Gentle Parenting Tools: Recognize Feelings

Over fifty percent of the many spankings I received as a child were because of feelings, emotions, or as my parents called it “attitude”. Initially I thought that emotions in general were bad, but as time went on I realized that the fact was that children’s emotions did not matter in my home. My parents could feel angry or tired or sad and no one spanked them, but children were not allowed to have feelings. As an adult, I now realize that telling someone not to feel is as ridiculous as telling them not to be hungry. I still feel all of the emotions I felt as a child, only now I am expected to communicate them for the first time. I often find myself in denial of my emotions, fortunately I … [Read more...]

Discipline without Fear

We were at the grocery store, and it wasn’t the greatest day for Ms Drama. She did not want to sit in the cart, she wanted to walk. So she spent the entire time in the store hanging over the side of the cart and whining about how everything was wrong with the world. When we finally got up to the check out counter, she dropped her sippy cup on the floor for the third time, and her daddy picked it up and said in a serious voice “If you drop the cup again, I will put it away in the diaper bag.” Ms Drama nodded and took the cup, and I was smiling to myself when I happened to notice a Mennonite family waiting in the next line. The five small children clustered silently around their mother. A … [Read more...]

Spanking and Trust

Recently Ms Drama had some dry skin patches on her lower back. One night I was rubbing some lotion on the dry spots for her and without warning she flopped onto my lap, lying over my knees, her body completely relaxed. My instant reaction was shock, and after a moment I realized why.**************I remember being 9 or 10 and asking my mom for help with my clothes. The zipper on the back of my dress was stuck and I couldn’t reach it with enough strength to pull it open. It proved difficult for my mom too, and when she couldn’t get it open she asked me to bend over so she could see what she was doing better. My body couldn’t do it. I heard what she was asking me to do, and my head told my … [Read more...]

Escaping the corporal punishment mentality

Early in childhood I thought everyone spanked their kids. I was spanked for disobedience, laziness, backtalk, bad attitude. I was used to it. I was not spanked every day, probably several times in any given week. But with all the kids in my family, multiple spankings were given out every day in my home. When I was in charge I was taught to spank my siblings for disobedience, to maintain control. When I was a "mothers helper" at age ten for a woman having a tough pregnancy, I watched her kids all day while she directed from the couch. Her seven year old son talked back at some point during the day and I remember his mother writing it down to tell his father. When his father got home from … [Read more...]

I Quit Spanking

We stopped spanking a year ago this month. And I would never go back. I had read the Christian parenting books like "To train up a Child" and "Raising Godly Tomatoes" and tried to the best of my ability to follow what they taught. I spanked consistently. I tried to stay cool calm and collected, and to not spank in anger. I used a wooden spoon so my kids would not associate my hands with pain, and I was careful to limit my swats and never leave a mark on my children. It didn’t work. And looking back I can hardly believe that I fell for the reasoning for spanking when I grew up being spanked myself, and I remember how it made me feel. I can hardly believe the things that I u … [Read more...]

What to do when you don’t spank?

When I learned that discipline was not punishment, it was very difficult to reprogram my thinking. My first instinct is still to punish, and though I've been doing well in not spanking lately, I am still tempted to do the same thing I always did, just replacing the spanking with some other knee-jerk reactive punishment. I cannot believe what a habit this had become. So while "What do do when you don't spank" may seem like a silly question, it was a very perplexing one for me. These are the new ways I've discovered discipline in the last 6 months. Pardon me if some of them seem kind of obvious, I'm just trying to be honest about what I've learned. Also keep in mind that all my children are … [Read more...]