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Monday, July 9, 2012

Behind The Woodshed

To Spank or Not To Spank...

Or...So this is why I'm crazy..

Dear Squirrely Girl:
I just read this article about spanking kids and I thought I would share it with you and see what what you thought. My mom and dad spanked all of us and I think we are better for it. Today's kids seem totally out of control. Parents seem too lazy to spank their kids are even bother to make them behave, but I don't want to see kids be beat or abused anyway. I guess I am a little confused and have a new baby on the way.  Is there something in between?

"People who were spanked or hit as kids were between two and seven percent more likely to encounter mental issues later, said the research in the journal Pediatrics, based on a retrospective survey of more than 600 US adults."

 Love the picture of the squirrel being held by the angel, so sweet.

Signed ~ A Little Confused

Dear A Little Confused (I have met your cousin "Confused A Lot" and you are much nicer)

The article was pretty interesting. If spankings make people a little crazy that would explain a great deal about me. Just kidding! By the time I came along  Mama Bess and Daddy Frank pretty much said.."Aaaah...what the heck, we are tired."

But...what a great question! And wouldn't it be even greater if I could give you a perfect answer? But-- I can't because to be completely honest, I am still a little confused too about the whole "To Spank or Not To Spank" question myself. All I can really do is tell you my personal experience.

I have always been a pretty proud advocate of the "little time behind the woodshed does a body good" theory. I got spankings as a child and while I never really got that whole “this hurts me more than it hurts you" thingy,  I did understand that when Mama Bess got finish giving me a little whippin’ with a switch-- (which btw, she never ask me to go get.. not once..ever...she knew I was too lazy for that)--- it broke her heart and she did it because she loved me and wanted to protect me from something harmful.  And that is just the God's honest truth right there.

And something harmful was not always me running out in the street or not being in the house before dark or touching something hot. It was also being disrespectful, talking back, making a spectacle of myself and generally not “behaving”.  I never got spanked because I didn't make my bed or broke something by accident or got on her nerves. She used spankings to discipline me because that was how she was raised to be disciplined. But when we know better we do better. Mama Bess once told me that the more kids she had the fewer spankings they got because the older kids warned the younger ones, "if you know what's good for you... you will just behave and be done with it." The most important thing Mama Bess taught me was whatever you use for discipline, be consistent.  If it is okay for them to finger paint on your sheets when you are in a good mood, then you can't spank them for finger painting on your sheets when you are in a bad mood and never ever hit any human being or animal in anger. In her later years, during her last days she told me, "I am not sure you should ever hit a child at all, but if you ever do spank one, you better make sure you have loved them enough for them to believe you when you say it hurts you more than them." 

I knew that about Mama Bess. I will come right out and admit that I have said, “a little fear is not necessarily a bad thing” but I realized after I had my own children, I didn't obey my mama because I was afraid of her.  I obeyed her because I loved her and I didn't want her to be disappointed in me. I didn't want to hurt her. I respected this woman who I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt would fight a lion and grizzly bear for me. My mama disciplined her seven children based on how her parents disciplined their twelve children. Times and families change. I have wanted to walk up to a screaming, misbehaving. kicking, spitting child many times and say, "let's me and you go behind the woodshed for about 2 minutes and you will come out a different child" ---(hey..just being honest).  But what the child really needs is to respect his parents, teachers, grandparents and others enough to know that bad behavior is unacceptable. 

Bottom line 'A Little Confused' is this----we all have to make those decisions based on our own personal convictions. But I do know a child with the wrong discipline will be no better off than the child with no discipline and a child who is truly loved will get usually get what he/she needs the most. You asked, "Is there anything in between?" I think that shows you have a open mind and open heart to want to do what is best for your child. A very good place to start!

P.S. The Ninja Squirrels are suckers for new babies and say 'Congrats' and may guardian angels watch over you all!!

Signed~ Squirrely Girl


  1. I wish everyone could have a mother like Mama Bess! She was a unique and loving soul. Your advice hits the nail on the head: consistentcy is key! I don't generally spank my children...the couple times I have, the look of utter disbelief on their little faces about killed me! It truly hurt me more than them. My oldest child actually laughed at me once and asked for more spankings! Lol!

    1. We could look at our youngest with disappointment and he would start to cry. It really is an individual choice and each child is different. What we can be sure of is that raising a hand to anyone or anything in anger or frustration is ALWAYS wrong.

  2. Funny thing is... the Presbyterian Church (USA) at it's General Assembly meeting (every other year, national church gathering) actually debated and narrowly passed an amendment about Corporal Punishment... why? guess because folks in Texas felt it needed to be addressed and a narrow majority agreed with them...

    Anyway... I got spanked as a child... not as often as you might imagine given my smart a@@ behavior as an idgit! However, like you, I wasn't so much afraid of being spanked as I was of disappointing my parents... my ex got the hairbrush (her dad made a paddle after her mom broke the hairbrush over her behind for spitting on the neighbor boy who she liked (ah young love!))...

    Our son would get "attitude adjustments" in the bathroom or somewhere private... when asked if he wanted an attitude adjustment, he'd say "no..." and change his behavior... and NOT when we were angry either...

    I think Mama Bess hit the nail on the head... snort! Sorry... butt she was right... doggone it, did it again!!

    Seriously, I wish Mama Bess could have spoken at the General Assembly and told our church leaders how to deal with this issue before she told them to keep their noses out of it and instead teach some Jesus!

    Anyway... thanks for writing and listening... one final story... one day my son at the age of 4 put ME in Time Out! And I did go... he was correct... I had misbehaved (I know you find that hard to believe)...

    Love ya Squirrely Girl and am praying for Willy's safe return!

    1. I cannot even IMAGINE the Padre misbehaving...(now I have lied and need to go to time out). Time outs would have NEVER worked for me...too much time to use my imagination to get into more trouble. I have actually never seen 'time out' work on any kid. But taking them aside for a little "come to Jesus meeting" has worked a couple of times. "I love it when you sit me and lecture me for 30 minutes about why I should not have done that" said no one EVER. hehe

  3. Dear S.G.
    You are right as rain.In todays society it is a pure pleasure when you see a parent discipline their children in the right way...not just screaming at them or counting.I think a lot of parents are afraid to discipline their kids because there's ALWAY's gonna be some busy body sticking their nose in where it don't belong and reporting them to authorities. Abuse yes... but just a good ol' fashioned butt whuppin' cause they were out of control? I'll cut the switch for them and hold their purse,fishing pole or cell phones etc... They took God and prayer out of schools and then took away corporal punishment because a small minority wanted it and it's usually that same small minority that raise the most hell when their kids are in trouble for not following the rules of life.
    yes discipline with LOVE and be consistant about it.

    1. Could not agree more! Discipline with love...you can't go wrong. :)