How do you feel about smacking children? I’m not talking about thrashing them, or belting them or any of the really horrible child abuse cases we read about in the newspapers. I’m talking about the smacks people give to their children “to discipline” them, or to “teach” them.
Before we go any further, I must state that neither MrsM or I have smacked MiniM. We don’t agree with it, and before she was born we discussed discipline and smacking. We made the very firm decision that we wouldn’t smack.
But how would we discipline our child?
We decided we would start early, and right from the start we said “NO” when MiniM was doing something she shouldn’t. And when she was a little older and had reasoning skills, we explained why it was “NO”.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Ha!!! If only. Children can be little buggers at times, and MiniM was no exception. Children like to push the boundaries and test the limits. So we had to think about what ‘punishment’ we would enforce. We had also decided that we wouldn’t contradict each other, and that we would try and be consistent with our reasoning. “NO” meant NO, and that was it.
Often when we are out and about, we see parents with their children saying “NO” over and over, but not doing anything about it. The Children grow up thinking that “NO” is an encouragement for them to do something wrong. Think about that for a moment, and I will give an analogy. (I like them)
Imagine you have started to live in a foreign country, or on Mars. You are learning the language and the customs. Every time you do something (press a button on a control panel), your host tells you to “DO IT”. You think that because you aren’t being stopped from whatever activity you are doing, that “DO IT” is actually a phrase of encouragement, so you continue doing it. Who knows, your host may actually be laughing. The next thing you know, your host has grabbed you by the scruff of the neck, is shaking you and snarling at you, using words that you don’t understand. Do you learn? Either the customs or the language?
Is that scenario familiar? What have you actually learned? You have learned that your host has a terrible temper, and shouts at you and shakes you for no good reason. And now you start to be a little bit scared of him/her.
So, forget all the psycho-babble about damaging children by smacking them. Just look at common sense logic. Back to MiniM.
What did we decide on as an alternative? The naughty step. Everyone has one. Everywhere you go, there’s a step. If you have ever watched that awful SuperNanny programme, you will know the basic concept. If the child has to go to the naughty step, or the naughty corner, they go for as many minutes as the child is old in years. So MiniM would go to the naughty step for 6 minutes. But you have to give fair warnings – and follow through with the threat. Never threaten if you don’t mean to use it!
The way we decide to do the Naughty Step, was we would tell MiniM that her behaviour was naughty and to stop it. If she continued, she got told that she would be going to the naughty step. And if she continued, we counted from one to five. If we got to five, she went to the Naughty Step.
This had the desired effect, and MiniM just had to hear us counting and she stopped the bad behaviour.
Did this work? Yes it did. The only photograph of naughty children on the naughty step is MrsM and her friend. MiniM has never been on the Naughty Step. We have never got to five when counting.
We will sit and talk to MiniM if she has been naughty and tell her how disappointed in her we are. This has the desired effect.
Smacking Children? I don’t think so. I don’t want MiniM to grow up being scared of me. I want her to grow up respecting me, and wanting to make me proud of her. So far she’s doing a great job.
What do you think? Leave some comments.