Trust me. But when I hear “bad boy” or “bad girl” come out of their mouths the hair on the back of my neck stands on end. It has the same effect on me as seeing a child get slapped.

Spanking doesn’t bother me — slapping makes me want to beat the parent’s head in. Slapping a child. What a low life thing to do, in private or in public. Anyway, that’s a different topic for a different day.

What is one thing you will never
say or do when disciplining your child?

 

Kids Behaving Badly May 23, 2008

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 7:22 am
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First of all, I don’t use the word “bad” to describe my kids. I have never said, “you’re so bad, that’s a bad boy or girl”, or anything of the sort. I do not believe in calling my kids bad. There are other ways to express to them that what they have done is not appropriate. I try not to label them — esp negative labels. I try.

However, there are kids who behave badly. Mine behave badly every day. I don’t call it that to them. But it is what it is. Bad behavior. We say “naughty” like The Nanny does.

We were at the water playground yesterday. It was the first time my little boy was actually running through the water spouts. He was laughing and screaming and having a splendid time. My daughter has always loved to do this and she was so excited that her little brother was finally playing with her. They were being so cute and I was smiling from ear to ear. It was quite a moment for all of us. Filled to the brim with joy!

Until he showed up.

The brat.

The brat with the big-mouthed mom.

I have done my share of spewing on other people’s parenting skills (or lack thereof). Most of it, before I had children. But I still get irritated. Yesterday was one of those days.

“The Brat” came and started picking on the other two siblings there. I watched him push “Katie” down twice as he bulldozed through the water spout that she was playing in. Nevermind that there were about 10 other spouts he could have bulldozed through. No, he picked hers. She fell down onto her butt and shouted at him. Katie was almost as big as The Brat. The Brat kept running around bulldozing through water spouts. My kids came running over to me with fear on their faces since they just witnessed Katie’s fall. Katie got all adjusted and here comes you-know-who to bulldoze her down again. This time The Brat’s mom opens her big mouth and shouts that if he does it again they will leave. I think to myself, “bet she won’t leave if he does it again, I just bet.” Empty threats and kids aren’t stupid.

“Kyle” is a little boy younger than my Jeremy. I assume he’s about 20 months old. Kyle is Katie’s brother. The Brat sees Kyle playing with a bucket. He cocks his head a little and starts running towards the baby. I am squirming in my chair as Kyle’s mom is getting up from her seat and starting to bolt for the baby. She sees what is about to happen too. The Brat gets to the baby before mom does and snag, rip, jerk he gets the bucket from the baby and the baby cries. Props to Kyle for trying to hold onto the bucket for the 2 seconds it took The Brat to jerk it out of his little grip. Kyle’s mom picks him up, consoles him, and walks towards her table. The Brat’s mom is shouting, “no, no, no [insert name], that is not nice. You give that back to the baby or we will go home”. Really? You’ll go home? You know what I am thinking, “Oh, please don’t give it back to the baby, The Brat, because I soooo want your mom to take you home.”

My kids go back to playing. Katie’s and Kyle’s mom starts packing up to leave. I had it in my stomach. I could feel the nudge. “Leave”, my gut was telling me. “Leave now! Just pack it up. An hour is long enough. Just leave.” But I didn’t leave. I stayed. And suddenly I was transformed. I had 4 eyes, not two. I could see my little ones and I could see The Brat. I turned into a Hawk. Two eyes on The Brat and an eye on each of my kids. I was on the edge of my seat. I was hating The Brat’s mom and fiercely dying to tell her off. I was all nerves and ready to fight.

Big-mouthed mom’s friend shows up with her daughter. I was relieved. Now The Brat will pick on that kid and mine will be fine. Relax. Sit back in seat like a normal person. Take my eyes off of The Brat.

Big Mistake!

My kids had plastic animals that we brought with us. The Brat saw Jeremy’s dinosaur and you can just imagine what happened next. And you’re right. It did. I flew across the water yard, grabbed him off of the ground, wrapped him in a towel, kissed him, and did all those mommy things to make it all better. Big-mouth comes over to apologize.

Guess what I did?

Yep. I said, “oh, that’s ok. He’ll be fine. Boys will be boys.” I know. I couldn’t believe it either. I just couldn’t tell her off. But inside I was seething, folks. Mama bear was going on in a big way. On the outside, I was as wimpy as they get. Almost apologetic. Pathetic!!

The Brat wasn’t finished with my kids yet.

  1. He slapped Brianna in the mouth
  2. He pushed her from behind, thankfully she didn’t fall down
  3. He smacked Jeremy on the back
  4. He bulldozed into Jeremy and that was it

After he knocked Jeremy down the second time I was livid. This time Jeremy’s shoulder, arm, knee, and leg got all scratched up (and were bleeding) and he hit his head on the cement. That time when mommy big-mouth-empty-discipline came over to apologize I almost couldn’t even look her in the eye. There were so many words going through my head at that very moment and I didn’t say ONE of them. I also didn’t say, “that’s ok”, when she apologized for her heathen. I just nodded and said, “thank you”.

We left after that. Nobody was having fun. The kids were both crying. I was biting a hole in my tongue. I have never wanted to slap a child so much in my life. More like beat him till the cops showed up. Yeah. I guess if I’m honest, I envisioned bruising his backside.

His mom put him in “Time Out”. As I was trying to get my kids ready to go and pack up our stuff, The Brat kept getting out of “Time Out” and big-mouth mom was threatening to leave again. He’d sit down on the chair and scream and beat his fists on the table. Big-mouth mom would threaten some more. He would get up and run around again. Same thing over and over.

Do you see the problem here?

Yep.

It’s not The Brat’s fault he’s The Brat. It’s big-mouthed mom’s fault. She is breeding a bully because she is unwilling to follow through with her threats.

I am not the world’s most perfect mom. But I know discipline and I know how to use it. My parents followed through with their threats. They had no choice. They had 7 kids that could get WAY far out of hand. If they didn’t discipline us and then stick to their guns they would have had 7 buttholes for kids. When I tell my kids things I am more than willing to follow through. I don’t give them idle threats. For the most part, they don’t test me. Much. As Brianna gets older she realizes more and more that mom means business. Jeremy is still in the learning curve, but even he understands “one, two, three” and that if he doesn’t move by “three” something unpleasant will happen.

Discipline.

Do it.

Give your kids boundaries and when they cross the line punish them.

Don’t breed bullies. Don’t have brats.

Discipline. It’s biblical even.