Photo by Alan Levine
Once upon a time, in a lovely little home, there lived a New Mother.
New Mother spent her days learning to parent her precious baby boy. Not long after, baby boy #2 arrived on the scene.
New Mother soon realized that she had no idea what she was doing, so in all things every day she prayed for grace and tried to follow her heart.
The day quickly arrived, as babies turned into toddlers, when New Mother had to decide on a disciplinary strategy. As new mothers do, she looked at those around her with more experience.
Without exception, everyone around New Mother had chosen spanking in order to discipline. New Mother didn't know a single person who had raised well-behaved, respectful kids without it.
The reasons the spankers gave were plentiful:
They said, "It is written."
They said, "Just not in anger."
They said, "It works."
New Mother's heart said, "Not for me."
But she was a new mother--nervous, self-doubting, and heavily influenced. So on a handful of occasions she tried physically punishing her little ones--always with much sadness afterward.
One day in desperation she called Experienced Mother, who lived in another culture. Experienced Mother's children were a few years older, and were well-behaved and kind.
Spilling her heart, New Mother shared her discipline dilemma.
"I have never hit my children," Experienced Mother exclaimed.
And with those six words, hope spread like a wildfire in the heart of New Mother. There was another way, another choice she could make for her little ones.
Looking back, as a not-quite-so-new mother, she has no regrets.
Even now, many years later, in all things every day she prays for grace and tries to follow her heart.
It works, and it has never led her to raise a hand.
(A note about today's post: If you have made the choice to spank, this post is not trying to change your mind. People have very strong opinions about this topic and often strongly held reasons for doing what they do.
I wrote this post to share my story, in case other New Mothers out there find themselves facing a similar decision and wondering what options they have.
Anyone, spanker or non-spanker, can feel free to leave a comment--as long as it is in a respectful tone. In other words, we can disagree without being disagreeable. Thanks.)
Edited to add: This is NOT a "how to discipline your child" post. This is one short story of one mom (me) sharing one experience that influenced my life and parenting style. If you are looking for advice on how to discipline without spanking, this post shares some of my favorite parenting books.
I am an expert on my children, but not an expert on what's right for yours--I believe each of us has to find what connects and works for us. Many of the comments have provided profound specific ideas as well, so be sure to check them out.