In lieu of recent news featuring school shootings and potential gun law changes, I really wanted to give my thoughts on what we can do as parents, when we have no control over what the government decides. I saw a video on Facebook of an adult man, that expressed that when he was a teenager, he was almost a school shooter. The story ends well with him finding love and having a family of his own. But this man’s story made me confront the fact that as individual parents we have a responsibility to our children to love them as number one, but also to take the lead in molding them as people until they have the ability to decide for themselves what next steps they should take in life. It starts at a very early age and DISCIPLINE is an integral part of balanced parenting.
I was born in the 80’s. So it’s safe to say the ‘rod’ disciplined me. Times have changed. Exponentially! Discipline has been taken over by the children and the government. Now, parents will give their children a pill and sedate them to explain away their inappropriate immature behavior. Or parents will reason to themselves that they would rather be their child’s friend than for their child to be unsatisfied with them. I think the reason all of this has even come about is because as parents, we aren’t given an instruction manual on how to be well balanced loving parents that raise successful respectful children, that grow up and take care of their old parents. Nope, we’ve got to figure it out as we go. Secondly, we as adults have our own personal issues that spill over onto our children (i.e. your parent was abusive and would treat you inhumane, so you’ve decided to be the polar opposite). These complications along with other issues, that we’ll discuss, affect the way parents can successfully discipline and train our children. But is resolving to medicate our children the best option for easier management of our children?
My opinion definitely comes from a place of experience. My husband and I have two daughters ages 12 and 1½. We understand that the struggle is real. It’s especially become more difficult for us during these pre-teen years. I know this is a controversial topic! And you may also think, how can one parent tell another what they should do with their own children? Well, let me first say, I never presume to tell anyone what to do with his or her life in my blog. I just like to ask thought provoking questions that will stimulate the mind of the masses and give my OPINION from experience. I want to create a collective thought of Positivity in my community and amongst my peers. And our children are our proverbial future. That’s why I felt this was something I wanted to discuss with you guys. As always please comment with your thoughts and ideas about this below and lets use this village to raise these kids.
So, lets address the elephant in the room shall we? Are spankings ever ok? For me personally I don’t think a spanking is appropriate for all circumstances. I think the punishment should fit the crime. For instance: Say your teen has a phone curfew. They broke the curfew trying to speak on the phone to whomever after hours. Should they be spanked for this violation? I don’t think so! Maybe, at the most, take the phone for a while to help the child understand that having a phone is a privilege and comes with required responsibilities. But what about a 7 year old that yells and slaps mom? Uh oh, now it becomes more difficult to decide if the child needs a spanking. Some would say, “oh he definitely needs a spanking”. Others would say, “spanking him will harm the child emotionally and possibly he has a mental disorder that causes him to act so extremely”.
This is where it gets ridiculous to me. Let me just say that mental illness is a very real thing that afflicts people daily. Between depression, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, and the doctors and pharmaceutical companies trying to exploit them, can make life extremely complicated and difficult for the people suffering from these disorders. Being properly diagnosed is important. BUT using mental illness to excuse a child’s disobedience, disrespect, and immaturity is frankly ignorant and irresponsible in my opinion. Do your own research on mental disorders as I have done myself, before you improperly diagnose someone, child or otherwise.
I truly believe that with proper FIRM and CONSISTENT discipline along with having love and compassion for our children we can be successful in our efforts to raise them properly. We must be balanced parents. We cannot immediately act out of our anger and frustration. Take a second and brainstorm on what you should do next and how you should respond to get the most optimal result. Slapping the crap out of your out-of-control child in the grocery store is probably not the best first response, even if that’s what Bigmama would have done. I recommend leaving your cart and maybe asking a clerk to hold your basket for a moment and take your child to a restroom or to the car. Don’t just keep walking around the store like you don’t hear your child going nuts! Number 1 it tells the child that this behavior is acceptable and it tells the store patrons that you have no regard for their shopping experience. I truly believe that by establishing a healthy foundation mentally, emotionally, and intellectually in a young child equal a well-balanced human being. And when I say young, I mean as young as possible, perhaps at a year old. Each child has a different personality of course, so your approach must be tailored to that specific child’s needs. You can’t treat your 10 year old son the same as your 7 year old daughter. Get to know your children INTIMATELY! Just as your friends and loved ones must truly get to know you in order to know how to interact with you for optimal communication, it’s the same for our tiny humans. I know that my eldest daughter deeply covets her material possessions, so for her, I know that if I take her phone and TV, she’ll have nothing left to do but engage in other meaningful activities that I give her. Not only does this help her understand the consequences of her actions, it also gives me an opportunity to teach her how to do something constructive she wouldn’t otherwise engage in such as washing my car or cleaning out the oven. She may not enjoy doing it, but when she’s 21 and on her own, she’ll know how to perform those activities! Now for my 1 ½ year old, she’s too young to understand personal possessions or anything close to that. So when she is disrespectful or disobedient, she’ll get a tap on the butt, with redirection to something she can do alternatively, and then BOOM she typically doesn’t do it again.
By using discernment, being balanced, and CONSISTENT, we can develop well-balanced children. Am I saying doing these things will create perfect children? Absolutely not! Kids are still human, that’s where consistency becomes essential. Stick to the plan, then all of a sudden you’ll see your constant conditioning begin to manifest in your children. Sometimes a spanking is needed to reset your child from whatever programmed them to act inappropriately at that moment. I think spankings are more effective in children under 13. By establishing a chain of command and authority figures in the household, it creates a level of respect among the entire familial unit. If you allow your children to believe they have some type of authority over you when their behavior is good, what will make them respect your authority when they’re disobedient? Exactly! So, for young children under 13 they must be conditioned to respect your authority, so that as they get older they’ll continue that respect. Am I asking you to beat your children to get them to respect you? No, come on now, if you are a mentally stable parent (which I wrote an article about called “How are you really doing”, go check it out) you should be able to discern that using a closed fist or weapon on any human being is inhumane! And I say this because I know someone reading this will misconstrue my words. Listen, as I already stated a spanking isn’t always the proper punishment for bad behavior, nor do I feel, that all children need to be spanked. But I’m just going to be honest with you, if your child is falling out screaming, cussing and/or slapping adults in Wal-Mart, your child needs a SPANKING! So before you label your child as being mentally unstable or resolve that disrespect is appropriate behavior, have some patience and courage to condition your child to be a RESPECTFUL child, thus becoming a well-balanced respectful adult. Because let’s be honest a disrespectful child is likely going to be a disrespectful adult! If your child is a busy body that refuses to listen, it’s likely he doesn’t have ADHD, he probably needs a spanking to FOCUS his attention and then given a physical activity to HOLD his attention. AGAIN all children don’t need the spanking. Some kids, you can speak to them firmly and they hear you, they’ll obey.
LEARN WHAT YOUR CHILDREN’S NEED ARE. Discover their likes, dislikes, who their friends are. Having this knowledge helps to determine proper discipline.
Always regularly express love, affection, and compassion.
Give your child activities for them to stimulate their minds.
And most importantly, care for you own mental and emotional stability. Without that, yes you likely will mess your kids up mentally!! That’s my bit on discipline. Please comment below with your thoughts, agreements, disagreements, and recommendations.