Question:

I have read many of the answers you have given about spanking and while I disagree or am uncomfortable with using anything other than a hand for it, I have seen the positive effects of spanking being part of several punishment options for parents with my friends and their children. I now have my first child (a 2 year old son) who is the best gift that I could have ever received. Here is my situation. I was rarely spanked as a child. My parents felt guilty that they did it and to this day they will not discuss it. I have some of the same feelings about spanking, I haven't even had to use it and won't until my son is older. I want to use it as a responsible parent should if need be. I do not want to spank, but if necessary I do not want the behavior to sit, so I want to be prepared. So how do I introduce it as a punishment if I have to? And what should I do now to prepare myself?

I thank you in advance for your thoughts.


Answer:

My guess is that you are already heading down the wrong path. It isn't just spanking that is an issue, it is seeing the role negative discipline has in the shaping of a child's character. Any number of supposedly intelligent people are able to train a dog better than they are able to train a child -- and a child is far smarter than a dog.

What I see you doing is avoiding negative consequences as long as you can (and longer than you should). The result of such thinking is that punishment is only given as a result of being pushed over the edge. The results are harsher than intended because of the anger and it leaves the parent feeling guilty for losing control.

There are going to be times that a good parent is angry while they punish their child, whether it is a scolding, a timeout, a skipped benefit, or a spanking. But the punishment is never given out of anger. It is given because the child has done something wrong, that if not corrected will create a flaw in his character. "The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother" (Proverbs 29:15). This is why I generally don't answer questions that are focused on the punishment. Good parenting is about focusing on improving a child's character.

There is a little book called To Train Up A Child by Michael and Debi Pearl that you really should read. It will put things in proper perspective for you.

Thank you for advice. Since my son is only two, it has really been about helping him to calm down, and redirecting him, as my mother says, to do other things because he doesn't understand much of the danger around him. I see what you mean. My wife and I need to make the big decisions on how we decide to discipline and punish in our home and be on the same page. I will read the book and let you know how it goes.

Thanks again and God bless.