I got to do a lot of thinking this week about being a parent and disciplining. We are at a stage with Julietta that is a little hard. She is so understanding that 99% of the time it's so easy to reason with her. My church is very into the Love and Logic parenting and I have come to agree with a lot. They are so much more forgiving and loving than I feel that the Ezzo's are with their older books. The whole premise is giving your children choices that you are ok with but it teaches them to make the right choices and it also validates them as a person very early on. For instance you give them the choice of what they want to drink :milk or juice. You are fine with either but they get to pick. Same as letting them pick their clothes. In my case Julietta always wears dresses but I feel that it is okay because that is really fine with me and in the long run so what if she doesn't wear some of these cute outfits I have for her. But every now and then the choice doesn't work with Julietta. Most often if it comes down to it and I tell her you can choose to obey or you can use to get a discipline she will choose to obey. But there's that one chance that she just holds her ground. Food has become a topic that is hard as well. If it looks funny or not something that she always eats she chooses not to eat even if she's hungry. The problem is most often she will eat snacks somehow inbetween. I have found a book that I am going to go buy that is about the responsibility of the parent and about creating good eating habits for your child. So I am hoping that we can take care of that problem and also establish my part before it affects Ender and so on. I am looking forward to reading this becuase I don't want to have to bribe to eat, and I don't want to discipline over food either. But I'm off on a bunny trail. I feel that we are coming to a point in her life that spanking should be on the way out. I feel that she understands enough that physical discipline should stop soon. It should be only used for very strong boughts of rebellion and straight up defiance. I also think it should be a last resort. She should (and all our other kids) be given the choice to change her actions before that severe of a discipline. Saying that I know that there are still situations that will call for immediate discipline if her safetly is at risk that that will still be a spanking for a while I'm sure.
I know that there are a lot of Christians who believe that spanking is the only and the right way. I do not beleive that this is what Christ is speaking about when he talks about not sparing the rod. I believe that it is done in love and it is more about discipline and guiding of your children than of actual physical punishment. It has been documented and studied that physical discipline can and will cause agression and possible violent actions later in life. Also a child gets to the point where they can break and they will begin to resent you instead of actually learning out of love that what they are doing is wrong. So, all this to say is I'm not against spanking as a whole but I think some parents can take it to an extreme. I also think that there is a age to cut it out and use other forms of discipline. I think my last spanking was around 5 or 6. I have no resentment or embarassment about my disciplines in that area. I also think that sometimes parents can take it to the extreme and it can fastly become a form of abuse. A child should never NEVER be spanked or hit anywhere other than their butt. It should always be done in love as well. If a parent is angry and they hit they are twice as more likely to hit harder than they would if they weren't angry.
Anyway, it just breaks my heart to hear about children who learn to live in fear of the punishment and never learn to obey and respect out of love. A home should be a place where a child feels like they can mess up and know that their parents love them and will help them through their difficult times, not a place where they are so scared to mess up because they will be punished so severely.Should a child ever become afriad of the parents hand? I think not. Is this unconditional love? Aren't we as parents supposed to emulate Christ to our children? Do we fear Christ because we are scared of what He'll do to us, or do we fear Him because we respect Him so much and we know we are so loved and what He has done for us?
I know this is a hot topic but just thinking about it this week I just wanted to put it in writing that I never EVER want my children to fear Randall's or mine hand. They should never be afriad to mess up in front of us because of what will come to them. They should know that when we discipline it is because we love them and because sometimes we all have to get put back on the straight path. Discipline is to teach and train our children in the way of the Lord, it is not to make them become who we want them to be and to "beat" the bad out of them.
It literally hurts my heart and makes me want to cry thinking about children who do not live with love but live in fear.