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I Would Rather I Hadn't Smacked My Children
How to Discipline Children
Member Name: lak11
How to Discipline Children
Date: 08/11/10, updated on 10/07/12 (150 review reads)
Advantages: Some form of discipline is needed.
Disadvantages: Smacking isn't usually the best option.
I have chosen to air my views on disciplining children and mainly wish to discuss, 'to smack or not to smack.'
I am mother to four grown up children. They are aged from seventeen up to twenty eight and, so sensibly, I certainly wouldn't smack any of them now! But I admit that in the past, on many occasions I did. By many occasions I don't mean that I was always smacking them but, over the years of bringing up four children there are lots of times when if one does smack then one there wil be lots of times to smack! I hope that mine had far more kisses and cuddles and fun times.
In fact, I like to think that my children were well behaved, especially when taken out, and weren't often particularly naughty. They probably were more trouble indoors when feeling confident and rebellious, at times. They would over step the mark and refuse to do as told. They were always good at school.
I would always try to use what I think is referred to as reverse psychology. I would give a choice such as' will you tidy up your toys now or would you like to have a drink first?' I found this often worked. Or saying things such as, 'Which job would you prefer- collecting up your toys or clearing up the pens from the table?' They usually just thought of which option they preferred but, never considered not doing either.
I have always believed in rewards and we even had a sticker system once when, if they were especially good they would receive a small gift at the end of the month. You may think this is not a good idea as children should expect to behave well and not be rewarded by for this, but it did seem to bring out some really nice behaviour. Then it was fun then to take them to Woolworths to choose their reward. I would still do this if I had those years back.
I also found that it is much more effective to praise a child when they have been good rather than make a big fuss over wrong doings. After all, which event would you rather they remembered?
But they were mostly good. I suppose the naughty things were more getting them to go to bed on time, or just the fact that when you have four kids of school age there is a lot going on and sometimes things become too difficult. For instance it becomes very stressful if the baby has been screaming for hours and eventually goes off to sleep and then one of its siblings starts making a noise when told its bedtime. One can get more annoyed when there is more than one child to deal with.
One of mine though would not be sent to his room. I always think this is the best way to deal with behaviour issues-separate yourself and the child so that you can both calm down. However he would not stay in his room and used to lean over the bannister calling and doing his best to wind me up. I realise now he just didn't like to be alone and would rather face my wrath than his solitariness. His elder sister would have probably been naughty just so she could be sent to her room and have time alone to play or read. But she never missed a trick!
I often think that if I had only had the one child, it would have not been smacked, or the occasions would have been very few. I honestly believe that. Although every time a new baby joins the family the love just gets shared around, the stress can increase at certain times, such as bed time or trying to get out somewhere. But believe me, I loved having four children, and if it had been only my decision I might have had two more! I did feel somewhat environmentally unfriendly when increasing my family after having had two though. I had a six and a half year gap between child number two and three which, in many ways makes life easier because the older two were great with their young siblings but difficulties can arise because of the different ages and the things they will want to do.
But it's all swings and roundabouts; when I now see young mothers with three or more children close in age I think they certainly have their hands full. But in some ways its easier to have your family close together in other ways not so good.
It's very difficult now for young parents when their children are acting up, especially in places such as supermarkets or on public transport. There is always someone saying that the child needs a smack, and if the child is smacked, others remarking on the brutality of smacking! It is hard, especially when young, to stick to your beliefs and have faith in your parenting skills.
I can still remember my mother giving me a clump. One time sticks in my mind when we were out, walking alone to do some shopping. I must have been around twelve or thirteen and answered back, or something. As she wacked me her wedding ring caught me. But it wasn't the pain that hurt so much as the awful feeling of humiliation it brought. My mum had been brought up in a time when it was natural to smack a child. She was a great mum, but at that time if anyone had said you shouldn't be allowed to smack your child most parents would have been incredulous and thought the speaker an alien.
So, I never intended to smack my own children (or anyone else's). I imagined being a lovely earth mother who always reasoned, spoke calmly and explained patiently. But real life for most of us isn't like that. However much we love our children parenting can be difficult something learnt as we go. Also, as a mother of four I am insistent that children can all be brought up in the same fashion but be very different. What works on one will not work so well on another.
There is one time with my third when I smacked him and it was premeditated and carried out wholly as a deterrent, but not in anger. I had collected him from playgroup. He was just four then. I was holding his baby sister and his paintings. Our house was opposite the playgroup in a very quiet, private road, which had very little traffic. However, this gave many, even much older children, a false sense of security. When playgroup and church events took place in the church hall opposite, the traffic increased greatly. My third child was the sort of boy who usually thought about everything before he did it, and was especially well behaved. He wouldn't wander off, or do anything dangerous, but one can never be too sure. At this time, excitedly leaving the playgroup building with his friend, a more mischievous type, he darted across the road, following his friend, before I had his hand. Luckily there wasn't a car that near but he wouldn't have known if there was. This was so out of character for him. We entered the house and I smacked him, telling him why. I still don't think this was particularly good parenting, but even at the time, I was aware of that, but just felt that I had to reinforce upon him the importance of road safety, which he had seemed to know, and if a smack helped in any way at all then I would do it.
So should smacking be made illegal? In my opinion, No! Although I don't personally believe it works, most of the time there are occasions when a short sharp slap might possibly work as it will be remembered. Although I think these occasions are very rare, that's just my own thoughts, and I may be wrong. I believe parents should be advised that smacking probably isn't the best form of discipline; I don't think they should be taken to court for a small slap. Smacking, of course should never be hard enough to mark the child or traumatise it.
I know that when I smacked my children it was usually because I had simply had enough of their bad behaviour and was at a loss as to what to do next. I might have stopped the naughtiness at the time but wouldn't have been a cure. What's worse though, is that most children know when they have wound a parent up so much that a smack happens, but they will still do the same thing again. The only time I think that smacking a child will stop bad behaviour is if the smack is so hard that the child is frightened of the one administering the punishment, and wouldn't dare act up in he or she's presence in case of a repeat. But this cannot be right, surely?
Whatever your views this is a difficult matter and I feel sure that the majority of parents always do their best. We aren't trained to be parents, yet it is such an important job. I believe It is for each and every one of us to decide, within reason, what is best for our own family.
Summary: Parenting isn't an easy job.