I am honored to share this guest post with you today. This is a contribution to the “No Spank Challenge” hosted by Amy Bryant, of Parenting Beyond Punishment. Click here to register for this free event.
Kids are people too.
Yes they’re short, and stubborn, and infuriating at times. But they’re still people who demand respect.
I think parents forget that sometimes.
I was raised in a household where spanking was a real threat. I’m not saying that we were beat every day, but there were times I was spanked. My father, in fact, had The Paddle. It was a two-by-four that he fashioned in the garage for that purpose. The primary crime in the house was a “lack of respect for the authority figures.”
Ironic, isn’t it?
My brothers and I hated The Paddle. We learned to fear it. We learned to use it on each other. We learned that the keeper of The Paddle was the authority in any situation.
What we did not learn was a respect for the rules. We respected the consequence of getting caught breaking the rules. We still broke the rules, only now, we hid it from our parents. In their eyes, The Paddle worked. In our eyes, The Paddle was an enemy that needed to be avoided.
This was not a constructive relationship on any accounts. By introducing The Paddle into our lives, my father had unwittingly introduced a barrier along with it.
After high school, I dropped out of college and enlisted in the Navy. I spent the next eight years of my life in a club where threats were the primary means of discipline.
You didn’t shave? Extra hours.
You got in a fight? Loss of rank.
You messed up a procedure? You’re off the boat. Your career is done.
Again, my new brothers and I spent our entire lives avoiding getting caught. We still broke the rules. And we still hid our issues. The threat of punishment kept us from utilizing the programs setup to help us in those situations. We weren’t given the respect that was demanded of us.
A judicial system based on threats does not work.
I’m a father of two boys now. I came into this venture completely convinced that spanking was the answer. I even had plans to make my own Paddle.
Then I met my oldest boy, my sweet, sensitive, brilliant, introspective, strong boy. I saw two eyes that trusted me completely. I couldn’t believe that I would one day have to betray that trust in the name of discipline. I suddenly knew the meaning of “this hurts me more than it hurts you.”
Except I didn’t.
Because it doesn’t.
When you spank a child, you are saying “my rules are more important than your feelings and your trust.” You are telling them that you are not somebody who can help them. You are teaching them to avoid the consequences rather than addressing the problem.
You are telling them that they aren’t worthy of respect.
Kids are people. Yes they’re short, and stubborn, and infuriating at times. But they’re still people.
Don’t forget that.
About Nate Lopez
Nate is a father, husband, improviser, comedian, writer, veteran and skinnier than he was. He understands that you may not agree with him. He’s okay with that. Visit hit website by clicking here.
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