This post will be a bit like a rag carpet. Bits of denim, terrycloth, and jersey. Bear with me~I'm not that articulate lately. =)
I found a good blog post on spanking [remember the spanking discussion and then more and more of the same discussion? Wow, I've never had so many comments before or since on anything I've written]. You can read the whole article here, but this was my favourite excerpt:
Grace-based discipline can never be taken too far. (Extreme permissiveness, which is neglect, is not a part of grace-based parenting). You cannot teach (discipline) you child with love and grace too much. You can spank too much or too hard, regardless of whether you are angry or not. Consider, is your goal really to get as close as possible to abuse without crossing the line? Why even go near it at all?
This is one of the best 'avoid spanking' arguments I've come across. Really, it is more the statement regarding the positive nature of grace based discipline that I like about it.
If my opinion on spanking were on a continuum, I would say that since that discussion that was so big on here, my opinion has slid further over to the left. I still think spanking fits better in the archaic category than the unethical category, but I'm less comfortable with spanking as an acceptable concept. I've said before that I'm all about adding tools to the parenting toolbox, rather than subtracting them~and I really believe that the 'biggies' as parents are often things we get distracted from by debates such as To Spank or Not To Spank. Biggies like: healthy marriages. Emotional availability. Eating, reading, and playing together. Shelter, clothing, eduction. My mom likes to say, you show up for the job, and you've done 90% of your job as a parent [I'm paraphrasing]. I like to fine tune the remaining 10%, but that is what it is: fine tuning. You show up, you love them, you love your spouse: you've done a fantastic job.
Eating junk food is bad for my kids, but if I feed it to them, I'm not abusing them. I might be if it were ALL I fed them.
I read a research project that showed it wasn't methodology in discipline but rather a balance of authority and emotional connectedness that produces healthy adults. Authority being the opposite of permissive: having reasonable rules, and having the adults enforce the rules, since we are the ones, presumably, with the mature brains and experience to create and sustain boundaries for our kids. Its certainly ridiculous to claim that the opposite of spanking is permissiveness: healthy boundaries can be enforced consistently without anyone hitting anyone else.
I was never an avid or frequent spanker, but since our discussion if my memory serves me, I have not employed this particular tool. I think it shifted something in me, so that I figured it was better to err on the side of caution and not spank at all, in case my kids found it damaging or unethical, unlike me. My experience of being spanked was so benign that I universalized it, but not everyone experiences it that way.
[Added later: scratch that....someone got spanked today...ah, life. Way to keep me ironic]Anyways, I liked this quote in particular. And I linked to the whole article so you could read what else she had to say even though I didn't agree with all of it.