Friday, April 13, 2012

How to spank your wife

- tough love well practiced

Does the title of this post sound awkward to you? Perhaps it even makes you a bit angry? If it does, you´ve already gotten half the point, I want to make in this post. So - lean back in your chair, grab a cup of coffee or whatever beverage you prefer while reading important stuff (if you don´t want to get up yourself and get it, your wife is there for the same reason, isn´t she? - or not...)

Every once in a while, the question of how to discipline your children comes up in public debate and one of the most stunning (at least to me) claims is that if you won´t spank your kids, you´re actually doing them wrong. The argument by promoters of this statement is that without spanking, there´s no discipline. People insisting this to be true, thus see spanking and disciplining children as two sides of the same coin.

I strongly disagree!

To make my point, I´ve used the above title for this post as a imaginary pair of glasses giving a broader perspective. Imagine if someone, in all seriousness, claimed the same argument for marriage - or any other relationship for that matter: that the only way a man can ‘get some respect around here’ is to have a loose wrist and a trigger happy fist.

So, if the wife won´t get you a beer, slap her in the face; If your friend doesn´t want to lend you a hand with something, punch him on the nose; And if your children misbehave, grab one of them by the legs and use the kid as a baseball bat to slap his brothers and sisters around the house - yieehaa! A home run!

Doesn´t sound all that sound now, does it? But for some strange reason, many parents still believe that spanking your child is good for them. It will grant you the respect you deserve and need to discipline them well.

I hate to be the one to point this out (well, not really!) but if there´s one fact of life when it comes to friendship, love and relationships, be that between equals or between people whose distribution of power is unequal, it is this:

Respect comes and goes according to how it is dealt out!

So, if you believe your kids to have respect for you as a result of spanking them, you´re deluding yourself: you are confusing respect for fear - or said more to the point: Your kids do not respect someone, who slaps them around, they fear them! Exactly in the same way as your wife or your friends will fear you for violent behavior...

If you are sitting there, thinking that 'this guy has no clue' maybe you should read my post on Parental Blessings, where I tell about what our children did for my wife and me a couple of days ago. There you will see, that perhaps our methods of raising kids is not all that bad!

Now that we have that one parked, let´s look at what raising your children really means:

First and foremost, raising your children means exactly that. Raising means to lift up, that is: encourage, bringing up the best in them, praising them, enforcing their self esteem and building their self understanding and sense of themselves. In the past, raising children for most parents meant to indoctrinate, more or less, so that they would do what was expected of them, instead of making up their own minds. This only result in adults who cannot make their own decisions, but rely on others to decide for them. Is this what you want of your kids?

Secondly, disciplining is not about brute force. Many parents treat their children as animals to be trained. This view is thinking of children as entities becoming human as they grow up, instead of human beings with less experience. This way of thinking is directly derived from the above statement about the main base of raising children. If you have the first view, you will grant your children favors and rights when they do what you want them to and take these grants away when they do the things you don´t want them to do. While this may sound appealing, the problem is that using this principle, your kids will never learn what is right and wrong, but only what makes mom and dad happy or angry. Is this really what you want?

As a parent, you will need the latter view. Kids aren´t animals needing to learn which behavior they earn goodies by and which behavior makes daddy angry and hit you.

Instead, what they need is to learn from your experience. In the coming days, I will elaborate on how to use discipline in raising children. For now, I just want to point out one final thing:

Thirdly, raising children and disciplining them are two different things! Disciplining are the means you use to get your child’s attention, that is: to use leverage as an adult and a parent ‘opening a door’ to connect with your children, so that you can raise them. Raising, however, is your goal. Raising is what you want; disciplining is one among many tools to achieve that goal.

So, to sum up this post:

As a parent, I want to raise my children in a manner that will better their chances of success in life. This is my goal: success for my children!

Having this goal, I must understand that my children are first and foremost human beings and as such they are every bit as valuable as I, their father. Spanking my children does not comply with this view. If I wouldn´t spank my wife or beat up my friends to get them to obey me, I wouldn´t spank my children for the same reason, unless I view them as lesser beings. I don´t. I view them as equals in terms of value and being human. And therefore I won´t spank them, because it goes against one of my basic values: that children are as valuable as I am.

To achieve my goal: succes for my children, I use various tools in raising them. Disciplining them is one of these tools, but it´s neither the only tool, nor is it the most important one.

And finally, using brute force in disciplining will not achieve the goal: success for my children. It´ll only teach my children to obey me, but they will never learn the benefits of listening to my wisdom, so when they grow up and start a life of their own, my influence is null and void! As soon as I see them leaving their childhood home, I can only help them succeed, if I´ve chosen a better way than brute force.

More about this subject here

Now, it´s your turn.  Do you have experience you want to share?