Tell me why you prefer not to spank. I’m just curious why? Isn’t it a scriptural command to parents to spank? (Biblical chastisement)
Basically, I don’t spank because the only time I feel enough anger to spank my child is when I am out of control emotionally. When I feel myself re-gaining control, I have no desire to hit or hurt anyone. So, I realize that the passion I feel that makes me want to spank comes from a source other than God. Self-control is the hallmark of a Christian.
When I am in emotional control, the Spirit confirms to my heart that spanking is not the best choice. There are other ways to gain a disciple—other ways to help children want to be like you, and follow your example (which should exemplify Christ to your child). Extra work, loss of privileges, taking away the fought-over toy, being removed from the table, not having the enjoyment of your attention (if you walk away during a tantrum), and many more actions are all useful tools to help a child want to obey.
Freedom is earned by behaving well. Children can learn this. If they want the freedom to play with the toy, they cannot fight over it. If they fight, the toy is taken away. It doesn’t take long to figure that out, even without any words from Mom.
Every one of my 7 children bit me while nursing. Once only. The first bite resulted in drama—a bit overdone for their sakes—screaming and tossing them onto the bed. The next time they started to want to bite, they would look at me, pull off and cry. They knew what was coming if they decided to use me for a teething ring. It amazed me that a 4 or 5 month old baby could remember and learn so quickly. There are moms who stop nursing because their baby bites. That always seems so sad to me. Training would be better, and continuing that wonderful bond of nursing.
I do believe that a toddler that is being endangered by what he is doing needs to be reprimanded strongly. If you cannot remove the child from the situation, nor remove the offending object, then one option is to use a squirt bottle. A quick spray of water in the face does a whole lot better training job and doesn’t hurt anyone. It just gets their attention, makes them startle, cry, and decide not to repeat the dangerous behavior. It usually only takes a few sprays for a child to learn. One very stubborn little guy of mine at about 9 months old actually took 8 times to learn! I was bawling by the time we established who was in charge, but it was worth it to see the light go on in his eyes. He had learned that I could be trusted and ever-constant in the task of helping him figure out the path to happiness.
Our job as parents is to help our children learn the way to happiness as quickly, efficiently and lovingly as possible. I want my children to feel like they can always trust me to be the loving parent that has their well-being at heart. Hitting them seems to counter what I am trying to develop in our relationship. I like the concept of being “kind and firm.” I can imagine God acting like that. That is what I want to be: ever kind, never yelling or angry, always loving, but absolutely firm and unyielding when it comes to wrongdoing. A mom can smile and be gentle and keep her voice low even when she is having to haul off a kicking, tantrum-ing toddler. A mom can get a reputation for making sure that kids obey her without ever getting angry or spanking a child.
You can train your children to obey just by standing up! I can remember my other kids yelling to the offender, “Mom’s coming!” They knew without a doubt that I would follow through on what I said, and all I had to do is begin to get up from my seat, and they would hop to!
If you want your children to obey you, you must follow through every single time you give a command. If you say, “Please pick up your shoes” and they don’t make a move in that direction immediately, you have to get up and make sure they do what you told them to do, even by guiding their hands in the right direction. Never let them ignore you! If you don’t have the energy to make sure you can follow through, then don’t say it in the first place, or you will train them to disregard you. After you train them to listen to you, if they don’t obey when you ask, all you have to do is make a motion like you are going to get up to follow-through, and they will move into action. They have learned that you are constant and trustworthy.
Always being a kind and loving best-friend to your children is the most effective way to get them to obey! We want to please those we love. If you question if this is true, try an experiment. Sit down on the floor with your little one and play puzzles, cars or dolls for 1/2 hour. Now, ask your child to pick up the toys with you, and watch how much more willing he is!
I have found that when I am in control, and full of love for my children and concern for their well-being, it is nearly impossible to strike them. And if I do, I suddenly sense that I have betrayed my best self. And betrayed their trust in me to ever love and protect them.
Best success to you in this most important work of being a parent!
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