by Karen Serna
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
“What’s your secret?” came the question from the gentleman at the symphony. My husband, Mom, 2 year old daughter, 4 year old son, and I had ventured out to a free performance at our community’s performing art’s center. During the intermission, we were in the hallway talking when this smiling gentleman approached us. “There is no way I would bring my grandkids to an event like this,” he continued. “I didn’t hear a peep out of your kids. How do you do it?” We smiled innocently with parental pride and thanked him for his kind words while shrugging our shoulders as if we were shocked that our children behaved so well. All the while, I am thinking, “What do you mean, ‘what is our secret?’ No secret, we spank them.”
GASP! WHAT? YOU SPANK YOUR CHILDREN? SOMEONE CALL CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES!
Before you make that call, perhaps you should hear me out. We maintain a very traditional way of thinking in our home. Simply put, we are the parents; they are the children. It’s not really rocket science nor is it the liberal psychology you get in most parenting magazines. We only have two rules in our house: honor and obey. That makes it simple for us and for them. We give our children clear, simple instructions that are age appropriate and that we know are within their given abilities. We ensure that they have heard and understand our instruction. They then must choose whether they will follow those instructions. If they do not (with a good attitude I might add…that’s the honor part), we calmly carry the offender upstairs to our room; and the discipline PROCESS begins.
After a short explanation of their need to honor and obey us and a reminder of the exact offense, we put them across our laps and firmly spank them with a small wooden spoon. We use the spoon because we don’t have to spank hard. We can make it sting without much force. Plus, our hands are instruments of love and affection, and we don’t ever want to confuse the two. We tell them how many swats they will get. This ensures we are in control and not responding out of anger. Following the tears are huge hugs and more discussion. We remind them that we spank them because we love them, and we spend lots of time talking about how their actions can affect their lives. The process of discipline is much more time consuming and complicated than a swat across the bottom on the fly. Most importantly we will tell them AGAIN how much we love them.
That’s right. We love them. We don’t want them to be out of control, disrespectful, and full of rebellion. We know that learning to submit to our authority will carry benefits throughout their lives. We don’t have to be afraid to take them out in public or to send them to a friend’s house. Our expectation is simple – first time obedience. It’s not obedience unless it is done “without challenge, without excuse, and without delay.”1 And because we don’t tell them twice, there is really no opportunity to get frustrated and spank them in anger. We feel no need to scream and holler at our children, and we feel no need to reject our children by sending them to their room or throwing them in “time-out” as if we don’t want to have anything to do with them or can’t stand to see them.
So by now you probably have 1000 questions. Do we have bad days? Yup! Do we get frustrated with our children? Definitely! Do we follow through with this discipline like we should 100% of the time? Nope! (That is normally when we get frustrated and have bad days.) Do we allow our children any kind of voice or discussion, or are we dictators? Yes and no! Once we know they have learned unconditional obedience, we allow more discussion; but they still know we will make the final decision. This comes as they get older. Do we spank our children often? If you are talking about our 4 year old, I don’t remember the last time we had to spank him. If you are asking about our 2 year old, then, yes, she still gets spankings pretty often. Do our children always behave in public? NOPE! In fact, a couple of days after the symphony, I had to pry my daughter off the door at the library. She didn’t want to let go. The woman who saw our struggle smiled knowingly. I remained calm.
When we got to the car, I assured her she would get a spanking when we got home. And she did. I love her too much to allow her to disobey me like that! If I let that kind of thing go, it teaches her all the wrong things.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: There are entire books that have been written on this topic so all that I would like to say simply can’t be captured in this short article. For those who want more information, I recommend a book titled, Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp.
Image: Courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9137715@N05/6183908054/
Karen Serna is a wife and homeschooling mom with two children. She holds a degree in Chemistry with a minor in Math from Angelo State University. In addition, she is a certified secondary educator. Prior to having children, Karen worked for Texas State University-San Marcos as an analytical chemist and industrial hygienist for over twelve years. Her passion lies in seeing a generation of Americans once again embrace true freedom.