Tara Kennedy-Kline's Blogs

Tara Kennedy-Kline
Ok…I’m on a forum with a bunch of “experts” who are arguing the points of “to spank or not to spank”. They are throwing out research & statistics, contradictions and insults…but not one of them is willing to concede one tiny point to the other’s argument and no one even thinks to offer a solution or alternative, and they wonder why they aren’t being heard!

Aren’t they kind of “spanking” one another?

When a child is spanked, they react. Typically by crying, and the spanker sees this reaction as a realization of the child knowing they did something wrong, or “learning their lesson”.

But something else happens when child is spanked. They are hurt. They feel vulnerable, scared, offended, and bad. So they cry. As a child matures, those feelings deepen into weakness, disrespect, humiliation, distrust and anger…and sometimes, they still cry.

People fight so passionately against spanking because they empathize with the feelings of being hurt, disrespected, weakened and humiliated (among others). NOT because they feel children should not have discipline…they just feel that discipline is about teaching and guiding, not degrading and hurting.

Parents who spank fight passionately for spanking because, typically, they are put in a position to have to defend their actions. Ironically, they themselves are made to feel disrespected, angry, offended, guilty and bad…so they defend their position to the end.

There is a huge difference between forcing a child to bare their bottom and striking them on it as a normal course of punishment, and the knee jerk reaction of swatting a kid on the hand or covered bottom once or twice throughout their childhood.

But when “non-spankers” turn on any type of strike as horrible and bad, we bring out the defensiveness of blame, shame and guilt that makes parents either hide their truth or defend all hitting in all cases…which gives the abusive spanker ammunition and muddies the waters of acceptable discipline.

How is it that the so called experts are so oblivious to what they are creating? Look at what happened to breast feeding! The boob nazi’s became so passionate in their quest to save all infant mouths from anything artificial, that many moms became afraid to attend a meeting if their baby used a pacifier or heaven forbid a bottle!!! So many good, breast feeding, paci using moms felt guilty and wrong so they went into hiding and the Anti paci’s got the knowledge, support and community of their boob bully friends.

We are doing the same thing with discipline! Are we not smart enough to understand that UNDERSTANDING and education is what we all need? If you fail a test do you drop the class? If you let your mother feed the baby a bottle, do you stop breast feeding? If you swat your 11 year old upside the head for mouthing off at his aunt, do you stop parenting? C’mon people…let’s be realistic and get smart. Parents make mistakes just like kids and not every smack can be called abuse. So, if we’re going to stop abusive parenting, we need to stop abusing each other first.

Tara Kennedy-Kline, Author
Stop Raising Einstein. Discover the Unique Brilliance in Your Child…and You!
Tara Kennedy-Kline
I understand the passion behind a good spanking. I feel the urgency of the Mom trying desperately to get out the door while her toddler kicks his shoes toward my face for the third time and the older 2 argue over who gets to sit behind moms seat in the car…I feel the heat in my face as think to myself “Holy Crap! I swear I’m gonna beat all 3 of you!”

I’ve been there…in that moment…I get it! But the difference is, my kids don’t get it…the beating that is.

Instead, I take a deep breath, put the toddler’s shoes in the diaper bag and tell the older two that if they don’t be quiet and get in the car, they’ll hear what yelling really sounds like and I’ll get to pick the radio station!

What my kids did get was the best of me in that moment. It may not have been pretty, or perfect or even calm…but it was the best I was going to get. It was the me that I would want them to copy. The me that can teach them a lesson in self control and self discipline without losing it or hurting them.

I guess that’s what I don’t understand about physical discipline. I mean I got hit (spanked, swatted, butt warmed…whatever cutsie name is vogue for hitting these days)
And I can honestly say, that was NOT the best of my parents. When I see a friend spank their kid, or a parent at the mall, or at the playground…I don’t think to myself “I’m sure that is the best that parent could do in that moment.” I think to myself…”There has got to be a better part of them that could have solved that issue.”

Why do we allow our fellow parents to be less than their best when teaching, guiding or disciplining their kids? Why do we allow ourselves as parents to be less than our best in that moment when we are supposed to be the model?

I guess that’s why I choose not to hit my kids…and why I choose to speak up when I see someone I care about hitting theirs…because we are grown ups. We are parents and we are better than that; and don’t we all want to teach our kids to always be the best they can be?