June 20, 2007
It breaks my heart that so many Christian parents believe that they have to spank their children so very often. So many believe they have to break their child's will, that they must have first-time happy obedience at just about any cost. So many believe that discipline = spanking, so if you hear them say they needed to "discipline" their child, you know they meant spank.
But I want to know why?! Children are not animals who need to be broken. Not to mention that using harsh ways of training animals is not good or healthy for animals either. The fact is, there are so many ways to discipline our children -- there are so many ways to help children learn.
They can learn without spanking. They can learn without being purposefully hurt in any way. Pain is not necessary for someone to learn something. We adults learn things *all the time* without having pain associated with it. If you watch, you'll notice that your children do, too. There are times when each of us learns from painful situations via natural consequences, but life has so much pain in it already, why add to that on purpose when it's fully unnecessary?
We all make mistakes. I yell at my kids sometimes. I say mean things sometimes. I'm *no better* than any other parent. When I say that children don't need to have us do something to them that is purposefully painful in order for them to learn, I'm talking to myself as well. Sadly, hurtful words can be even more harmful than a quick spank.
But being hurtful in word or deed is wrong. It does not express the love we as Christians must show to others, including our children. When we make mistakes we must ask God's forgiveness and seek His help to change, apologize to our children, make amends, and move on. Our children need to know that mamas make mistakes, too, and we are all humans beings in need of God's grace.Main
March 17, 2007
Is spanking necessary or beneficial in "danger" situations?
I started writing this awhile back and never finished. I'm going to go ahead and post it anyway.
Protecting our little ones from dangerous situation can be quite a big job. They don't understand the dangers, and, encouraged by their natural curiosity, they love to explore and experiment.
Helping our children learn to be safe is one of the most important things we have as a parent. It can be difficult to know how best to respond when our children do, or want to do, something dangerous. Some people our of desperation or obligation feel they need to spank their children to help teach them to be safe.
Spanking is unneccessary, though, and furthermore is it not beneficial in danger situations -- there is nothing good that it teaches that can not be taught better by using gentle discipline.
Here are some links to helpful threads on the GCM message board:
excerpted from the article To Spank or Not to Spank? by Elizabeth Pantley
". . . I’ve read several articles that address the issue of spanking where the writer says it’s okay to spank if the child is in danger - for instance, if a toddler is running into the street, or reaching out to touch a hot burner on the stove. They suggest that at these times a few pops on the rear end are okay. I must admit this naïve mindset baffles me. Why in the world would we want to teach our children about safety by hurting them? Does you ski instructor jab you with his ski pole to teach you not to jump off the chairlift?
"A parent who believes that spanking is the only effective way to teach a young child about safety issues is not giving the child enough credit. Children - even little ones - can indeed learn about safety through our teaching them. As a matter of fact, through teaching they will learn much more, as they can absorb the reason for the rule, and over time, can learn to make good decisions on their own. I watched two friends one summer teach their toddlers not to run in the street Mom A give her toddler a swat on the rear every time he went in to the street. Mom B picked up her toddler, looked him in the eye, and said, 'NO street! Dangerous. Stay by Mommy.' By the end of the summer, both children learned to stay out of the street. Which child understood why? And which child has better communication with his mother?"
Excerpted from DANGER DISCIPLINE on the askdrsears.com website
". . . as we learned more about discipline, we realized there are better ways than spanking to handle even danger discipline. We realized toddlers don't remember from one time to the next, even with the 'physical impression.'"
"Any 'danger' situation still requires constant adult supervision—no amount of spanking will danger-proof a child when the adult is not there to administer the blows. Any after-the-fact hitting will just be confusing—he won't know why he's being hit. Your job as a disciplinarian is to keep your child away from situations in which his ignorance or impulsiveness could get him into real danger."
October 25, 2005
EPOCH - SpankOut Day
Each year on April 30th, EPOCH (End Punishment of Children) has SpankOut Day. Here is how their website describes it:
SpankOut Day USA was initiated in 1998 to give widespread attention to the need to end corporal punishment of children and to promote non-violent ways of teaching children appropriate behavior. EPOCH-USA (End Physical Punishment of Children) sponsors SpankOut Day USA on April 30th of each year. All parents, guardians, and caregivers are encouraged to refrain from hitting children on this day, and to seek alternative methods of discipline through programs available in community agencies, churches and schools.
Last April my older two children each drew and painted a picture for a contest put on by EPOCH-USA for SpankOut Day. They drew their pictures in response to how they felt spanking and yelling make kids feel. Their pictures are below (these are digital photographs taken of the originals, so I apologize the picture quality is not better). . .
by my dd, age 9
by my ds, age 6
They didn't "win" the contest, but they were each given a book and a certificate of participation. The book they were given is the board book called "Hands are Not for Hitting" by Martine Agassi. It's a sweet book that explains that hands are not for hitting and shares many things that we do with our hands.
There are six months until the next SpankOut Day, but I'll try and remember to remind you when it gets closer. ;) And I encourage you to check out EPOCH's website in the meantime, and now is always a good time to take the "SpankOut Day" challenge.
