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The Parenting Meme from Hell

Amy at Memories and Musings wrote a really wonderful post in response to what has to be the hardest Meme in history. Then she did the unthinkable, she tagged me for it. Me. Has this woman read my stuff? Does she know me? Serious is not my schtick. But I am unbelievably flattered that she thinks enough of me to tag me for this and wants my opinion. I have been so busy was abducted am a big fat procrastinator and really didn’t quite know how to tackle this and follow in her and others’ eloquent blogsteps. I’m still a relatively new mom and still wading my way through this insane thing called parenthood.

I am forewarning you all now. This is a controversial topic: To Spank or not To Spank.
I have seen some pretty brutal things said to others online as a result of this topic.
I am not an expert. I am a mom. I am human. I am trying my best to be the best that I can.
What follows is my current standing and opinion and belief on discipline, what I believe/feel/apply may be different tomorrow as a result of something I read, see, experience. This is life.
All of the following is what I have tried and/or experienced with the now 4 year old. Monkey is 1 and discipline only involves removing him from the situation and telling him No. That’s it. Let’s be clear on that one now.
“Spare The Rod, Spoil The Child” You’ve heard it, we’ve all heard it. Seriously, one of the biggest debates in parenting history.
I have read one, Yes ONE parenting book from cover to cover. Making Children Mind without Losing Yours by Dr. Kevin Leman. Why you ask? Because most of them I found to be obnoxious patronizing drivel. But that’s just me. This one, common sense, straightforward, real world, actual parent advice. I adore this book.
He is all about reality discipline: Key word there reality the words he pays attention to: obey, authority and loving discipline.. how can you go wrong? He also focuses on the fact that what works for one, does not work for all.
I am not going to cite his book. I am going to be concise.
I do not like spanking. I have been known to spank on occasion. For example.. when the 4 year old thought it would be neat to hang the 1 year old over the side of her bed by his leg and drop him on his head. Yes, she got a spanking and a loooooong talking to.
I try to use every opportunity as a teaching moment, I try to keep my calm, I try to never act out of anger, but let us be real here.. I am human. I lose my temper, I do things I regret. I try to employ the minute per year timeout method. (1 minute in time out for every year of their age) Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. If she misbehaves and gets 3 warnings, after the 3rd warning we’re done. We leave whatever activity we’re at, she loses whatever privilege we are currently enjoying etc… I have left full carts of groceries in the middle of the store because she’s pitchin’ a hissy (yes, I tell someone that we’ve left and where the cart is), I have left restaurants and sat in the car with her in silence, her in tears, while everyone else finishes their meal. After every discipline, be it timeout, spanking, leaving an activity, losing a toy as punishment.. whatever, we talk. I sit her down and talk about why: what she did that deserved discipline, why that discipline was chosen, what is wrong, consequences, actions… you get the idea. I do not like to spank her, nor does my husband. It is rare that she gets a spanking but I truly believe that sometimes that is all that is sufficient or point making enough.
Usually there is just talking, a lot of talking. Expressing our emotions, feelings beliefs and philosophies, on both sides, ours and hers.

I hope some of this makes sense. I have learned a lot from reading other moms’ opinions and points, I do read parenting books, but usually I skim them because they just don’t grab me. This one, it’s amazing. I was struck by it and I felt a connection when I read it. It helps me and grounds me. I may need a new copy because mine is so highlighted and dog eared.

I am going to tag a few people whose opinions I am truly interested in because I respect them, there are many more I respect so don’t feel slighted if you aren’t chosen. just take a deep sigh of relief understand I couldn’t tag everyone. If you are tagged feel free not to do it, I will understand:

Courtney at The Only Thing I know
Alli at Mrs. Fussypants
Roxy at The Gun Chick
Casey at Moosh in Indy
Kellan at On the Upside

I truly, wholeheartedly and sincerely hope that you take the time to visit the other moms who have accepted this challenge. You may read something that touches you, angers you, disgusts you or that you agree with… but as parents we owe ourselves and our children nothing less than our best. How can you go wrong by researching, listening and learning?

