There's a funny thing about parents who spank their kids. They swear it works. Why else would they actually inflict physical pain on their child, right?
But they spank. And they spank. And they spank some more. Some all the way up into the teen years. And yet, they keep on claiming it's working. OK, non-spanking mom over here with a befuddled look on her face has a question. If it works, why do you have to keep doing it? Shouldn't the magic have happened? The bad behavior stopped? The "working" started? OK, that was a few questions.
See, I am a "the first time is a warning" mom, very often followed by a time-out kind of mom. And unlike the spanking moms I know who are very adamant that their way works, I will be up front and honest. Discipline is trial and error. Like teaching kids their ABCs, addition, how to ride a bike, teaching right from wrong takes time.
And so it would actually stand to reason that one smack on the butt doesn't suddenly turn your little monster into a model citizen, no matter how much you try to convince yourself that "your way" is going to save your little hellion from: running into the road, touching a hot stove, trying to eat Grandma's medicine. So you keep doing it. And doing it. And doing it.
Suddenly, you are a spanker. Not getting anywhere with it, obviously, because it's not working. AND you're inflicting physical pain on your child, scars that will last a lifetime. Don't believe me? Think back to your own childhood. Were you spanked? If the answer was yes, do you remember the spankings? I'm willing to bet you can remember exact details.
I can. Because physical pain has been linked to memory by scientists in a very significant way. It can literally change who you are as a person. Experienced young, it can make you develop violent tendencies that wouldn't otherwise have been within your personality -- again, because you were changed. It can, and does, make children fear their parents, make them question the one thing kids should never have to question: "Do the people who are supposed to love me without fail really love me if they hit me?"
And all this for something that doesn't even work? At least with my trial and error method of time-out, no one is getting hurt while we figure out what works. That's why I'm willing to stick with an imperfect method -- there's room to be imperfect. Not so with spanking.
Ask me why I'm a time-out Mom, and the irony is that I'm afraid if I wasn't, I would be a spanking mom. It's because I don't believe in hurting other human beings -- not just my own child but my spouse, my friends, my family, anyone really -- that I would prefer to have a little distance between my daughter and me when she has done something wrong and I can feel my temper rise. Ironic, isn't it? I was spanked as a child, and I get very angry now. Angry enough to want to be violent. I can't say for sure that they're linked, but I can say for sure that I don't want my daughter to experience either side -- the pain on her butt or the pain in her heart at the thought of hurting her own child. See, time-out may not be perfect, but the kid and I both get something OUT of it.
I get a daughter who is gradually learning social niceties and safety concerns. She gets to learn them without the indignity of being treated as my punching bag. She also gets to experience a mom who loves her unconditionally and shows it.
Unlike spanking, we have real results in the end. What do spankers have? More spanking.
Do you spank? Please explain to me how it works if you have to keep doing it?
Image via HA! Designs - ArtbyHeather/Flickr