My husband and I never sat down and discussed an official discipline policy for our kids. We both know that each child may respond to various tactics differently, whether it is a time out, a talking to, or a spanking.
Growing up I didn’t get time outs, or even spankings. My dad gave what we called whoopings. As in, “go grab the belt, you’re getting a whoopin.” Yea, ouch.
My mom only spanked me a handful of times. I think once with a flip-flop, another time with a wooden spoon. It never hurt, but I was smart enough to pretend like it did so she thought I learned my lesson. Trust me, it was better than the alternative.
I definitely don’t see belt whoopings in our disciplinary future, but I will admit to giving a whimpy spankin a time or two. Something to get her attention, but never anything I’d consider remotely damaging.
My husband on the other hand, has given a firmer hand a few times, and in turn, she tends to take him more seriously when he asks her to do something she may not feel like doing.
Most of our frustrations revolve around bedtime. We go through a long bedtime routine, read stories, sing songs, and say prayer. Then moments after leaving her room she’s coming out wanting to talk, see what we’re doing; sleep in our bed, or whatever. On nights her daddy is off, she usually stays in her room. On the nights he’s working, she usually doesn’t. Which can be troublesome since that’s usually when I get a lot of my work done.
Desperate to convince her to stay in her room I did what any good parent would do. I threatened her.
But it didn’t go like I had planned.
She says: You need to stay in your room and go to sleep tonight ok?
She says: Well, I will for a minute, but then I’m going to come out.
She says: No, you need to stay in your room or you’re going to get a spanking.
She says: Ok.
She says: Ok, you’ll stay in your room?
She says: No, I want a spankin.
She says: Not you don’t.
She says: Yes I do. I do want a spankin.
She says (trying to contain my laughter): Why?
She says: Because last time you gave me a spankin it didn’t hurt.
She says: Well it will hurt this time, so stay in your room.
I leave before she can notice I’m laughing, which would only further encourage her bedtime delaying antics.
But sure enough, just a few minutes later she’s wandering over to me.
She says: What are you doing out of your room? Do you want a spankin now?
She says: Yes. (with a smile)
She says: Ok then, turn around.
Without hesitation she turns her back to me, and I give her a swat on her bottom. —Harder than my petty pats in the past, but nothing to really cry about.
She says (under her breath): Ok. But that didn’t hurt.
She says: Do you want it to hurt?
She says: No.
She says: Then let’s go back to your room. I’ll tuck you in.
Needless to say, I’ve moved on to a different tactic (maybe this was her plan all along). I’m trying a rewards-based sticker chart for incentives to stay in her room at night. So far it has about a 50% success rate.
I haven’t threatened her with a spanking since then, and thankfully, she hasn’t asked for one either.
It’s Tuesday March 4th, 2014. Miss J is currently 3 years and 8 months old.