Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Discipline comes in many forms

On the way to work one morning I was listening to a popular morning DJ discuss the pros and cons of spanking. This topic ends up being very controversial when you really start delving into it. Some parents are big believers that if you "spare the rod, you spoil the child" while others can't even imagine raising a hand to their child.

Rather than look at the argument from the perspective of pro- or anti-spanking, I want to pose another question: What's working?

Here's the reason I ask--I know lots of people with very well-behaved, articulate, polite children who spank, don't spank, or do something in the middle to discipline their kids.

In the end, isn't this about the relationship between the parent and the child? For some children, spankings are a great punishment  because it's quick and they can move on to the next activity fairly quickly. For others, the pain isn't worth it. Some children respond better to being sent to their rooms and isolated. Others look forward to being isolated so they can play quietly in the room.

As parents we make all kinds of decisions around how we raise our children. Most of us look at what our parents did and decide if it worked or if we choose to go another direction. And if we choose to raise our children differently than how we were raised, we spend a lot of time talking our parents through our choices.

But in the end, isn't it about making choices to help our children become responsible adults who contribute to society? As parents we need to take a look at what we're doing and whether our kids are changing their behaviors to reflect what we expect. If they're not, maybe there's an opportunity to look at other ways of disciplining them. I realize that my kids have to be disciplined differently--the same punishment doesn't work for both of them.

I'm not pro- or anti-spanking. I am against child abuse. I do believe, however, that as parents we have expectations of how our children will behave and should dole out the appropriate punishment--whatever form that may be.

What works for you and your kids?

Reace Alvarenga-Smith is a Mother of two.

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