Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Life from a spanked child

I have met countless people who do not spank their children. Most of them believe it is a form of abuse, and should not be used on kids. I was spanked when I was younger, and I never found it to be a form of abuse. Although, I didn’t like it - who would? It’s supposed to be a punishment, right? - it was probably the most effective form of punishment I ever experienced. I never felt like my mom or dad was beating me, because they always did it out of love, not anger. I’m sure that there are many instances when a parent is angry and spanks their child for the wrong reasons, but my parents are not included in that group. When I did something wrong, I would be sent to the bathroom, and I would wait there for several minutes. I never knew why I had to wait so long, but I now know that it was because my parents would calm themselves so they could discipline me in a loving manner. It always brought out true repentance in my heart, and I always felt better after I was disciplined accordingly.

My parents are probably the best disciplinarians I have ever met! They are able to come up with many creative forms of discipline that help my siblings and I to understand what we did wrong, and more importantly, how to correct it. My mom came up with a real winner when I was in first grade. I was a very grumpy child in first grade, because I was bored to death. I was still in public school at that time, and, if you’ve ever experienced first grade, it is all about learning how to read. I was so bored with all the phonics, as I had learned to read two years earlier. My teacher, who was a very nice lady, couldn’t give me the attention that I needed, so she sent me out in the hall with a book and a worksheet about it. I spent much of my time in the hall reading all by myself. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love to read, and would have much rather been out in the hall than in the classroom, but I was very lonely. By the end of the day, I was a real grump. I know that is no excuse for being grumpy, but it is true. Well, one day, I really got up on the wrong side of the bed, and was not being very nice to anyone. My mom came to me, and very calmly said, “Molly, I want you to go in the bathroom and sing ‘This is the Day’ at the top of your lungs until you can be happy.” This terrified me. I was not a very loud child, and I did NOT sing in public. I know now that my mom did this out of love, but back then, I was mad. I obeyed, but I highly doubt that I was happy about it. I went in the bathroom and began singing very softly, “This is the day, this is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made. I will rejoice, I will rejoice, I will rejoice and be glad in it, and be glad in it.” Pretty soon, Mom’s voice filters in saying, “Molly, I can’t hear you. Sing a bit louder!” I don’t really remember the rest of the story, but Mom told me many years later that she could hardly keep herself from laughing as my voice boomed out into the house! It sure is funny! (Now anyway…)

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to someone’s house to babysit and they begin going down a list of instructions. “Give the baby her bottle at 7:00.” “Put him to bed at 8:00.” “Make sure he eats his dinner.” All of these are just part of babysitting, but my least favorite one to hear is, “Oh, you won’t have to worry about spanking. We don’t do that.” When I hear these words, a groan wells up inside me. I know that the children will not be on their best behavior if I have no means of discipline. (This is not true for all un-spanked children. I have met some wonderful ones.) I have tried “time out”, and was even subject to it myself several times, but I can tell you from personal experience, it is not very effective. For me, I always just waited out the timer, said I was sorry, but never really felt like I was truly sorry for my mistakes. I’m sure it works on many children, but it did not work on me. I really didn’t mind being in time out; it did not really feel like a punishment.

Please don’t get me wrong… I’m sure that some of these methods work on many children. This blog is just from my personal experience with different methods of discipline. If you choose to spank, please make sure you do it out of love, not anger. Trust me, the child is able to tell. I think one of the hardest things to understand as a child is when your parents discipline you out of love. Talk to your children, and help them understand that you discipline them because you love them. Remember Proverbs 13:24: “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” I am not a mom, and I do not know how hard it is to spank a child (although I’m sure I will find out someday), but please consider your decision carefully. Another good verse is Proverbs 23:13 which says, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.”

If I could thank my parents for only one thing, it would be for spanking me when I was younger. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for giving me the correction I needed out of love and not out of anger. I love you very much.