I was always the person that said I would never spank my children. I was never spanked as a child, and I only saw the flaws in the act. When I was pregnant with my first I bought a book entitled **“The Case Against Spanking: How to Discipline Your Child Without Hitting.” It discussed everything I thought real about what spanking stood for, it led to children feeling it ok to hit other people and making them angrier kids. Although I really enjoyed this book and thought it brought about great points and examples of other ways to discipline, I now stand at the other end wondering what the “right” parenting style is when it comes to this.
It was a really long Wednesday and the kids had been feisty all day, with the majority coming from Audrey; my just turned two year old. She had been testing me all day and I had repeatedly told her no and tried different ways of disciplining her but nothing was working. I felt like she was doing it on purpose to see me squirm. I swore she knew better. But she was 2, did she? I collected my cool for about the 10th time in an hour and corrected her and let her know I was done playing this game that she needed to listen to me or she was going to get a spanking. Admittedly, my husband and I had begun using this threat a few months before but had never followed through. It was right before nap time and I was trying to corral Audrey into her room, between this time and actually getting her into her room I had to correct her about 3 or 4 more times before dragging her screaming to her changing table. I was standing at the end of my own mental ledge looking back at myself down below, as I was trying to collect myself again I look over and the monster was now throwing her dirty laundry from her bin onto the floor. I slammed my head into my hands in utter exhaustion from the day and started cleaning the clothes back up and firmly told this “child,” that clearly was an imposter trying to appear as my own, that if she did this again I WOULD spank her, she smirked and tipped over the entire basket. My only thought in my head was “Are you effing kidding me!” (A more colorful word may have been involved) I picked her up and spanked her swift and quick, I could feel the rage in me but I managed to control the strength I spanked her with and that I only did it once. But still I could feel the guilt rolling through me. She cried a blood-curdling cry and I held her and tried to explain to her that she did wrong and that I only spanked her because she wasn’t listening to me, and that was bad. She finally calmed down after about 5 minutes and still wanted me to hold her. I felt like the worst mother in the world. What had I just done? Something I swore I’d never do. I let my impatience get to me? I went grocery shopping alone while I had my sister in law watch the sleeping kids. I cried the entire way to the store and kept replaying the scenario in my head. I called my mom at the store hoping that being in public would keep me in check emotionally; I was wrong. I began crying in the body wash aisle with my mom questioning the entire event, she was supportive but I could hear her questioning me even silently. I told my husband the entire story when he got home from work and he said that I did the right thing considering her behavior throughout the day. Had I let my impatience get to me, like the book said, considering the massive headache of the day? Now looking back, I don’t believe so. I believe that the first time they test you to a point that you have no other choice but to spank them is an event that is burned into your head and filled with questioning.
Since that day I haven’t spanked my daughter again but I let my husband take care of it when it is warranted, which thankfully isn’t often. I still am unsure of my exact stance on spanking but I can definitely say neither of us “enjoy doing it” but we feel it is a necessary evil sometimes in order for my child to understand when she has gone to far with her disobeying. Listening and respecting your elders is something every child should learn to become good adults, whether you decide to use time out, spanking, or even a combination of the two, we are all in the struggle together trying to figure out what works best for our own children and there’s no judgment but just admiration in that from me. Once thing I do have to say is that however you choose to parent choose to do so with purpose, do your research or follow your heart, just make sure you know what your intentions are behind the act and you should be ok.
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