Okay so let’s get straight to it. I am a black mother and I do NOT physically discipline (whoop/spank) my kids. I usually get a lot of weird reactions when I say this, from “spare the rod, ruin the child” to “time outs are for white people”. Or I get flooded with messages on social media basically telling me that all this will change as soon as my children turn into teenage spawns of satan that I have no control over. First of all, just because your kids are monsters don’t mean that mine are. No shade. Secondly don’t wish those types of behavior problems my way! LOL! The bottom line is that you can discipline your child without physically harming them.
I’m sure someone is going to ask if I’ve ever hit my kids. See, what had happened was my oldest, little James, pushed me beyond my limits almost 2 years ago. He went through an awful lying phase and it seemed like he was just lying about the stupidest things, every other day. Looking back we’ve realized it was a weird sort of cry for attention as our family had been through a number of changes but one day in particular he tap danced on my last nerve. We had just come home for the day, the conversation was short and the lie was stupid:
Me: Do you have homework? Did you already do it at after care?
Little James: I don’t have homework this week.
Me: Okay, well let me see your folder anyway.
Little James: *takes 50 hours to get me the folder*
He finally, handed me his folder and the first thing I saw was an incomplete homework packet. The next thing I knew I was screaming “What did I tell you about lying to me?”, as I slapped him across his back. He didn’t cry, he didn’t flinch, he literally froze and the look on his face almost broke me. He actually had fear in his eyes. Like he was scared. Of Me. His mom. Scared of the person that loves him most in this world. At that moment he didn’t know who I was and hell, neither did I.
I felt myself about to lose it so I sent him to his room, then I immediately went to the bathroom and burst into tears. I didn’t hit him because he lied, I hit him because I was frustrated and that was probably my most memorable #momfail to date. Afterward, I could barely apologize to him without crying (yes, I also apologize to my kids) and after he went to bed that night I cried some more. Big James got in late that night and came home to me just sitting in the bed sobbing; you would’ve thought someone had died. I was in shambles.
Dramatic as I might be, that was enough to confirm that physical discipline wasn’t my ministry. It forced me to reflect on what being their mother means to me. How can I tell them that I love them and would never do anything to hurt them, then turn around and hit them? What type of example am I setting by showing them that violence is an appropriate response to being mad or upset with someone? What example am I giving them regarding love and pain because love shouldn’t hurt? My goal is to give my babies a life that they won’t require therapy in 25 years. As adults we always want our home to be our place of peace but home is supposed to be their safe place too.
I’m sure you’re also wondering if I got spanked as a kid. To that I say hell, yes! Even though I can probably count the number of times that I got whooped, my parents believed in spankings too. Now, I can look back on those moments and say “well, I kinda deserved that” but I still nope, it’s not for me. It turns out that taking things away from me that I loved like privileges and/or new shoes was far more effective for my parents than hitting me. I’m from the generation of kids that if we were given the choice between a whooping or punishment, I was taking the whooping because it meant that I could still go outside. LMAO! Now, I don’t think my parents are any sort of crazy child abusers or anything but I do ask that they roll with me on not spanking my kids. Simply because if I don’t hit them, no one can. Period!
No judgment if you choose to spank because I know that parenting is hard and we’re all doing the best that we can. However, I do challenge you to ask yourself if any child actually “deserves” to be hit? I think the problem for most of us is that we’ve never been taught effective ways to correct behavior outside of spankings. There is also another conversation that could be had about emotional maturity but I’ll save that for another day. What do I do in lieu of spanking? Well, you have to come back next for part two but for now, let’s chat. Which side are you on in the great spanking debate?