This is the hardest post that I have written. I offer a different opinion then those who have come before me. Do me a favor, leave me a comment. If you agree with any of what I say, support me. If you disagree, I want to know what you do that works better. Here are the opinions of those who have written on this subject before me.
Miche does not spare the rod.
Jo-N wants to be her children’s best friend.
Tot’s Mom spares the rod and believes in patience.
Huckdoll spares the rod and believes there are more effective yet gentle ways to discipline than spanking.
OhMommy has spanked and never will again.
Amy spanks when necessary.
Rachel doesn’t like spanking, but believes in Reality Discipline.

Oh yes.. here are the rules (and we all know I don’t do rules)

1. Go to your blog.
2. Post about the topic.
3. Give me the hot, hard, and heavy linky love
4. Copy the last paragraph above and add your name and discipline style.
5. Post that paragraph onto your blog, including links. (Yeah, you will want to sharpen a pencil and stab it in your eye at this point. But, isn’t that half the fun.)
6. Go to the five, four, zero five people you have tagged and leave them a comment to know they are now, it.
7. Sit back and let the comments roll in.

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  1. I think you have a pretty good take on things. I’d agree with most, if not all, of what you said.

    Now I have to go buy that book.

  2. Thank you so much andreanna 🙂 Glad to see you again.
    It is an amazing book, IMO.
    Let me know what you think.

  3. you parent the way i do. if i have to spank…i do it, without ANY hesitation or guilt! if my child is going to run out into the street…i’d rather him/her have a red, throbbing handprint on their bottoms than tire marks that flattened their heads…know what i mean?! i do the time outs, one minute per year old. my older kids, i take away privileges like electronic or play dates. as long as i am consistent, they get the point as to what is right and wrong. they may be obnoxious, my children but, they are good kids who know how to behave appropriately. they, on the most part, have guilt when they do something wrong. but, i believe firmly…you have to be consistent in whichever way you chose to discipline. but…there has to be ramifications for negative behavior of any sort…there must be! otherwise, we will have a wild bunch of animals, for the next generation.
    i think that this is, by far, the most awful meme…but, it’s interesting, the answers!

  4. SSS ~ yes, except I do hesitate. I think very seriously before I spank. It must be a major thing for me, or him, to spank, and there is almost certainly guilt to follow. The old parenting adage holds true… “it will hurt me, more than you”

    Now, let’s see who reads the comments shall we. 🙂

  5. Hey Chickie…you found out my little secret I’ve been working on…I think we’ll be up and running Jan 3. Thanks for checking it out! Did you like my little design blog?

  6. I don’t do memes.
    But this one is good.
    I’ll file it away.
    I’ll just give you the short and sweet, I am not a spanker.

  7. I think we are pretty much on the same page. Maddie always gets a warning, and always knows what she did to get the spanking. The only time she doesn’t get a spanking, is if it involves her safety. I agree with suchsimplepleasures about that. Better a spanking from me, than a trip to the ER. Have a great new year!

  8. Karen at The Rocking Pony tagged me for this meme as well – and I have yet to do it! I will add you to the list of people that want me to answer this meme – when/if I ever get around to it – and I will when I work up the energy to do it (it’s not an easy one, is it?). I agree with everything you said – I really couldn’t have said it better. I think all kids are different and it does take different approaches with different children – but you seem to be doing a great job and have the right ideas about how to effectively raise your children in a loving home. Thanks for thinking of me – I will try to get to this meme soon. See you later. Kellan

  9. You are so brave to take on this topic. I have seen women at a message board I belong to be absolutely crucified for their opinions on spanking. I’ll definitely check out the book you recommended because I love reading up on stuff like that. And I’m with you…when a spanking is necessary, that’s what EB gets. Why some people think spanking means beating is beyond me. *sigh*

  10. I agree with what you say…I am halfway between you and Such Simple Pleasures. I look at what has been done that is against the rules and take action based on which child did it and what it is they have done.
    Most of the time its a time out 1 minute per year of age.
    There are times when I do spank. I would much rather spank my child than have him run into the road and get hurt. If someone is danger because of one’s actions…they get a spanking. Running around the house driving me insane..time out.
    I don’t hesitate before I do spank. I talk to them afterwards like you do. And there are times when I walk away with guilt and times when I don’t. Hense half way!

