Monday, January 11, 2010

Swats and Spanks

Yes, we spank our kids! Before I really got into the GKGW and Moms' Notes material I really felt I was spanking for almost every wrong behavior my kids were doing. I was was frustrated and they were frustrated and really no positive changes were coming from all the swats. Then I re-listened to "First Time Obedience" form Moms' Notes and had a major "ah ha" moment! Carla Link (Mom's Notes author) even said it herself, "parents tend to spank their kids way too much and for the wrong things".

In our home we now only spank for first time obedience offenses. In other words, I tell the kids to do something and if they directly disobey my instructions, they'll get a swat for disobeying (well, I first send them to their room and they can sit on their bed until they are ready to obey my instructions, then they get a swat for not obeying me first time after they followed through on my instructions). I tell Anna to stay on her bed and she directly disobeys me and gets off her bed - she gets a swat. I call Owen's name and he directly disobeys my instructions of coming when his name is called and takes of the other way, he'll get a swat...I've got plenty of examples I could share...If you want to have first time obedience with your kids and the act of submission that is required of your children, then you need to consider swatting your kids if you are having trouble with them not obeying you first time.

So it made me think the other day how my kids do a pretty good job obeying me while at home but when we are out in public or around other people in our house or theirs, their level of obedience drops! Why? I figured it was because in those situations they know (yes, our kids are that smart!) that mom won't give me a swat here because other people are I got smart too! So, now when my kids are openly disobedient when we are in public, I say "I'm sorry you made the choice not to obey mommy first time. When we get home you will get a swat". And the most important thing of all is - when you say you are going to give your kid a swat when you get home then by all means when you get home, make sure to give your child their swat.

Are you feeling that your spankings or swats or whatever your family chooses to call them are not working? That you are not seeing improved behavior in your children because of them or that they are not taking your spankings seriously - maybe it's because you are not swatting hard enough. Yes, a spanking should sting and be the Ezzo's say, without pain your chastisements will be ineffective. (They aren't only referring to physical pain...) And remember that if your child still wears a diaper, they do have some extra padding there so make sure you are considering that when you do give your swat.

So since we only spank for disobedience what do we do for other behavior that needs correction. A wonderful tool called "Logical Consequences". This has made a huge difference in our family and has eliminated a lot of frustration, especially for Mark and me. I'll talk more about logical consequences another time.

As a side note: Moms and Dads, we should never spank our children when we are they are out of control. Make sure you are calm, not frustrated, angry, upset, whatever negative feeling you may have before you ever give a swat. Also, your child needs to be in self control. They shouldn't be screaming, kicking, rolling around on the floor, have a tantrum...they need to be calm and accept their swat. If your child is not in self control, you leave them in their room on their bed until they have self control (no matter how long it takes!) and then once self control you then give the swat. And when giving a swat, you should really only need to do one or two swats. We always end in prayer asking Jesus to help us be more obedient and to help us make the right choices.

How are you managing your child's behavior in public? What things do you do when your kids misbehave and spanking is not an option?

** Remember to pick the top 4 things that drive you nuts about your kid's behavior and just focus on those so you don't get overwhelmed. And if you don't have first time obedience, then you really should only be swatting for disobedience. And the thing I have to remember is to stay/be consistent. We just instituted a "no tolerance policy" at our house (of course context is considered!!!) where for example, we say to the kids that there is to be no talking or making noise when they are in bed for the night and now we swat right away for talking. We don't wait a few minutes hoping it quiets down. Yes it's inconvenient for us right now, but I'm hoping in a few days when it's time for bed, and kids are in their beds they will be quiet. (this is an issue we are having specifically with Anna right now...and in your home you maybe okay with talking/singing quietly in their beds, which is just fine. Just at our house, when my kids are in bed, I want them to be quiet.)


  1. People used to think it was necessary to "spank" adult members of the community, military trainees, and prisoners. In some countries they still do. In our country, it is considered sexual assault if a person over the age of 18 is "spanked", but only if over the age of 18.

    For one thing, buttock-battering can vibrate the pudendal nerve, which can lead to sexual arousal in some people. There are numerous other physiological ways in which it can be sexually abusive, but I won't list them all here. One can use the resources I've posted if they want to learn more.

    Child bottom-battering/slapping vs. DISCIPLINE:

    Child bottom-battering (euphemistically labeled "spanking","swatting","switching","smacking", "paddling",or other cute-sounding names) for the purpose of gaining compliance is nothing more than an inherited bad habit.

    Its a good idea for people to take a look at what they are doing, and learn how to DISCIPLINE instead of hit.

    I think the reason why television shows like "Supernanny" and "Dr. Phil" are so popular is because that is precisely what many (not all) people are trying to do.

    There are several reasons why child bottom-slapping isn't a good idea. Here are some good, quick reads recommended by professionals:

    Plain Talk About Spanking
    by Jordan Riak,

    The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children
    by Tom Johnson,

    by Lesli Taylor M.D. and Adah Maurer Ph.D.

    Most compelling of all reasons to abandon this worst of all bad habits is the fact that buttock-battering can be unintentional sexual abuse for some children. There is an abundance of educational resources, testimony, documentation, etc available on the subject that can easily be found by doing a little research with the recommended reads-visit the website of Parents and Teachers Against Violence In Education at

    Just a handful of those helping to raise awareness of why child bottom-slapping isn't a good idea:

    American Academy of Pediatrics,
    American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
    American Psychological Association,
    Center For Effective Discipline,
    Churches' Network For Non-Violence,
    Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
    Parenting In Jesus' Footsteps,
    Global Initiative To End All Corporal Punishment of Children,
    United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    In 26 countries, child corporal punishment is prohibited by law (with more in process). In fact, the US was the only UN member that did not ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  2. I am not " buttock- battering" my children. They get one swat on their bottom for only direct disobedience. Marks or bruises are never left. And when done properly (ie both parent & child have self control) it is a Biblical sound form of corrction. The problem is most parents are not spanking correctly and this is why other organiztions & governments are needing to get involved.