Thursday, February 11, 2010


To spank or not to spank? That is the question I wrestle with about every few weeks. Now that Gabs is two, it seems like almost anything has the potential to turn into a power struggle. How do you get a, sometimes seemingly defiant, two-year to do what you are asking? It's very confusing, especially when, this same toddler, is generally extremely helpful and good-natured. The more I read on the subject, the more I realize that I don't want to adopt it as a parenting style. Then, there are moments when I think to myself, "if we did spank this would not be happening right now".

Part of the reason why it's so difficult to discipline her is that our babysitter (M) does no disciplining. As long as whatever Gabs wants is safe, the answer is yes. Now, M is an older lady, older than my mother. I guess she treats Gaby as many grandma's would, giving in to whatever the child wants. The problem is that at our home, things do not work that way. That's when the problems begin. She's used to having her way there and then is outraged that it does work at home. For most of the day, Gaby is the only child at the sitter's home, so this only adds to the level of spoiling that is taking place. Don't get me wrong, I love M! I am so grateful for her and how much she loves my daughter. I can leave Gabriella there every morning knowing that she is safe and well cared for. I know I don't have to worry about her being mistreated and neglected. Only now that Gaby is two did I really start to feel that the lack of discipline is an issue. I don't want her to be treated like the world revolves around her or that it is ok to be confrontational with everyone around her. This is especially important when she starts going to preschool and has to interact with many other children and adults.

Seriously though, I always feel bad complaining about my Gabs because she so great. I mean it! Ask anyone who's met her and they will tell you she is one of the best kids ever. She is pleasant to be around, has an awesome sense of humor, is extremely smart and "with it", and most of the time, is very cooperative. She is super independent and social, which I love! I guess that it's only right that we have these issues come up or she'd be perfect. Ok, enough bragging!

So, the latest book I am reading is "The Successful Child" by Dr. William Sears. Anyone who's read about parenting probably has heard of Dr. Sears and his wife Martha (a nurse). They have 8 children of their own (almost 30 years between the eldest and the youngest) and he has been in practice as a pediatrician for over 30 years. I think he and his wife have written on almost every aspect of parenting. The first time I heard of them was when my sister-in-law lent me her copy of "The Birth Book". It was life changing. Really. That's when I decided to not go for the epidural or anesthesia during labor, one of the decisions I am most proud of as a mother. After that I stayed away from their other publications because they are proponents of attachment parenting and at the time I was not prepared to even consider walking down that path.

Anyway, I picked up "The Vaccine Book" by his son (also a pediatrician) and finally decided to check out some of the family's other books. I borrowed The Successful Child" from my local library and am waiting for "The Discipline Book" to arrive so I can pick that one up as well.

What I love most about this book so far is how he talks about success is not being rich because that is not what makes people happy. "We believe it's the depth of relationships we sustain, not the accomplishments we tick off, that makes our lives successful and happy: the relationships children have with themselves, as well as the other lives they touch". I love it! Given that his two older sons are both doctors, it's safe to say that he is not going to give advice to raise underachievers. I also love how much emphasis he places on the importance of teaching kids empathy and compassion. These are things that you don't commonly find if "success" book that focus on me, me, me!


Anonymous said...

It's your choice to decide to start spanking or not, just my experience: my parents started to spank me at 2. As it worked well they used it to punish me but they had to do it harder as I got bigger. So they went to use belt and switch on bare bottoms and thighs 1 or 2 times every month. It really hurts (40-50 swats). I would suggest not to start cos it can get too hard.
Kristian 13

pri said...

Thank you so much for sharing! That is my fear. I feel that it is only temporary, easy-fix to whatever the problem may be. It can easily get out of hand. I was also spanked by my parents and can remember many times when it was too much and totally out of line.

Crissy K said...

Amen to that! Lol, I'm still afraid to get beat down by my mother. Goodness, especially what kills me is the feeling of impotency. When you are older you really have to fight that urge to hit back. I say it's ok to spank, but it needs to have special meaning. Not just anytime, but reserved for when needed most or worst behaviors. I noticed my cousin and sister in law threatening to lock them in the bathroom or time out in a corner. My niece is now 5 and my cousin's son is 4. That seems to work well enough with the cousin, niece not to much. Hitting needs to stop by 12 and other methods need to be explored.