  11. Thanks for all of y’all’s wonderful input.
    Casey, I totally understand 🙂 Thanks for even that much participation.

  12. Interesting topic as right now my state is trying to make it illegal to spank. I have a couple of thoughts on the subject based only on my personal experiences.
    1. The few times I have spanked (one or two spanks to the bottom)one of my girls it was always done as a reaction and when I calmed down I felt terrible. I also feel like it didn’t teach anything- except maybe it’s ok to hit when you angry/frustrated. which is not what I want my girls to learn. The real lesson always comes after we all have taken space (time out, whatever you want to call it) and can talk about why whatever they did is not okay.
    2. I grew up in a home in ewhich I witnessed domestic violence. VIOLENCE. I always swore I would never let a man touch me. I am a huge advocate for helping end domestic violence. How than can I justify spanking? Would it be okay for my husband to “spank” me if I did something wrong? (Let’s face it we all make mistakes) I would say no without thinking twice, so why is it different for adults/children?
    So to sum it up in my heart I know I will not use spanking as discipline. I believe there are more effective ways to help your child become the person you hope they will be.
    Thanks for taking on this topic and provoking some thinking and talking!

  13. Mommy~ thank you so much for weighing in with your views. We almost never spank out of anger. We try to always take some parent time outs before disciplining. I do not believe in hitting/spanking/swatting etc… out of anger. I think it’s damaging to both the parent and the child. I can see how coming from a violent background can absolutely have an impact on your views on this. Thank you so much for sharing them. I am absolutely all for ending domestic violence. I have often thought it odd that a parent would spank their child and tell them “no hitting” when their child hit someone else.. irony much? Thank you again!

  14. I confess, I have been known to spank a tush or two, a few were adult tushes even…LOL

    You are very brave to take on this topic, who knew it was such a hot issue for so many….

    Much Love sweetie!!

  15. this is my feelings..

    spanking is a good tool when nessacary..

    As a kid I got spanked on the rear end when I did some stupid shit ..

    I rarely spank mine, threats work much better with my tards;)

  16. Mommy cracked brings up a good point, why do some people automatically think spanking=beating. I don’t think they do. I think it’s because how do we draw the line? How do we protect kids with out a definitive line. I think that is why my state is pushing a no spanking law. Not so much to be in every one’s living room so to speak but to have back up when there is aquestion of abuse but say no broken bones to prove it. To protect children repeatedly “spanked” frequently and with force but with no closed fists to make it a “beating”.

  17. It was the hardest post for me to write too. Meme from hell, is right.

    Thanks for being so honest. I agree with you. We are human. 🙂

  18. Nice post. I don’t agree with spanking (although we don’t actually do that here, or at least we don’t use the term spanking) and I have never hit my children. Granted, they’re only small, my oldest is three but even when they get older I won’t be raising a hand to them. I have never seen a parent hit a child except in anger and I do not want my child to be scared of me, nor do I want to introduce violence into their life by any means. I have no right telling them not to hit each other if I hit them when they do something I don’t agree with.

    As a child I was frequently beaten and told it was out of love. That’s bull. I grew up to be an aggressive teenager and my first reaction to any situation was to throw a punch. It took me a long time to understand that people don’t behave that way in normal situations but that was all I knew. I don’t want my children to relate to that at all. I know people that smack their children and it doesn’t work for them, but they don’t have the patience to think of another way.

    My three year old is very polite and well behaved (for the most part), I can bring him anywhere (except to see Santy but that dude was scary looking) and he has never been smacked by anyone. What I’m doing must be working so far. If it stops, I’ll try another way but it will never involve a raised hand.

    Sorry for the longarse comment!

