In my house, my father had a belt hanging on a hook in the kitchen. It was a visible reminder to be good or to be put over his knee. We were all afraid of that belt. One day, my father couldn't find it. Eventually it was found—in the trashcan. My little sister, then age six, had decided the garbage would be a better place for it! She was due for a spanking and was trying to avoid it. Once discovered, she knew her spanking would be worse than ever. When my father put her over his knee he noticed that her little rear end had been replaced by a large lumpy surface—wadded up towels in her underpants! Boy did he get angry! He pulled out the towels, pulled down her pants, and proceeded to hit her. I can still remember the welts on her bottom after her bare skin was hit with that belt. I remember thinking, "Yuck!" As a mother with four children of my own, the memory brings tears to my eyes. The odd thing about this story is that both my sister and I remember the spanking, but neither of us can recall what the behavior was that caused it. We know that our father must have been trying to teach a lesson. The lesson, however, has been lost. The memory of the spanking is all that remains.
Our parents punished us the same way in which they were punished. And their parents punished them the same way in which our grandparents were punished as children. After all, we learn what we live. We tend to parent the way we were parented. Somewhere along the line parents need to stop the pattern. They need to evaluate their child-rearing methods, especially checking for those destructive practices that they may be following simply out of habit. Parents need to research the current data, analyze their current parenting results and continually look for better answers.
I have four children. They are respectful, responsible, well-behaved and just plain great kids. I don't believe in spanking and have used only positive, loving discipline with them. Parents often ask me whether or not they should spank their children. When looking at the issue of spanking, I urge them to consider the following: