I Never Spanked My Children

by Marinka on June 6, 2009

I have never spanked my children and I’m so fucking proud.

My husband and I discussed it when I was pregnant. It’s weird, you know. You date, you go out and have martinis, you meet each other’s friends and eventually parents, you get pregnant and you find that you’ve never really discussed parenting choices.

What do you think about discipline, I asked him. Like spanking. You’d have thought that I asked him what he thought about launching our children into space for sport. “Spanking?” he asked and got quiet. “No spanking.” He didn’t grow up in a spanking household. His parents had been spanked, in a way that I am guessing most unindicted parents don’t spank these days and they broke that cycle right down. So to my husband, the idea of spanking was foreign. And repellent.

Lest there be any confusion: I don’t have particularly “easygoing kids”. They have acted out in public. They’ve had tantrums. They’ve thrown things, they’ve told me that I am the meanest mom, they’ve done things that are not safe and I have never spanked them. Nor do I think that I particularly excel at parenting. But I am proud that I believed in the no-spanking rule enough to live it.

There were times that I wanted to spank my kids. There were times when I wanted to tell them to shut the fuck up, just shut up and bend to my will. I haven’t done that, either, at least not out loud.

I’ve never spanked my kids because for me, it’s a parenting cop-out. I disagree with the “I am stronger than you are and I can hurt you” lesson that it sends. More than disagree with it, I hate it.

I’ve discussed this issue a lot with friends who grew up in spanking households and who feel that spanking taught them limits. Interestingly, none of them is spanking their own children.

So that is my official reasons. My secret reason is that I have a temper and I know it and I never wanted to test it with corporal punishment. I knew that you are not supposed to spank children when you are angry, and yet that was exactly when I’d want to spank. I bet that’s when most spank. Not when they’re calm and reflective and saying “this is hurting me more than it is you”. Because if your hand is hurting that much, then your kid’s rear is way too bony.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. We are entering my children’s birthday season. In the next month, they’ll turn 11 and 8. And I know that they have never been hit by their parents. Which is pretty awesome.

One year ago ...

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