A friend posted this message on Facebook and started a really loud protest over here! I have to write about this…
“have to laugh at people who are against spanking. My parents whipped me and I learned the Switch Dance. I didn’t hate them. I didn’t have trust issues with them because of it. I trusted I was in big trouble. I didn’t fear them. I feared getting caught doing wrong! But I sure respected them! I learned what my boundaries were, and knew that what would happen if I crossed them. I was disciplined. This is why kids nowadays have no respect for anyone……”
I shot off a response: “This is so old school! Violence against children in the name of discipline is never a good idea, it’s risky…..my thoughts. No one else can hit your children today. You break boundaries when you hit your child…..yeah, you got me going, my friend…….”
She answered: “I’ve seen too many kids that need much more discipline than they are getting, the parent thinks the child is their ‘best friend’ or the parent is afraid of the child.”
I retorted: “So we have to spend a lot of time with children…..talking, teaching, setting an example. The failure of parenting is the failure of sacrificing personal, invaluable social time. TV, computers, toys, clothes make poor and inadequate substitutes for parental affection.”
Recently, a father living in the homeless shelter was observed hitting his young son on the back of his head. The school aged boy stumbled into the street. When confronted, the older man barked that he had raised several children, and he would hit his child if he feels the child needs it. He stated that he loves his boy! So I challenged him: “Since you know that he respects and loves you, why do you really need to hit him to influence him?” The father looked bewildered. He had not thought about it that way. Old school. The next day he thanked me. I congratulated him on being there for his son.
I believe in open expressions of love as the basis for disciplining children. It is so much better to hug than to hit your children. Literally pick them up and embrace them. When they get too big to pick up, they snuggle on the sofa, taking over the remote, lean on your shoulder, share food from your plate, ask for your spare cash, car keys, credit cards, pile their friends up in their room, showing them how to raid your refrigerator, interrupt your workday for unimportant (and important – to them) things, give you birthday cards that make you cry tears of relief (they really get who you are to them), thank you on THEIR graduation days, and go readily with you to the shopping mall. It goes on and on throughout adulthood, just changing the ways we touch and hug.
Once started, you should forever hold and hug your children, just in other ways, as they get older. LOL! One day, though, they will literally pick you up, in return, and hold YOU. This is a comforting idea. And there is really no justification to hit. Unconditional love establishes mutuality and respect, and defines the ultimate in boundaries. I know this to be true, because my mother never hit me.