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June 24, 2008

Am I a Bad Parent?

Dannie Discipline is a huge topic and triggers a river of emotion from everyone. I really thought long and hard about writing on this topic, simply because I know where I stand on discipline. Then I read a post about by a mother of 3 that I am just now getting to know. From Twitter, I stumbled upon this article and from there read about the anti-spanking law that Canada is putting into place.

Some parents choose to spank. Some parents choose time-out. Others use alternative methods of removing treasured items of their youngster. Regardless of the method, the final goal is that we raise our children to be understanding of right and wrong; to be respectful of others; and to some extent, follow rules.

As a parent it can be difficult to choose and actually implement the right form of discipline in your home. You will always have criticism. Either you are too soft on your children with time outs, not creating a punishment to fit the crime, so to speak. Other parents are monsters for choosing to spank their children - spank, not abuse - and in choosing this form of punishment will create monsters out of their children. Some parents will choose a combination of tactics.

I wonder, in general, have parents become afraid of disciplining their children - how they feel appropriate - because of what others might think? Now, I know what I have seen and the thoughts I have on the subject, but I am located in one little nook of the U.S. What is the turning point to make parents afraid, or even question their form of discipline?

Discipline has always been a touchy subject for me. I am 34 and was raised at a time where spanking was an appropriate form of discipline. I grew up in a loving family and yes, I was spanked. It was a set discipline. No, I am not a monster. I grew up just like everyone else. Played sports like everyone else. I was even a cheerleader and fought for my - our - country.

When I married and had my first child, I put in place my strategic plan of how I would discipline, without spanking. Now of course as my child grew older and I had my second child, modifications were made to our discipline, and yes, it does include spanking. No, I am still not a monster and my children are energetic, happy, and eating me out of house and home.

No, I do not freely spank my children. I discipline my children in a combination. Do we ever get to spanking? It is a very rare month if I have to spank either one of my children, but they know if they have reached a certain level that spanking is an option that is possible for their crime, so to speak.

Now, I have had the 'power' issue thrown at me several times. Sure, I am the parent, but now with my children older, I have given them the choices. They are in complete control of what choices they make. A poor choice has consequences.

So far, they have chosen to make the right choices. They enjoy time with their friends. Each enjoys time playing video games. My son likes to go roller blading with friends. If they make poor choices, these things go away and if the choice is extreme, then yes they could be spanked.

Am I going to catch grief on how I choose to discipline. Yes. I knew before I began typing the first word. I will catch grief just as someone does when offering their opinion on abortion, their opinion on education, their opinion on gay and lesbian rights. All of these topics are and continue to be controversial because everyone has an opinion.

This is an Original Deep South Moms Blog post. Dannie, mom of a 12 year old and a 7 year old, also blogs at her personal blog The Brunette Blog.

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