I don't agree with everything on their website, but they have some helpful information, and they have such kind and loving hearts towards children and parents. Here are a couple helpful links from their site:Main
October 22, 2005
Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child?
It always makes me when I hear people talk about how the Bible says "Spare the rod, and spoil the child." It seems to be a common belief that the Bible says that, both amongst those who believe in spanking, and those who don't. Sometimes those who believe in spanking warn about the dangers of "sparing the rod and spoiling the child." And I once read in an article about the dangers of spanking something about King Solomon having it all wrong because he taught that (spare the rod, spoil the child).
First off, I doubt you'll not get many evangelical Christians to question the need to spank or rightness of spanking by getting down on Solomon, because the whole Bible, including Proverbs, is the inspired Word of God. And second of all, in truth, that phrase is not even in the Bible. *shrug*
BTW, here is a picture of a rod, or "shebet."
Can you imagine hitting your child with it? I don't think any of us could. The rod is a symbol of authority. We use our authority to guide and protect our children, just as a shepherd uses his rod to care for his sheep. As it says in Psalm 23, "Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me." To "spare the rod" truly would be to lay aside our authority, and to not take care of our children -- to not guide and protect. And that is very dangerous and wrong, indeed.
For more information please also see:
The Rod or Shebet: An Indepth Examination by Joan RenaeMain
October 21, 2005
About Children Sitting Through the Church Service
Some churches (though not many Protestant ones, it seems!) encourage parents to have their children stay in the church service with them. Rather than taking them to nursery or "children's church," the family worships together.
The idea sounds like a really wonderful thing. In fact it's what our family does. One of the concerns, though, is that it can be highly stressful for both parents and their children when their children are still learning to sit in the service.
For those who have been led down this path, I know it can be all too easy to want your child to learn *now*. Sometimes we bring that pressure upon ourselves by comparing our kids to other children. "Look at ____'s children! They sit through the service and are so quiet and good!" Sometimes we feel an urgent need to have them learn quickly because we are afraid what others will think about us and our parenting style. Sometimes we worry that we are distracting others from hearing the sermon. Sometimes we simply want to sit and listen to the sermon ourselves!
The fact is, though, that sometimes it takes awhile, and that is okay. Every child is different. Some children actually easily sit through the service early on, but others find it to be a real struggle to learn.
Jesus said, "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 9:17 NASB). Little children are loved dearly by God, and it's good to bring them to Him and to worship Him, but we should keep in mind that it's our job as parents to come alongside and guide them and teach them and help them learn in ways that will help nurture their trust and love in God our Father, our Abba Daddy.
When considering how to teach our little ones, let's consider not only the "effectiveness," but also what the other end results of our methods might be. We don't want our children who find it hard to learn to be fearful of Him! We don't want them to associate church with being hit by us.
I understand the pressure, I do! I've experienced the anxiety it can bring. But I encourage parents to try other methods of teaching their little ones about worshipping God together as a family. There are other effective, and kind and gentle, ways. And I encourage you to lay your anxiety at Jesus' feet. And even though you may miss out on some of the sermon (consider getting a tape of the sermon if possible!), when you are ministering to your children, you are doing a good thing. You are worshipping Jesus through your actions. You are showing Him love and honoring Him by taking care of the little ones He has entrusted into your care. His grace is abounding, and He will meet your needs.
I'll save going into possible ways to teach them for another day. And hopefully another one of our writers here will be writing a blog entry on this soon.Main
August 04, 2005
How Do You Explain Spanking?...
How do you explain spanking to a child who has never been spanked and who has never seen another child being spanked?
My four year old daughter had just taken her bath tonight, and she came into the room with blackberry juice all over her little hands. She walked over to me and sweetly told me she was being very careful not to get her shirt dirty.
I gave a startled look at her messy hands and reminded her she wasn't supposed to eat berries after she took her bath, and I quickly got up and asked her to wash herself off.
My mother was visiting here tonight, so she helped her granddaughter wash her hands off at the kitchen sink. While my mom washed her, she told her that her mother (my grandma) also had made rules about what her and her siblings could do after they took their bath. She explained that one rule was that they weren't allowed to go outside and play after their baths.
She shared the story about the time when she was a little girl, and she remembered her and her four other siblings following their brother outside and playing. It was the only time she remembers being spanked by her mother.
Their mother got a switch (and what is that? -- a small branch from a tree), and she spanked each of them on their bottom as they went through the door coming inside.
But it dawned on me, would my little girl know what a spanking is? When asked she said she did not. My mom explained that it was when a parent spanks their child to help teach them. But still, then, what is a spank? It's when they hit their child in order to help teach them something (one reason among others).
My daughter didn't really respond other than to say, "Oh," so I'm not sure what she really thought or if she really understood. My son explained that mama would not spank her. Praise God for His grace. Praise God for gently teaching me that I do not have to spank/hit -- that I should not spank/hit -- my children in order to help them learn, or for any other reason.