But we're going to sort out how to make it not feel good.
To start this conversation I should let you know that our family is pursuing a No Yelling, No Spanking approach to discipline. For families with the self-control and self-discipline enough to carry it out effectively without going overboard... do what you gotta do. For families whose kids only respond to aggression... do what you gotta do. I've seen some of my friends spank their kids before and it works for them: the kids are just fine, they live, they aren't hurt, they learn their lesson, they love mommy & daddy just as much as ever, they move on, and I don't judge. But for us, yelling and spanking is not an option that's on the table.
Here's why: I grew up in a family whose discipline methods were on the aggressive side; who had a tough time separating themselves from anger when something really pushed them to the edge, and had a rough go with keeping their cool in those situations. And because of that upbringing, it's quite simple for me to slip into an over-the-top yelling match with intimate objects (vacuums, etc) if I'm not careful. And what if I opened up that door with my child? Do I want to talk to her like I talk to my annoying vacuum that unplugs itself every time I get in a cleaning groove? (And do I want to talk to my vaccuum like that?) (Seriously though, it's like my vacuum has a stinking mind of its own. It just unplugs from the wall. When I'm vacuuming No matter how much cord is available. But I digress.)
Two days ago, The Caterpillar got all mixed up in my legs while I was trying to prepare dinner. She got stuck and threw something because she was frustrated and tried to bite my legs. Way uncool, Caterpillar. And I yelled. I said "STOP! MOMMY IS TRYING TO DO SOMETHING!" and I picked her up and put her in a corner and... then I felt like a pile of poop. Way uncool, mama. Immediately I apologized, to her and to myself, and vowed that would not be happening again.
A few months ago I read about The Orange Rhino Challenge, which really confirmed the decision to avoid yelling & spanking at all costs. The Orange Rhino Challenge was made by a mama who decided to go 365 days without yelling after being totally embarrassed when caught screaming at her kids by a handyman.
Sometimes I think it takes something kind of drastic - something that stops us in our tracks to say, "hey, is this who I really want to be?" - that inspires that kind of change. Getting caught in the act by a stranger in your home? That would do it.
Encouragingly, this previously fly-off-the-handle mom has now gone 497 days without yelling. With four kids! You know what that means? It means that she has disciplined four kids (four BOYS) without yelling, for 497 days. And that with one child, one little
And instead of waiting until something drastic happens to stop me in my tracks, I'll just stop before I start.
So there we are: a big decision. There will be no yelling at, and no spanking The Caterpillar.
Phew. That one's done. Now to put it into action.
What is your family's decision when it comes to discipline? Have you tried to avoid spanking & yelling? What worked? What didn't? I'd love to know!
PS: Like I said above, if you do choose to yell/spank, power to ya. There is no judgement or criticism from this end of the table. Let's unite as parents and support each other's choices: as long as the health & safety of our kiddos is our no. 1 priority, we're doing it right.