Spanking and Shaming Doesn't Work

Back when I was a kid there were no big workshops and books on forms of child discipline. If there were, my parents didn't read them, and my grandparents sure didn't. Dr. Spock was the ultimate authority on raising children, and every mother's den had a copy-I think they sent you home from the hospital with one.

To this day I don't know what Dr. Spock's thoughts on spanking were, but I do know that at my age, when you got in trouble, you got a whippin'; plain and simple, no sitting down and discussing the situation, no "time outs", no quiet places, and no coddling.

If you got into a fight in our neighborhood on a Saturday morning, someone's father (not necessarily even the father of either kid in the fight) would come out and beat your butt, yelling "Don't hit!" Hmmm…

So it's no wonder that the adults of my generation grew up thinking that the only way to discipline a kid was to spank them. Now don't get me wrong, I still wanted to grab up my son by the hair when he was being a little brat, but common sense (and some "parenting with love and logic" classes at the community college) told me that beating my kid wasn't going to teach him that hitting was wrong. I wanted to teach my son to act with some dignity instead of acting like a fool, and I wanted him to be the kind of man that earned respect out of respect, not commanded respect out of fear.

I did not coddle him with a condescending voice ("I'm sorry you are feeling that way, son, let us sit and talk a spell.") Kids can smell insincerity a mile away. I did, however, talk to him like I would have wanted adults to talk to me. No lies, no crap. Just straight up ''why did you do it and do you know that it's wrong? Why is it wrong? Just because you know in your heart that kid deserved it, you are not the one to give it to him. Besides, keep it up that way and you'll end up in jail."

You can also go for the importance of self esteem by reminding them of their values. "You are a better person than that. I know you are a kind and caring individual. People who hit and start fights lose their dignity, and I know you have dignity because you are loved and you are my son." Whatever you do, don't snatch them up or hit them or act foolish for your example will only fuel the dysfunctional situation. Believe me, I know how hard it is to keep calm and not react in a situation such as this one. There are other forms of child discipline that don't involve shaming them. If a fight has broken out at school and they called you to come get your child, thank the office and take them to the car before even discussing the incident. Children learn dignity by watching you-through your example. If you shame them in front of other adults, they will shut down and that parenting talk you want to give them in the car will fall on deaf ears.


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