  19. clairec23: Thank you so much. Long comments are encouraged on posts such as this, or really anytime.
    I’m sorry for your history.
    My children are exceedingly polite and well behaved. I always get compliments on their manners and behavior (the 4 year old, not so much the 1 year old).
    I have seen spanking in anger in action and I know that it doesn’t have good results and I don’t think it’s effective except to create animosity between parent and child.
    On the rare occasion that a ‘swatting’ occurs it is followed by a long conversation and hugs and kisses. I don’t think the way we do it could ever be considered abuse, hitting or mistreating. Our reality discipline works for us, but it may not work for everyone. I appreciate everyone’s viewpoints on this hotbutton topic, as well as the mature ways they’re expressing themselves.
    Thank you so much everyone.

  20. I have spanked, but I’ve also learned other disciplines that work specifically with each child. I can’t remember the last time I spanked one of them, but I would again if I felt the situation warranted it. My rules for spanking are:

    1. The child has endangered his or someone else’s safety, in that an emergency room visit could be in the works. Or has shown blatant disregard for authority. Like seriously.

    2. I CANNOT be angry.

    I have a long story as an example, but I’ll spare you!

  21. Interesting post! I love reading about other’s discipline approaches. I was tagged a while ago for this meme, but have been putting it off for a while. Now that things are back to normal, I think I will have to sit down and try to figure out exactly WHAT my approach is. Sometimes I am not quite sure!

    Have a great new year!!!

  22. This was very well written Rachel!

    We are all human and we all need our different ways to help us cope. Anyone who judges isn’t worthy of your time.

    I slapped my daughter once. I Was Devastated. She cried. I was in hysterics.

    I swore I would never hit her again, but some days I just want to put her through a wall. I don’t, obviously, if one slap sent me to shivers…but there are days.

    Anyone who doesn’t admit that is lying.

    And yes, I would spank/slap her again if necessary. If she was in severe need for a wake up..I’d do it again. I guess my patience and threshold for putting up with tantrums and talking back is greater than I thought.

    And if anyone does spank or not, it’s not my job to criticize or praise.

    We all do what we can.

    Again. I may have babbled. But your post deserves a true answer!

  23. I am so glad that both of my children at passed the age where this is even an option. Did I spank when they were younger, yes, but usually it was to prevent harm to them (popping a hand that kept getting too close to a hot stove) or them from inflicting harm on another child (biting). Most everything else was handled with a “time out” or loss of privileges.

  24. Oh, a very controversial topic. Here is my view:
    We spank for defiant attitudes and direct disobedience. I first discuss with my 5 year old what he has done wrong and try to help him to understand why it is wrong. I then ask him what he should have done. I tell him how many swats he will get (that shows self-control on my part and he will know exactly what is going to happen). I do it in private because I don’t want to add humiliation to it for him. After our talk and he sees why what he did was not pleasing to me or to God, he is spanked. I follow it with hugs and love, he needs to know that I forgive him for what he did and that I love him unconditionally. I am trying to train his heart. Do I get angry and raise my voice sometimes? yes, I get tired and frustrated. But, I try really hard to train and discipline with methods that originate from Scripture. Some days I feel like I failed, but I am trying! The Park Wife

  25. Rachel, first brave post. I will venture off and read the others and the comments left on theirs. I can say that I spanked once, won’t do it again BUT! I am a fan of the ear twist into the corner. I let the temper tantrum run the course and then I speak to him. I do not let him run me over though, because that is when I lose at parenting. He always needs to know who is in charge. And I have to agree that this is a pretty awful meme.

  26. I have only one child who now has four children. I looked after other people’s children for many years while they were at work. My grandfather used to say “First you gotta get their attention.” I believe that a swat across the bottom followed by a sharp “NO!” is a good way to get the attention of a toddler. As a child matures and is better able to understand verbal instruction spanking becomes obsolete. NEVER hit a child to relieve your frustration or because you are angry or scared. ALWAYS, whatever form of discipline you use, give your child increased love afterward so that he/she will know you are not the enemy.

  27. I am truly thankful and amazed at all of the wonderful well thought out comments that I have received on this topic. Thank you very much ladies. I feel that I have learned from each of you and I hope I take this wisdom gleaned from here and apply it in my life.

