Thursday, January 10

Spankin' Good Chocolate Pie

Quite some time ago, The Sports Mama asked me to talk about whether or not I believe in spanking. I intentionally wanted to wait until after Christmas to answer since it seemed to me that it would feel weird talking about discipline in the midst of look! pretty! lights! There were a whole bunch of rules with the meme, so you should go over to her site to read them all. Y'all probably figured out by now that I don't do rules very well.

First of all, I don't really think Alexis is old enough for much punishment other than a stern "no" and removing her from the situation. She understands that some things are bad, but I don't think she quite gets the concept of consequences well enough to get too crazy with her. For example, she knows very well she isn't supposed to play with her food. But I don't think it occurs to her that she might actually get in trouble for it.

Last night she was sitting no further from me than you are from your computer. Daddy had just given her a bowl with a beautiful little hunk of chocolate pie. I was typing away at yesterday's blog post and figured she was pretty well occupied for the next few minutes. I mean, if you hand me a hunk of chocolate pie, I'm headed to the alter to worship the stuff for a few minutes. Don't bother talking to me, I'll be busy making out with my food. I forget that Alexis is WEIRD and isn't much into junk food. I have actually heard myself utter the words, "NO, you cannot have more Lima beans," to the child. The concept of preferring fruits and vegetables over candy and potato chips is so foreign to me that I just can't seem to hold it in my brain for more than a few seconds at a time.

Anyway, she dumped the pie on the floor, lubed up her hands, and started to use it to paint her sweater. I didn't notice for probably three minutes, and only then because she was way too quiet. The first few times I fussed at Alexis that she had to stop and what she was doing was bad, she cackled with glee. It took her at least two minutes to realize she really was in trouble. The photo from yesterday actually captures the exact moment when it dawned on her that we weren't joking around. (What? You don't take pictures as you scold your kid? You totally should--there's some priceless shots to be had right then.)

Right after that picture was taken, Daddy hauled her off to the kitchen and made her wash her hands. Alexis fell to pieces in the process. When that kid figures out that she is in trouble and has done something wrong, she is positively devastated. She LIVES to make people happy (I'd put my money on her for class clown). When she realizes she has disappointed someone, she just plain loses it. Last night she stood in the kitchen sobbing and repeating "I'm sorry" over and over and over until I finally picked her up to console her.

Who needs to spank when your kid carries around a ten-pound conscience like that one? Definitely not me. Good thing, too, since I don't believe in spanking. I simply have never been in a situation where it seemed like spanking would be an effective cure for the behavior. The only experience that comes close is from my days babysitting as a teen. There was a little boy named Shane that once chased me around the kitchen with a knife because I wouldn't let him have another cookie. He might just have deserved a beating for trying to cut the sitter "into a million little pieces" (His words, I remember them well. I bet right now you're hoping your kids hang out with one just like him). Even Shane probably couldn't be "fixed" with a spanking or two. What he really needed was a Dad that sobered up long enough to realize he was macking (unsuccessfully) on a 14-year old.

The challenging part is that my husband does believe in spanking. It's funny because his stories about laughing hysterically as he got spanked are part of my belief that spanking doesn't really work. He'll tell you that he got into trouble so much and spanked so often that he started to just think it was funny. He would actually say, "You think that's going to stop me?" He turned out just fine, other than that whole selective hearing thing that seems to get installed in all men at some point. Who knows if he would have turned out "better" or "worse" if he had never been spanked . . .

Anyway, we've come to an agreement that we're going to try it my way for a while. If there comes a point in time where he thinks Alexis deserves a spanking, we're going to talk about it first. If we agree, so be it. Spanking will commence.

Now, if she pulls some of the crap I pulled as a kid, I'll be changing my stance REAL quick. Climbing out of the bedroom window to sneak out of the house and then hanging out with friends until 4:00 in the morning is cause for a good whipping, no doubt about it.

I'm supposed to tag others to cover this same topic, but as I've said, I don't do rules. If you want to tackle it, go for it!


