View Full Version : Spanking isn't the issue or the focus

03-02-2006, 07:00 AM
I think it would be helpful to have a "sticky" in this forum about spanking. And about not spanking. Grace Based Discipline (or on my site, Effective Discipline) is not about spanking or not spanking. The presence or absence of spanking as a discipline tool does little in terms of being able to evaluate the quality of discipline in a home. The fact that a family spanks does not mean they have effective discipline. The absence of spanking in a home does not suggest the absence of discipline.

Spanking is not the issue. Not spanking is not the issue.

The issue is that children require a lot of time, attention, direction and guidance. They require this *regardless* of discipline choices. The further truth is that even if you include spanking (or other forms of punishment), you will need to include the tools of GBD in order to be an effective, good parent.

I'll say it again. The focus on *spanking* or *not spanking* misses the mark and obscures the real issue. GBD isn't about "not spanking". It's parenting in a manner that teaches, encourages, guides, corrects and assists children into maturity while helping them meet the family standard for behavior.

Here is a quote from my web page:

The purpose of this site (and the book that is in process) is to outline exactly how to execute and cultivate a home where Effective Practical Parenting is in place. Parents who use this style realize that discipline isn't merely a list of tools used; rather, it's a relationship, a lifestyle and a way of thinking about the nature of children and life with children.

Tools vary, often according to the personality of the child. Effective Practical Parenting is characterized by using proactive tools to create a positive family atmosphere and it utilizes kind and firm ways to enforce rules. EPP understands age appropriate behaviors and doesn't punish for them. Instead, a parent using EPP will stop the inappropriate behavior and teach an appropriate behavior in its place. An EPP family will work actively with their children to develop self control, while enforcing reasonable boundaries of behavior.

Effective Practical Parenting works. Because it is kind, respectful and firm, children are shown respect and are taught tools for managing their behavior. A parent partners with the child to teach them life skills and to help develop the habits of self control.

Let's be honest, and above all, practical. Quality discipline combines knowledge of age appropriate behaviors, reasonable standards, clear expectations, proactive discipline and consistency. Anything less is not effective discipline. Let's remove the "extremes" of how the discipline pendulum swings: from the heavily punitive parenting in which parents punish and fail to teach positively, to the pleading, requesting, passive parenting in which parents never establish or enforce rules of conduct.

In the middle is the parent who says "stop that" or "do this" and makes it happen. In the middle is the parent who looks at the toddler on the dining room table and removes them while also thinking "This child likes to climb. How can I make that happen safely?" That middle parent may or may not punish. But that (good) parent takes both a proactive approach and a responsive approach to the discipline challenges they face. That parent uses a bare minimum of physical punishment, if any, but lots of physical redirection in the younger years. Good parenting looks very similar, even if the parent uses punishment. If a good parent uses punishment, it's not often - not daily, or even weekly. However, that parent disciplines constantly.

Effective Practical Parenting ideas can be used in a home that also reserves punishment as an option. Although this approach is best utilized in the absence of punishment, it can be incorporated into the approach you currently use. As you practice EPP, I believe (and certainly expect) that you’ll see the “need” for punishment diminish or disappear entirely.

03-02-2006, 09:56 AM
Thank you for articulating this so clearly. :rockon

03-02-2006, 11:40 AM
:tu Thanks Joanne. I've been thinking about this! I was yelled at/scared a lot as a child, but looking back, my mom often used playfulness well, had a non-adversarial attitude, was proactive, and taught us a lot without threats or punishment. As my DS gets older I find myself drawing from the positive things she taught me (while working past the things I need to leave behind). It's opened my eyes to learning from all kinds of parents, even if I don't agree with everything they do.

03-02-2006, 08:15 PM
Well said. Thank you! :tu

02-05-2007, 08:25 PM
My computer has been down for 3 months and boy I have missed this board. Even though I have not posted alot I missed reading it and boy did I need to see this today.

02-05-2007, 08:29 PM
Very well said.

09-04-2007, 08:02 AM
:tu well said

09-04-2007, 01:26 PM
Thank you for saying that, Joanne! :tu