Before we start lets clarify what a spanking is; one sharp moderate strike to the bum which will leave a mark for no longer than a few hours. This does not fall into the category of beating which is dished out in anger and involves numerous strikes with force.
If you are a parent then I am sure just like all parents you dish out punishment on a regular basis. The severity of the punishment is dependent on a number of factors. How many times have you given a warning to the child, how severe is the misbehaviour, how much sleep haven't you had, is the discretion a repeat offence that the child has received punishment for before and a multitude of other factors.
As a parent you would have no doubt tried every recommended disciplinary method that the 'experts' (a lot of the time the 'experts' do not have children of their own!) suggest. Due to the quite common situation that no one child is the same as the other, you will find that the various methods don't always work out as they should.
When Bella was younger, under two, we introduced her to the counting method which precedes any form of punishment. This is a simple process whereby we would notice her behaving in an undesirable fashion and warn her to stop before something undesirable would happen to her. Undesirable for her would range from a verbal scolding, to time out and a spanking if all else had failed.
Upon noticing the bad behaviour we would request her compliance with the instruction to cease and desist. When she invariably failed to observe this instruction we would begin counting backwards from three. Now being the clever little monkey that she is she would count with us so we could see how clever she is. Thus every time that we counted for Bella she would only comply after one. Eden on the other hand has learnt very quickly about what happens to non-compliant children and will generally cease and desist the moment I have said three.
What I have found through my own experience is that the younger they are the more you have to use spanking to get them to comply. I feel that this is due to the fact that you cannot reason with a child under a certain age. This age cannot be pinpointed as each child is different. The way I have seen that we can move away from spanking with Bella is courtesy of the ability that we now have to reason with her. The term reason is used very broadly as I am sure that I will feel that Bella is being unreasonable at times right up until she leaves home.
How I noticed that she is ready to move away from spanking was a few months ago when I was scolding her in her bedroom for some or other lapse in discipline. I was trying to chat to her first before resorting to a spanking. I asked her something and she rolled her eyes at me and didn't answer. I reacted by telling her I didn't want to talk to her and that she must get out of my sight. She was devastated to say the least. She went through to Julia and whilst sobbing uncontrollably told her that daddy said get out of his sight. After a little while when I went through to her she was extremely remorseful and willing to listen and respond as expected.
What people fail to understand with regards to the whole spanking issue is that it is not the spanking that causes them to comply it is the belief that you will spank them if necessary. You will not damage them permanently, you may leave a slight red mark but this will heal. The red mark will also not compare in the slightest to the other scrapes and bruises that they inflict on themselves during the course of the day.
Your little terrorists will bring the worst out in you. Just the other night Bella had really been pushing my buttons for a good few hours. As we are moving away from spanking her I was really reluctant to resort to this. I had given her numerous warnings that she was heading in this direction. After one too many indiscretions I grabbed her by the arm and led her to the bathroom to receive what I told her she had been asking for. When we got to the bathroom she put her hands over her bum and said no daddy. I asked her why I should not and she replied that I shouldn't as it would hurt. So I took her balloon that Julia had given to her earlier and popped it in front of her.
I know it was mean of me but it had the desired effect. She was crushed and went sobbing to her room. Julia poked her head in to find Bella crying and hyperventilating at the same time whilst clutching her heart. After five minutes I went in there and explained to Bella that the pain she felt is the same that mommy and daddy feel when she misbehaves. We now have an understanding that when she is getting out of line I must remind her of the balloon incident and she will stop; I have yet to see this work in practice.
It goes without saying that as a parent you are really reluctant to inflict any kind of hurt or pain on to your child; physical or psychological. However there are many occasions when you are required to so that they learn what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. What the parenting books do not tell us parents about the discipline issue, is that no matter how justified you are in dishing out your chosen form of punishment, you will feel a lot worse than your little one. You will spend hours wondering if you are in fact the worst parent on the planet. You will feel guilty because you yelled at your child and you will wonder if you are the only one that is such an ogre.
Then one evening you will be sitting on the toilet trying to get some peace and quiet, then from one of the neighbour's houses you will hear sweet sounds to your ears. These sounds will help you feel that you are a normal parent like everyone else just trying to do their best. What you will hear will be something along the lines of the following, all shouted at the top of their voices. "WHY DO YOU MAKE ME SHOUT AT YOU LIKE THIS! HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU NOT TO THROW THINGS AT YOUR SISTER DO YOU WANT ME TO SMACK YOU? GO TO YOUR ROOM UNTIL YOU CAN BE A NICE CHILD!!!!"
You will smile to yourself and think we are all in the same boat. As long as you give your little one a cuddle and explain to them why they got punished they will still love you just as much if not more than before. The reason we punish is because we care and before you had children you would never have understood why your parents would tell you before they punished you as a child that it was going to hurt them more...