So here's the deal: before I had kids, I knew I’d be spanking them. I didn’t feel bad about it either.
I’d see a rowdy kid in the grocery store or mouthy teenager at the mall and assumed that all they needed was a little pop. At 28 years old, I became a mama and, let me tell you, I didn’t know certain levels of anger existed until I had a child.
There’s something about being sleep-deprived, having jacked-up emotions and dealing with a kid that won’t stop melting down that can really test your patience. I know you know what I’m talking about. Every parent has a breaking point, and my 3-year-old hit mine over and over again.
We’re fantastic people, all because we were spanked.
I struggled with the temper tantrums and toddler craziness, but when she got to hitting me, oh no, Mama. This wasn’t OK. The first time it happened, I brushed it off as being a fluke. She was 3, tired and a bit out of control. That last two were my fault and I knew better. But when she hit me again, well, I saw red. I wanted to be all attachment parenting mama, but, no, I was livid. I felt disrespected and wanted to nip it in the bud right then and there. Timeout wasn’t going to do it, and neither was getting down to her level, holding her hands and talking to her calmly. She needed to know just how un-OK this action was.
I wanted to spank her.
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Isn’t that crazy? I wanted to hit my child for hitting me. How backwards does that sound? What's the lesson again when I hit her for hitting me? I was anything but logical at that moment, but that was when I realized how much damage spanking had done to me.
And that’s the thing—many of us who were spanked love to say, “I was spanked and look how I turned out. I’m a decent human being, have never been to jail and know how to respect my parents.”
Kudos to us, right?
... I want to be the kind of parent that can keep her calm before doing something that I may regret.
We’re fantastic people, all because we were spanked. But we all know how untrue this is, right? Being spanked as a child isn’t a problem-proof patch. I certainly can’t speak for all of us adults who were spanked. But I can honestly say that, for me, being spanked made me feel that it was OK to spank my children. This is a problem.
It is a problem when I want to spank without considering why my child is acting up. It is a problem when I can’t think of any other solution besides physically harming her. It’s a problem when it’s the FIRST thing that I want to do. This so isn’t OK, and even harder than coming to this realization is trying to figure out how to think differently.
I’m trying. We can all have different viewpoints on spanking and, more than anything, I want to be the kind of parent that can keep her calm before doing something that I may regret. It’s not always easy, but I’m up to the challenge because my children deserve a level-headed parent.
So no, I haven’t robbed any banks or done any crimes. But spanking, in some way, did damage me.
Photograph by: Brittany Minor