Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Parental Guilt

Okay, so I have been handling this one with velvet gloves. But, it is time I come clean. I am a strictitarian. I don't know if that is really a genuine Webster certified word but I think it pretty much sums up my disciplinary philosophy when it comes to kiddos. I am strict and frankly I expect immediate attention whenever I ask something of my children. Am I strict about everything? No! Elbows are occasionally on the table at dinner time. I let them get away without saying "Yes, mam" or "No Sir" too often. And many times, I just let them run around and scream like a wild hoard of twerps. After all, they are kids. They need to be kids. When it comes to being strict, I am strict about them listening to me. What I say goes. When I say jump, I expect them to say "How High?" And, darn it, someone in this household is going to listen to me;)

I believe that kids should be given room to be kids - to laugh and joke, to run and play, to be chaotic. After all, that is half the fun of being kids. However, they have to learn right from wrong, safe from unsafe, and responsibility. They need to learn when to be kids and when to be little ladies and gentleman. Perhaps, I am expecting too much for Ainsley and Graham, but for Sydney I expect her to know the difference. She is 7. She is of age. And, I expect her to listen when I tell her to do something. This does not always go so well. And sometimes ends in a spanking.

I think a parent, at least me, feels guilt for spanking a child. Although I don't do it very often it always leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It works. Oh, it works great! The problem is that I always feel that I could have achieved the same goal by using another, less lazy and easy method. I feel I could have been a better parent.

I don't like it.

Sometimes though, after screaming temper tantrums, slammed doors, a rash of timeouts and everything else I could think of, it ends in a spanking. Again, the spanking works but, what could I have done differently.

I should probably mention that I am also dealing with some cancer guilt here as well.

It pangs my heart every time. I feel like I done everything I possibly could to keep her in this world. I begged. I pleaded. I prayed. We fought neuroblastoma for God's sake. And then, I disrespect what I have been given by giving a spanking.

See, I told you I had guilt issues.

But how, as a parent, do I do better? When it really hits the fan and the child really needs a spanking, what do you do? When all else has failed? When time has run out? When they just have to be good right now? What do you do?

Being a parent isn't easy.

But I couldn't think of it any other way.

We will get through it.

It is my purpose.


Anonymous said...

Don't feel guilty. You are doing what you think is best to bring your children up in a very undisciplined world. Your children will be all the better for your strictness when they grow up. It's too bad more children don't have parents who aren't afraid to discipline. It would make life a lot easier on teachers everywhere! You have very happy, well-behaved children. That's nothing to feel guilty about!

Gayle in AL

Anonymous said...

I think your heart is telling you not to spank your kids. Take care.

sherri said...

I don't have any advice for you because I think all thinking parents have had this internal conversation at one time or another. I console myself (rationalizing?) with the knowledge that other avenues of discipline have been considered or put into place prior to spanking and the corporal punishment was applied with forethought, not simply a knee jerk reaction or a one-size-fits-all approach to correction.