  1. Bubba sounds a lot like Alexis. All you have to do is let him know how much he's disappointed you and he just melts into a puddle of tears. Hardly any punishment necessary.

    Now Punkin on the other hand, that girl will look you in the eye, with a gleam in HER eyes and go right ahead and do something you've told her not to do. Our first line of defense is time out, but I have popped her on the bottom a time or two.

    I would never say that I've spanked either of my children -- to me spanking implies more than one swat to the bottom. But I have popped them just to get their attention. Do I like it? Am I proud of myself for doing it? No. But I do the best I can. That's all I can do.

    Tough topic there, BBM! Oh, and so glad you finally told us what was on her hands!

  2. I think you're right, Madame Queen. There is a difference between a little swat and a full-on spanking.

    I knew I liked Punkin! She's my kind of girl.

  3. Well, I am a spanking kind of mommy....hopefully you will forgive me and still be my bloggy bud. Having said that- it is reserved for very 'big' issues and not dealt out often. I think that in order to be effective, it needs to be used sparingly and only when absolutely necessary (as in your hubby's case - it didn't work since it was over used). I did it a few times when Ashlyn was learning she needed to listen and I couldn't tell you the last time I had to spank her. We used time out as the main consequence, but there are occasions when time out is not quite enough. those were the times a swat on the bottom was dealt out.

    Summing it up- yeah I use it, I think it can work if used correctly and not over used, I only use it for those really big issues. After using it initially, she has learned to fall in line and don't need it.

    But I respect that we are all different and we raise our kids the way we feel is best. No one else is in the situation we are in and in the moment we are in so we do what we think is best and what we feel is right....and our kids can tell their therapists all about it down the road and they can decide if we were good or bad mommies! ;)

  4. Oh yeah---just for the record...when I have was a calm, controlled issue- not an angry, out of control mommy. Also, I have always hugged and told her I love her after any consequence and talked about what I want to see her do next time instead.

    I try!

  5. I completely agree. Although, someday, she will rue the day that she threw a perfectly good piece of CHOCOLATE pie onto the floor!

  6. I got tagged for this. I need to do it, too. Sorry, chick. Yet again we'll disagree. But, child temperment certainly makes a HUGE difference.

  7. Gavin, for the most part will listen and gets upset if he knows you're angry or that you're disappointed. We usually only utilize Time Out (and he was quite shocked to find out that Time Out is Everywhere, even in Target, even while on a walk around the neighborhood, etc.). They also use Time Out at daycare, so at least we have some consistency in discipline. There have been a couple times where I've swatted him on the butt...and once was after he was potty-trained (no diaper buffer), so he was pretty shocked and straightened-up real quick. I think the few times I had to swat him was when he deliberately disobeyed me. So not very proud, either, but I look back at how much I was spanked and I feel that at least I kept it as a last resort instead of first line of defence. The big thing that I need to better control is my shrieking...even if it doesn't send my kids running for therapy, it might just sending them running for a chochlear implant. :)

  8. The picture is adorable and the lima beans had me laughing. She will never understand the irony in the children's book "Little Pea" which is a favorite at my house if she doesn't give up the veggie habit. The spanking thing is a hard one but the child's disposition will make up your mind really quick in some circumstances...hope your burgh baby isn't one of those!

  9. Sometimes I've WISHED I believed in spanking, but I don't. After all, how we can we teach our children not to hit if we are hitting them?

    Great post--thanks! :)

  10. How wonderful that she's got that conscience. I know it'll be hard to deal with (I'm thinking peer pressure) but from a parent's standpoint it can't be all bad.

    But it does look fun, does it not?

  11. beings that I have the anti-conscience child, it's a lovely and rare gift you have!!!

    i think some parents have no business spanking, and some children shouldn't be. does that make any sense?

  12. I don't spank my son but I think there are also many people out there who were spanked as a form of discipline when they were young and they did turn out alright. So, perhaps it depends on each individual child?

  13. You're not the only one who was blessed with a "strange" child. Mine love salads! Salads?!? What 9 year old boy willingly eats green leafy things?

