Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dear daughter: "I should have kept my hands to myself, I am sorry!"

I spanked my daughter earlier this week. I don't typically spank my children, but wish I could say I never do. Truth is, I've always believed spanking is a rare but necessary part of parenting if the reason to spank is valid, but what's really a valid reason? Validity is where things get tricky. 

And here's where they get tricker? I was wrong for spanking my daughter because I did it out of my own frustrations and not because her behaviors warranted corporal punishment. 

I should have counted to 10, walked away, or given the moment more time for things to de-escalate. I was quick to anger because my daughter was snatching my younger son's electronic device and kept doing it without regard to his feelings. She repeatedly ignored me as I urged her to stop and as her little brother wailed. 

She was wrong in her behavior, but how did me "hitting" her make things right? She wasn't respecting her brother, so in turn I get to disrespect her? Doesn't seem logical.

I immediately regretted spanking and yelling. As I spanked (and lectured) she looked up saying, "ok, ok, ok." But it wasn't "ok." I eventually apologized for spanking and once again she answered "it's okay!" I responded "NO, it wasn't okay. I should have kept my hands to myself and I am sorry!"

Spanking children like in the example I explained is usually a matter of a parent's immaturity and lack of self-control. Spanking is a quick fix and it's usually counter-productive. I wholehearted get that and in my imperfect reaction the other day (which was to spank), I hope my ability to articulate an apology, and demonstrate a lesson that even moms get it wrong, teaches my daughter about accountability, remorse and forgiveness.

How often do you spark, if at all? Why or why not?

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