Family.. We have many disagreements. The biggest I have learned would come with the arrival of my son. My amazing, handsome, smart little boy. Because of him, I have chosen to take a different path. I have decided that I would not be like my parents or the ones before. Not because they were bad, I love my parents. I just don’t think they had the best idea of parenting. Not one that fits myself and my growing family.
Because of this, I often hear that my child will be a spoiled brat. How can a child learn respect if you don not spank him? How can he learn independence if you do not leave him to cry alone sometimes? I am judged by all those around me as I come from a small town in the middle of no where. New approaches are not always accepted with open minds, as there aren’t many open minds here to accept it.
We have chosen not to spank because spanking is no different than hitting. How can I tell my child it is wrong to hit someone and turn around and hit him? That makes no sense to me. It didn’t make sense to me growing up, and it still doesn’t. I can’t punish my child if he spanks another child for doing something he has been taught is wrong. He’s just trying to teach that child what he has been taught.
It also doesn’t make sense to me that I could go to prison if I hit my dog to discipline him, but it’s more than okay to hit my small, fragile, vulnerable child to discipline him. It’s not okay to spank an adult for punishment. Or to do so to an inmate or a terrorist but it’s acceptable to do so to a child? If someone smacked my bottom, I could press charges. It could be considered sexual harassment or assault. So why am I allowed to do this to my child? Is he not a human being too? Does he not deserve the same protection and the same respect as I?
My dad really hates that we don’t spank. He doesn’t have much patience when it comes to kids. He spanked my brother for the first time when he was 6 months old. Is that okay? My brother was in his crib crying at night. He was 6 months old. A baby does not know how to manipulate. They cry because they need something. Even if that something is just the comfort and familiar presence of their parent.
I often hear that “if more people spanked, there would be less violence in the world.” First off, how does using violence end violence? Secondly, that statement is ridiculous. Go to a prison and ask those inmates if they were spanked as a child. Go ahead. I bet over half of them were. Third, you only think there is more violence because of the vast media coverage we now have. So you have the ability to hear more stories from all over the place vs just what’s happening in your quiet little community. The holocaust happened in an era in which spanking was the norm and it didn’t stop Hitler.
More spanking will not stop crimes. Active parents will have a better chance of that. Parents who talk to their kids. Who know what their kids are doing, what they like, how they feel, and who they associate with. Even if you spank your child, it will not have much of an impact if you spank them and just go about your day.
Another thing I’m often ridiculed about is attending to my child’s every cry. He is two. He is very independent. When he cries, it is because he needs something. Maybe he’s hungry, thirsty, or he just needs a hug. Hey, I have been there. I have been so upset to the point I was crying and I didn’t even know why I was crying. If my fiancee just left me to cry by myself instead of comforting me and telling me I was going to be okay, I would feel abandoned. I wouldn’t want just anybody but it would hurt to know that the people I trust to be there for me, just left me to be confused and hurt alone. The next time I probably wouldn’t reach out to them at all. I would just hold it in until I blew up.
A child will be no different. They don’t fully know how to express their emotions. We must teach them. And part of teaching them is showing them that it’s okay to feel. That they have a right to feel. And that you care about how they feel. That you want to help them feel better and to do that, they have to continue to let you know how they feel. As they get older, they will be able to more adequately express their feelings in a way that you can understand. It won’t be so traumatic. But they will still have their moments. There will still be times when they feel they need to break down. Just hug them and say, “it’s going to be alright. I’m here.”
No, my child does not get everything he wants. I don’t give him toys at the store so that he will stop crying. I don’t go back on my words. When I say no, I stick to it. If it causes him to throw a tantrum or cry, I just pick him up and talk to him. He’s only two. He doesn’t understand. But I still explain why he isn’t allowed to do or have whatever it is I’ve said no too. He quickly calms down, and we move on.
Now, I’m not saying that these choices are wrong or right. This is just what is right for me and my family. And I am so glad to have made this decision. I love having a peaceful house. It’s even helped communication between my fiancee and I. And there is no yelling in our home. It can get crazy hectic, but for the most part, it’s pretty calm. For a two year old, my son is extremely well mannered. I’m excited to see the trials and tribulations I will have when the next one arrives. I am already prepared for the worst. I know that we got extremely lucky with our son.