Tuesday, December 14, 2010

To spank or not to spank?

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that Jack wanted me to spank Ham's butt in response to being bitten. I am one of those people who let anyone on the planet comment on my blog without jumping through hoops and there have been a few times I have gotten odd responses from random people (probably machines). This one was from someone promoting a method of child discipline that is totally free of hitting of any kind and I'm sure they just periodically google search any family blog with the word spank on it and crank out a link to their anti-spanking literature. Which is actually fine with me. Any blogger lives for comments and I get very few so I'll take even hostile robotically generated ones.

Always a good sport, I took the time to read the anti-spanking literature. I'm not a big believer in spanking anyway. Even when I threaten to paddle a child's backside I am fully aware of the irony of punishing bad behavior with bad behavior. It made me give a lot of thought to the whole concept of the role of any kind of violence in problem solving or changing behavior and the more I thought about it I realized that I would probably feel a lot better about the overall quality of my mothering if hitting of any kind was totally eliminated as an option. The thing is, its the threat of being spanked that most of us rely on anyway so it wouldn't be a big jump for me to lay down the law and say Kramers Don't Hit Each Other Ever. Simple enough right?

So I sat down with Jack at what I thought was a reasonable moment and I said, " In the past Your dad and I have sometimes used spanking as a method to try and teach you to behave. Usually you get spanked because you have hurt someone or done something equally anti-social. I have realized that to try and get you to be less violent by using violence is wrong. So buddy, from now on there will be no more spanking from me. I will deal with misbehavior in a more appropriate way. "

So here I think I'm mother of the year for coming to this loving conclusion and then Jack freaks out. "Please don't stop spanking!"

Why in the world would a child want to keep the spanking going? I was perplexed.

In total exasperation he started going on and on about how now I'm probably going to make him spend hours in his room and give him long annoying lectures and he would much rather just get his butt whipped and be done with it!

I suggested that perhaps he commit to eliminate behaviors that merit any of those consequences and we will all live happily ever after.

"Common, mom. You know I'm going to attack Abe every now and then. Lets not make it take hours. Please just keep spanking me."

This kid blows my mind. I know for a fact that the real reason behind the argument is that his personality hates change of any kind and even positive policy updates create anxiety for him. He likes to know what can be expected, even if that involves corporal punishment. I told him that the good news is that I hadn't discussed it with Dad and I'm sure he will be more than happy to swat your backside every now and again if it makes you feel better. He was totally satisfied with that.

The reason there is no instruction manuals for raising children is that you would need a new manual for every child who ever existed. The curve balls keep it interesting and hilarious and oh-so-challenging.

Jack has a number of loose teeth these days but he has yet to lose one. I guess he is right on target since he is months from his seventh birthday, but it is somehow deeply sad for me to let those little baby teeth go. Like its totally out of my control. Also, I have invested so much effort into keeping those little teeth cavity free and then they just fall out and are gone forever. I guess if your kid was riddled with cavities it would be a great relief to get a do-over, but it just feels like a waste to me!

Speaking of growing up, Ham is not potty trained at all despite all of our valiant effort. Actually, not trained is not accurate terminology. He is very trained indeed. Just not to pee and poo on the toilet. In fact, he has taken to changing his own diaper. At first he was bringing us the clean diaper and giving us detailed verbal instructions on what he wanted done with it. We told him that a man who can command his own diaper change is surely capable of using a toilet. Then he began taking care of the changes himself. He removes the old diaper, throws it away, does some wiping, and then straps the new one on. Sometimes he even throws powder into the mix and there was one run in with Desitin that almost gave us a white Christmas. His obsession with independence will one day manifest itself with the proper use of the household plumbing facilities. Until then, I'm happy to buy diapers if he handles the rest.

1 comment:

Sinéad & Guillaume said...

hopefully may Benben will be changing himself in a couple of months too

Kramer Boys

Kramer Boys