After lots of Facebook discussion, I think I have decided that spanking your child is a lot like charging an undisclosed amount to your relational credit card. Credit can be used as a tool. Some people use it all the time and pay it off monthly, others choose to forgo credit completely and others use it for everything and only pay the minimum balance, or worse, don’t make any payments at all.
In my experience, I often accidentally make withdrawals. Failing to plan ahead, I put Dillin in a position where he is more likely to have a meltdown, and in those moments it can be to forget that I’m the adult and I need to stay calm even if my son can’t. Thankfully, I have made a concerted effort to improve in this area and I feel that it is really paying off. Still there are times when I get flustered, forgetting that he is nearby, and he thinks that I am upset with him. Or if I laugh because he is being cute and he thinks I am laughing AT him, which causes him to stop whatever he is doing and sob. Because of these accidental withdrawals, I try to make hourly deposits. Even spare change deposits add up when withdrawals are few and far between.
Some kids have low interest rates, so to speak, so having a line of credit isn’t as big of a deal. They aren’t emotionally fragile, don’t hold grudges, have good attitudes even when things don’t go the way they had hoped. Even so, a line of credit with an undisclosed balance is potentially very dangerous.
At this point, my son has a very high interest rate. This doesn’t worry me because he’s only one. And because I try to make an obscene amount of deposits on a daily basis.
In closing, I would caution any parent who is convinced they know exactly how much damage they are doing when they frequently use spanking. Kids have variable interest rates and that kind of arrogance is exactly what precedes the discovery that your credit card balance is actually the size of a small mortgage.
If you have run up a monstrous amount of relational debt due to yelling, hitting, neglecting or abuse I sincerely hope you’ll choose to apologize to your children and seek out peaceful parenting solutions that work for your specific family. Don’t expect your children to automatically take your word for it, after all, they’ve been hiding their naughty behavior as best they can because they DON’T trust you. But eventually, when they see that you mean it, they will come around. And, unlike actual credit cards, kids don’t require bankruptcy in order to forgive a debt. :)
Photo found here
This website has a lot of very helpful information on positive parenting ideas, especially for strong willed children.