Mom Who Just Gave Up Spanking Asks for Help Fixing the 'Damage' She's Done

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Even though it is a personal choice to spank your kids or not, one mom has decided that spanking is no longer the right call for her family. Instead, she's decided to try other methods of discipline. Since  making the change, however, she's at a loss on how to control her daughter's temper tantrums without resorting to giving her a wack. "I want to do right," she explained, and is turning to the internet for advice on how to effectively discipline when her daughter is used to spankings.

  • Ever since she decided to stop spanking her almost 5-year-old, the mom has been at a loss at how to discipline her -- especially during tantrums.

    In a post on Reddit, the mom explained that all it took was for one friend to show her some statistics on how spanking isn't effective and has negative consequences for her to change her tune. "I feel like an idiot because it seems obvious now, but I never questioned it before," she wrote. "I was on the 'it's what my parents did' train."

    But now that she's officially a former spanker, she wrote that it's easier said than done to change the way that you parent. And she's worried that her previous parenting style may have caused lasting damage.

    "Is just stopping good enough?" she asked. " I've already used spanking as the standard punishment, is the damage done?"

    The mom continued that her daughter definitely has her share of behavioral issues. "Her biggest troubles are screaming and talking back when she doesn't get her way," she explained. Part of the problem was that the girl's grandparents used to spoil her just a tad. That means when the mom can't afford to buy her treats, her daughter explodes in a fit. 

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  • That is why the mom is looking for advice on how to get her child to behave without hitting her.

    Reddit post

    Her big concern is that her daughter is going to misbehave when she starts kindergarten next year. Her current teachers have been sending letters home informing the mom that her daughter has been refusing to "sit down and stop talking and pay attention."

    "I don't want her labeled as a bad kid by being more distracted than the others," the mom continued. That is why she turned to the parenting forum for help.

    "I was already trying to figure some stuff out here, but now I know I shouldn't spank her too so I feel lost a bit. Which is ridiculous, but I want to do right," she added. "I was shown this is the wrong way, but what's the right way now? How do I fix the dynamic I created?"

  • Online, lots of parents congratulated the mom for giving up spanking.

    "You were actually open-minded enough to consider another perspective instead of being defensive or angered by somebody criticizing your parenting," one person praised. "The fact that you actually changed your mind when presented with new information, instead of digging in your heels and refusing to admit you might have been wrong, speaks very highly of your intelligence and ability to grow as a person and a parent. You are a great mom, and I can tell you’re just going to get better and better."

    "I just wanted to say that you should feel proud of yourself for recognizing your mistake and taking action to correct it and then further seeking assistance to figure out how to become a better parent," another commenter agreed. "That's a big deal and something many parents never do (whether they spank or not)."

    "You are learning how to do better, and your daughter will grow up in a healthy environment because of your willingness to learn," a third commenter wrote. "That makes you a good parent. A bit of advice, don't give up if it doesn't work immediately. It will take time for your daughter to adjust her behavior to the new dynamic, but it will be worth it."
  • And other parents wrote in with some excellent advice and parenting tips.

    One person advised that things might get worse before they get better. "Keep in mind, though, that before she gives up the screaming, she will probably go through a period of screaming even harder than before," the user wrote. "Behavioral psychologists call this the 'extinction burst' -- it happens even when training animals."

    "You’ll have [to] be very patient, as it will take time to curb the behavior," one commenter agreed. "But honestly, just sitting down and talking with them can be the most effective long term. Kids aren’t monsters, they do listen to reason and react to being respected. If she’s screaming and having a fit, let her ride it out and tell her you two can talk once she’s calmed down. Once she starts to understand you aren’t going to cave, the fits should decrease in frequency."

    "We make our kids (3 and 6) sit on a stair step," another parent advised. "We don't call it time-out, we call it 'Calm Down'. We explain that we listen to them when they are crying and screaming, and we can talk once they are calm. Not even always used for negative behaviors, but for calming any high emotions. The 3-year-old's reactions often far outweigh the situation (I mean...Reasons My Kid is Crying and all), and sometimes she gets herself so worked up that she can't calm herself down, so she'll sit on the step. When she's like that, one of us usually sits next to her, not talking, just sitting with her and intentionally breathing slow and deep. Eventually her breathing lines up with ours, and once she's calm we can talk."
  • The mom later responded and wrote in that she really liked the idea of teaching kids "to calm themselves down."

    "All this kind of reminds me kids are just young people," she continued. "Which sounds obvious and dumb but I forget."

    She added that her friend advised her to "teach her to cope and process her feelings instead of teaching her to do exactly what I say and want her to do," she wrote. "She reminded me that I don't even know how to control my feelings half the time, why do I expect a child to do it?" 

    That is how the mom came up with a solid plan for the next time her daughter throws a fit. "I'm gonna try to have her sit down and draw next time she gets in trouble/does something she shouldn't," she added.

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