Discipline is not an Accessory
Jul 10, 2000
Discipline is a nasty word in today's world. No one wants to discipline their children - they want to be friends. However, kids still need the attention, affection and limits that discipline communicates to them.
Kids are really searching for limits. They want to hear you, the parent, say "This far and No Further" because in their little minds it equates to love. Deep down, your child is thinking "Gee, mom and dad love me enough to care for me by helping me set the limits", although what may be coming out of their mouth is a steady stream of animosity. When they go over those boundaries you, as the authoritarian, have set, don't be afraid to re-establish them through discipline.
There's a lot in our world today that happens because parents have stopped fulfilling their roles as caretaker, disciplinarian, and protector. Just a few examples: Kids taking guns to school or even having irresponsible access to them. Teachers having inappropriate "relations" with teenage students. Metal detectors in schools - a supposed SAFE place to send your children.
How to discipline your child is a matter of choice - yours.
In our house, we use a physical and immediate response to a physical and immediate action. Yes, we spank. Your child has to be old enough to understand that the spank is for something that she has done. Hitting a baby or young toddler will not do anything more than frustrate and frighten the baby, not to mention hurting you.
A small spank is more a shame issue for a toddler or preschooler. It deters my preschool aged child and makes her think twice before repeating the offending action. For my toddler, a loud "NO!" and moving her away from whatever action K has done is enough. They are both testing their boundaries and looking for me to show them how much is too far.
Small swats on the bum are one thing. A full-on belt buckle whipping is another. Limits are the key to the whole discipline issue. Abusing your child through repeated painful beatings is not discipline. If you have a tendency to let yourself get out of control, please use a different means of discipline.
Not every action requires a spank. We reserve spankings for important issues - crossing the street without help or permission, getting into potentially hurtful items, eating Desitin in K's room. Other infractions only require me to send L to her room for a short time, with a verbal warning. Being sent to her room while the rest of the family enjoys the evening outside on the deck is enough to help her remember that whining is not acceptable, that talking back, being bossy, or abusing the dog or sister K is a punishing offense.
Slapping is not acceptable in our home. It is, to me, the most humiliating, the most shameful method of disciplining. To me, it strongly resembles abuse. If this is your preferred method of discipline, please rethink your choice. They are just children, after all.
Discipline is a must, not an option or accessory. To many "bad things" in our world today are the result of parents simply not caring enough to properly know or discipline their children. Material giving due to guilt has caused many a well-meaning parent to lay their role as disciplinarian aside and opened wide the door to adversity. It's all in the past and can't be changed, but WE, the parents of the future generations, the ones who we will want to take care of us when we are old and infirm, have to learn from the atrocities of the world and prevent it being repeated in the time to come. And I know that teaching my children right from wrong does involve discipline.