  28. Excellent job on this! I had a hard time with it when Amy tagged me, as well.

    Happy New Year to you, BTW!!

  29. I can’t do the meme! I can’t take the hatemail.

    Heck yeah, I spank.

    From the ages of say 2-4. I do not recommend every parent spank.

    I never spank when angry. EVER. If I’m mad, I don’t do it.

    After the big rebellious period is over all my boys have learned some respect and self control.

    I love Kevin’s books.

    The best are by Dr. John Rosemond. I can’t recommend him enough!

    Oh yeah, I also give the kids a choice- Would you like to go to time-out or get a spank?

    They learn BEHAVIOR HAS CONSEQUENCES. I let them choose the consequences.

    Most importantly- Never in Anger.

    Alright, I better prepare for my hatemail.

  30. I don’t spank. Never have. Never will. How can I teach our kids that ‘we don’t hit’, if I hit them??

  31. I have spanked when it’s been something like running out in the road or releasing big sister’s hamster in the same room as the dog, devastating things!! With four kids, discipline is hard, and I discipline each one differently. Obviously with the older ones, spanking really wouldn’t accomplish much. But I can say that when they were younger, and with the little ones now, the fact that they have had a spanking, if I threaten a spanking, they know what to expect and I’m not bluffing. I really hate when parents make idle threats. I too have abandoned a cart full of groceries many times which is so frustrating because it’s hard enough to actually get to the store!! But whatever you tell your children you must follow through on, for all ages! And we are very big on explanations and consequences over here. Thanks for the post, it was interesting reading what others have to say about this topic!

  32. Amy~Absolutely! Always follow through on any “told” consequences. Every child is different.
    Fussy darling ~ direct all hate mail to me and I’ll get them for messing with my Fussy!!

    Idle threats make for misbehaving children, IMO.

    My dad read this and reminded me of something he did with us, and I do with my kids that I didn’t clarify. If and when disciplining swats/spanks whatever are used… apologize to the child after. It shows them that you do care and respect them.

    NEVER EVER IN ANGER~~ I cannot stress that enough!!
    I may have to do another post just to sum all this up! LOL.
    Love all the responses y’all! Thank you so much!!

  33. Kudos to you and every mama here who were brave enough to chime in on the conversation! What a diverse group of opinions on spanking, but many moms have said what works for one child/family may not work for the others.
    I whole heartedly agree with that.
    Here’s my take:
    when the girls were younger (1-3) they got spanked quite a bit. As many others said, it is usually for acts that put them or others in danger. I feel that sometimes you need to get their attention, and spanking does that.
    Now that they are a little older (4 and 3), they don’t get spanked as much. We do time-outs and we take away privelages. But, as with the park wife, if they’re being willfully disobedient, and the other two methods don’t work out (and sometimes they don’t)- yeah, we spank. However, I can see how easy it is to get carried away. So if I’m already having a bad day and incredibly pissed, I try to stay my hand because of how easily it can become much more than getting their attention. I don’t want their punishment to be about me being frustrated and angry, I want it to be about them learning that there are consequences for their actions if they continue to disobey after they’ve been warned (we’re also a 3 strike you’re out kind of household). Sometimes I muck it up, but as you said, we are only human. I’m trying.
    I went to a seminar about parenting a few months ago and the pastor’s methods are exactly the same as the ones park wife mentioned. I’m working on incorporating more of his principles into our method’s for discipline (talking about what they did wrong before the spanking, for example, as opposed to after).
    For the most part what we’re doing seems to be working, but every day is a challenge, what works one day may not work the next (I’ve got some pretty stubborn kids).
    So, that’s my take, in a nutshell.

  34. Ouch. Touchy subject! And I thought I was coming over here to read your birth month meme. 🙂

    I think you did a great job of explaining your point of view and I have to say I agree with you.

    Luckily my daughter is finally at an age where spanking is less effective than other forms of discipline.

  35. Sounds exactly like what I do with my boy. I found out early on that spanking doesn’t really affect him so it was pointless. A time out will do the trick way faster than spanking.

    Every mom has to do it her way and learn as she goes. Every child is different and so should the discipline approach be.

