Parenting in Public

Posted 03-28-2012 at 11:56 AM by Krista

Yes, I spank my children. Let’s get that out into the open right now, because I know there are many out there that deem this as wrong. I have read countless posts on this website where a mom acts embarrassed when she admits she spanked her child, and is afraid that others are going to lecture her for it. That makes little to no sense to me. As parents, we each have to decide what works for our children.

My oldest, Alison, responds to little else. Now, I do not spank her at the drop of the hat, and I do try to use time out and/or corner time, but there are times I have to do what works. I tend to use it when she deliberately hurts her sister—pushing, hitting, etc. which thankfully doesn’t occur often anymore—lying, and outright disobedience. For example, yesterday I took the girls to McDonald’s for lunch. Alison climbed in the play place and would not come down when our food arrived. This is something I have had problems with her before, and we have talked about it. I have explained to her
that she is welcome to play—I want her to play, but when I tell her to come down, that is what she has to do. If she disobeys me, she gets into trouble.

My father-in-law who came with us called her for three minutes straight. She kept saying no and then giggling. I took over and told her to come down. She was looking straight at me and disobeyed. I told her, in front of a room full of parents and their children, that is she continued to disobey, I would spank her. I told her she had to the count of three. When she had still not come down at three, I had to go up and get her. I am extremely claustrophobic, so it was doubly embarrassing and difficult for me.

When I climbed up to her, she tried to continue her game and get away. And yes, I did take her to the bathroom and spank her. I followed through with what I said the consequence would be, as any parent should.

Do I believe that spanking works for every child? No. Do I believe it should be used in every situation? Absolutely not. But if you say you are going to hand down a certain punishment, I think you have to follow through with that. I also did not let her play anymore, either.

Alison is in a headstrong phase right now, and has to be kept in line. It seems lately that every day I am having to discipline her, especially in public. I am not delusional, I know I get stares every time I am taking my daughter to the bathroom to be punished. My husband always marvels that after I punish her she is hugging me and happy again. I think that is because, like any child, she appreciates the limits we set when we follow through. Boundaries make children feel safe.

My point is that it is very sad that we feel like we have to explain or defend ourselves for the techniques we choose for our children. No one would be very happy with me if I questioned their decision to breastfeed, or not vaccinate their children, so I feel I deserve the same courtesy when I discipline as I choose. Now, it’s one thing when you see a parent hitting a toddler with a belt, or smacking their face. That is not spanking. However, before we judge one another we should remember that we’re all trying to accomplish the same thing, to be the best parents we can be for our children.

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