    He balances it out nicely, though, with a frozen Twinkie for dessert! ;)

    Good post!

  14. I don't believe in spanking, but my husband also thinks it is okay. He usually lets me make the decisions, though, when it comes to childrearing since I am the "expert". I have met a great deal of parents I would have liked to spank, though - with a 2x4. (I worked in Head Start for a year, and the things I saw still make me shudder).

  15. Oh Sports Mama - that frozen Twinkie sounds divine.

    BBM, I'm so glad to know that it was chocolate pie and not waste product. :)

    I did the spanking meme and it was one of my most difficult posts. You covered it well.

  16. Misty--It makes total sense. I'm thinking the Mom I heard four aisles away in Target as she was yelling at her kid to "shut up and stop being a brat" probably shouldn't be a spanker. But somebody who gives spanking careful thought before doing it and uses it when they truly feel it is appropriate might be OK.

  17. I've never been a spanker either. I was spanked as a child and HATED it, so that may be why I chose not to do it to my kids. Besides, they both have HUGE a conscious and immediately tear up when they have done something wrong!

    On a lighter note - I love chocolate too and making out with a piece of cake sounds like my kind of fun! LOL!!!


  18. All I can go is from my own experience, and one of the rules we lay down in the house is that it's not right to hit anyone ever. We'll get into the vaguaries of self-protection later, but right now we do not hit, kick, bite. That goes for mommy and daddy too.

    Which is not to say we've never spanked! We have. And neither of us has felt intelligent, in-control or like the parent when we have. Mostly we've felt like three year olds who are lashing out from frustration.

    The few times Wallace has been spanked really bother me. I don't think it's right.

    But that's just my experience.

  19. i mostly do the swats...i don't remember EVER full on spanking my children. but, i DO swat. i've also washed my childrens mouth out with soap when they were little. they never used bad words again...well, until the last couple year...but, they are 10, 11 and 12. they laugh at me if i tell them i will wash their mouths out! i'm so intimidating!!
    my 4 year old, for the longest time...walked around calling people the a word with hole at the end!! time outs worked for that! i couldn't believe it...a time out that actually worked on one of my children...a miracle!!
    anyway...great meme response!!

  20. Great haiku! I pretty much agree with you. I just don't like the way spanking makes me feel. It takes the focus off of what the child actually did wrong, and puts the focus on the guilt I'm feeling. I end up feeling like the one who needs to apologize. I have spanked a few times, but generally don't. The naughty step works pretty well for us.
    Yeah, I was right? Chocolate pie!

  21. I grew up in a spanking house. Man my Mom could aim her shoe from across a room! It's so different now. We don't spank in our house...yet.

  22. I'm delurking today. Not only do we have several readers in common, I grew up in The Burgh. Well, technically, Mt. Lebanon...

  23. We also don't "spank" in our house, yet..... I agree with Madame queen that spanking implies more than a swat on the bottom.

  24. Oh! I knew I detected graham crackers in there somewhere, of course, chocolate pie!! Poor little Alexis, and poor little sweater, huh? :) I agree with you, and had the same "problem" if you'd call it that, my kids were always tougher on themselves than I or my husband ever could be. Besides, we tell our kids not to hit other kids, and then we hit them? It's got to be confusing for them. Maybe Alexis should get another go at the pie, who knows, she might eat it this time!

  25. I don't believe in spanking either. I prefer taking away privilages for my teenager and time out for my toddler.

  26. I want to make out with some chocolate pie! Mmmmmm.

    This was a good post! I might do a post on the spanking... we'll see if I can get my words right. In a nutshell, I just think there are other ways to discipline that work better and I am more comfortable with. Also, we want to model the behavior we want the Pumpkin to have, so that would include no hitting.

    But I'm early into this parenting thing, so we'll see how I feel in a few years. Also, I thought the same about teaching the dog, and I've totally spanked her. In fact, I'm now working on not spanking the dog in order to model the behavior we want to teach the Pumpkin.