This week Huffington Post ran an older post of mine about a fit that Duchess threw in the parking lot of her daycare. For the most part it was well received. The post was actually a year old when they ran it, and it was incredibly interesting to read the comments, most which fairly assumed the fit was recent. From my experience the first time I ran the post about the fit, I knew that some commenters would remark that I should have immediately spanked my daughter. What was new this time around was the extent to which they suggested it. Some even suggested that I should have spanked her so hard that she “couldn't walk for a week,” which I am fairly sure is illegal in every state.
A lot of folks told me that by not immediately hitting my daughter I was sending her down a bad path in life. One even said she would end up exactly like alt-rock singer, Courtney Love. Now leaving aside the fact that Love is a pretty talented and successful woman in spite of her struggles with addiction, I really don’t think that not hitting my child is going to set them on the path of becoming a drug-addicted musician. Now if I bought her an electric guitar and some heroin, that could be trouble.
But like I said. the post was a year old, and I was afforded the unique perspective of reading the comments while knowing this: my daughter hasn't hit her mom or I or anyone else (that I am aware of) since that incident. Sure, she had some struggles before that. I documented them well, which, if we are being honest, is much more likely to lead her down the path of female garage-rock-band lead singer than any ass-beatings I have failed to provide.
Here’s the thing. I've said this before and I will say it again. And again. And again… just like I do with my toddlers. We don’t hit.
Sure, we want to at times. And sure, it is probably effective. If I had taken my daughter and hit her hard enough to scare the daylights out of her the first time she slapped me or her mom, perhaps that would have immediately curbed that behavior and the daycare fit would have been prevented. But what folks don’t seem to understand, perhaps because I haven’t explained it well enough, is that curbing the behavior has always been a secondary or even tertiary goal to Stevie and I. Helping our children become emotionally healthy, teaching them to understand their emotions and be able to cope with them, those have always been our primary goals. We believe… we hope... that good behavior will come from teaching our kids empathy, not out of the fear of consequences for bad behavior.
It doesn’t always work right away, but seeing how my daughter behaves now and how she behaved then, makes me think that perhaps we are on the right track. Because now, when Captain whacks Duchess upside the head, you know what? She doesn't hit back. She looks at him and says. “We don’t hit, Captain.” Then he whacks her again and laughs. OK fine, It’s a slow process, but it is a process we believe in. It is what is right for our family.
Of course, as always, I could be totally wrong. We’re just winging this shit and pretending to know the answers. Maybe I’ll hold off buying her those toddler guitar lessons for now.
Thanks again for reading. I truly appreciate all of your feedback, even when you tell me I’m wrong. And if you spank your kids I don’t think you are horrible or that I am a better parent than you. We’re all finding our own way. Spanking is just not for us. Please come say hello on Facebook and Twitter!