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Even the laws struggle with the issues of Spankings.  Should you spank or not? Does it demoralize the child or is it a proper form of punishment?

One day my son informed me that he was going to call Children’s Aid on me
In shock, I asked him why he felt he wanted to do that, to which he replied, “the teachers told me that if parents punish us we can call Children’s Aid and get taken out of an abusive situation”.

Many different emotions were rolling around inside of me but it was pure frustration that won out. I picked up the phone, shoved it at him and told him “FINE if you want to call then call, but think about this; when they take you out of this house and put you into a foster home what makes you think you will be treated any better? Do you think they will love a perfect stranger as much as we love you? Will they give you the extras that we do or will they just buy you food and clothes?  Will they spend time with you developing your gifts and skills?  Will you be with your brother and sisters?”  What I was most infuriated with was that that the school system felt they had the right to imply that a parent couldn’t use discipline.

When my son stood up and hung up the phone instead of dialing, my frustration died.  I crumbled into the chair and almost cried at the absurdity of the situation. We ended up having a long discussion about what the school said and why? Then I proceeded to tell him how the ‘system’ worked, which the school conveniently left out.  Taking the time to explain that if he really felt the punishments I doled out were worse than going to a strangers home, then I would not ever want to stop him from doing so. He never again threatened to call.

This incident had become a defining moment for me
The punishment my son was willing to challenge me on was not a spanking, or anything physical, it was having a small privilege taken away. In my discussion with him that day I informed him that I would never allow him or any of my children to threaten me again.  If they felt my discipline was too harsh they had every right to leave, but the fact that he felt he could threaten a parent or anyone that has authority over him proved to me that the system had failed.

Our children have a right to know that they don’t have to stay in a home where they are being abused and I applaud the school system for letting children know this. However, if real abuse is happening the child probably won’t do anything about it out of terror. If anything, they would have just left the home and gone to where they felt it was safer. Anyone who has been in an abusive situation or seen it knows that for that child to have made a phone call or threaten the one abusing them would have just brought on more abuse.

So instead of just keeping an eye open for real abuse, the legal system is breaking down a family’s structure of the parent is the authority figure by stating that discipline equals abuse.  With the schools not being able to dole out any form of discipline and now parents not being allowed to discipline, our children are running amok in both the homes, schools and in public.  Our society is wondering why our children are not behaving.  We complain that this generation is the ‘entitled’ generation and we have no one to blame but ourselves.

I am a huge believer in positive words being spoken to our children. I don’t think we do it near enough to empower our children to be all they can be. Speaking words of encouragement should be an everyday occurrence with our children. We can reinforce good behaviour with positive reinforcement, but positive words alone with not teach children there are consequences for bad behaviour. The proof that we all, even adults, need a punishment at times is in our legal system; tickets for speeding or jail time for stealing. If we have punishments set up for adults, please explain to me why it is wrong to do so for our children?

It is very true that we need to protect our children from abuse, so I am not suggesting that we don’t stay alert.  Having a parent screaming at a child or ignoring a child is a much more emotional and damaging form of abuse and yet that seems to be going on all of the time. Nor do I think a spanking should consist of innumerable hits to any part of the body including the backside, as that is also abuse.

The problem is we have all misused the word so much we have watered down the meaning.  The dictionary uses words like, violent & harmful when describing abuse.  I do not think a swat or two on the behind fits into the category of violent or harmful.  Hitting them until they are bruised, not taking care of their physical everyday needs, ignoring them and/or screaming at them continually is violent and/or harmful.  When doling out corrections,  we do need to do is stay in control.  Never punish in anger, but have a clear, concise plan in mind if your child needs discipline and stick to what you say you will do. If you see a parent is not losing control but is disciplining their child, even if it is in a form you don’t believe is the proper way, let’s not be so quick to call officials as this parent is at least trying to do their job by bringing value and structure to their child’s life.

I am frustrated beyond belief that the extremists on either side of this fence have the power they do to affect our home life
We have come to the point where the question isn’t if I can spank, but if I can give any discipline at all.  Our children are our responsibility to teach and train, not society’s, but if we don’t have the guts to do so, when our children grow up and get out into the world they will suffer the consequences for not knowing how to act, how to behave, and how to respect those in authority over them and that will be our fault.

The proof to me that discipline is still extremely important came to me one day when my one daughter who is 24 and now a friend as well, sent me a text message on my birthday saying “Thank you mom, for not being the parent I wanted you to be when I was 13 years old.” When you love your child enough to discipline, they know that it is because you love them enough to care about them even though at the time they might not say it or even fully understand all the implications.  Don’t be bullied into doing any less for your child then loving them enough to teach them through both positive words and discipline.  It doesn’t have to be one or the other, it should be both.

Check out this video on how to “Shape the will, without destroying the Spirit”

Or this video on Discipline Vr Punishment Vr Correction

credit for the picture goes to:  http://www.safechildren.ca/ForParents/ParentingPrograms/PositiveDisciplineAgencies/tabid/1401/Default.aspx