  36. wow..what a really really really hard thing to blog about.

    I have sat here and read all the comments. I have thought…..and thought about what to say.

    I am just not one for spanking my child at all. I just don’t really see the advantage of it OVER other forms of discipline. I hear folks saying that they only do it when they are calm and/or when the child did something that was unsafe. I just wonder thought what message parents are trying to convey when the consequence is a spank? I am not trying to start anything, here, I am just truely honestly asking what is the message?

    If you almost hurt yourself, I will remind you not to do it again by hurting you?

    If you do something wrong in life, the way to make it right is to be physically hurt?

    Okay, so now I might get hate mail, but I don’t mean those questions to be critical. I am just honestly trying to figure out what lesson is to be learned from spanking?

    My daughter is only 3 (next week). Some may say that I dont’ get it because she is so young, but I really think I don’t get it because I can’t really see the rationale.

    I was spanked a few times as a kid, and all I ever got from it was fear. I was scared to do things wrong. I don’t recall really learning anything from it. Do others? Did those parents who were spanked remember learning a good lesson from it, or did you just learn to be scared of the spankings?

    Once again, I am really not judging, I am just trying to understand better what reasons there are for chosing spanking over other methods.

    Thank you for letting me contribute to this conversation.

  37. First, I think every single comment and the post itself was a brave brave statement. It’s easy to judge someone else, people do it all the time. And I think the hardest aspect of your life to put up for speculation is your parenting skills…

    I don’t spank. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, it just isn’t my preferred method of discipline. My kids are 10, 7, and 5 and, let me tell you, if giving birth to three children in a four and a half year period of time teaches you anything, it’s a crash course in using whatever works.

    While I don’t spank, I have on a few occasions swatted hands – too close to the stove, reaching for a hot pot, going for a light cord. I find that the fact that I don’t hit makes these quick and immediate responses to dangerous behavior stick even better – but to be honest, it was always a gut reaction… the point is, they stopped going for the stove or dangerous object after a rap on the hand and a very loud ‘no!’

    With my oldest two, both went through a brief period of tantrum throwing right after the next youngest was born. I put them in the shower and gave them a quick spray, clothes and all… (I’m not talking about a screaming tantrum, I’m talking about throwing themselves on the floor and flailing about in a way that I was worried they might hurt themselves) I only needed to put them in the shower once and neither of them threw a tantrum like that again. I stumbled across that technique after two weeks of my oldest’s tantrums when nothing, and I mean nothing, worked… she actually continued the tantrum until she fell asleep…

    When I posted that story on a topic of forms of parenting discipline, I was basically called a child abuser.

    I think when a parent is obviously using the best skills and resources available to them in raising their children to be healthy and respectful human beings, there is no room to judge their choices.

    Very nice article and a brave brave blogger you are for tackling the topic.

  38. Thanks for posting on this. I totally forgot about Dr. Leman’s book. I read it a couple or years ago and am a big fan of reality discipline. Thanks for refreshing my memory!

  39. You have an adorable blog btw…. My rule is I spank if the child does something that has endangered their life… my daughter ran in the road last year, I smacked her. 6 months later, she jumped off a chair onto her brother and almost killed him, I smacked her. yes, thats 2 times in a year. It really means something if used rarely. My son is 16 months and I gave up smacking his hand all ready, hes hopeless. We will probably be on Jerry Springer soon with this kid if he lives to see ten. heaven help us. lol

  40. I’m a parent of an 8 month old so I can tell you what I think, but I’ll probably do something totally different when it comes time 😉 I think spanking is okay ONLY if you don’t do it while angry. And, that’s hard to do…so if someone can’t do that, they shouldn’t do it at all. I think its a great idea to try other methods first (timeout, talking, etc), but if that doesn’t work THEN try spanking. Or, that’s my plan lol.

    Nah, what are we talking about? My daughter is perfect and won’t ever act up! BWAHAHAHAAH! (Just kidding)

  41. I love your blog. I am going to check out that book. I am on the no spanking side, but when my older daughter was young I did have a couple of situations like your dropping on the head thing.

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