Letter from Tammy, posted with her permission, expresses her personal views and experiences about effective discipline for children. Tammy lives in Memphis, Michigan, USA.
I would like to say that I was in agreement with corporal punishment, up until I met the Lord, Jesus Christ. There are many who will disagree with me, and that's ok. But for myself and my husband, we were married young, and had 3 children, 3 years in a row, and we learned at a later time, that we were spanking out of anger, and lack of control of mostly ourselves.
I remember our children being afraid of us, and hiding, or stuffing their pants with extra underwear or something cushy to soften the blow.
We never used any objects to spank with, only our hands, and we never hit anywhere else on the body, so we thought that was ok. It wasn't until our oldest was in the 8th grade that we found a new way of discipline, and that was found through the love of Jesus Christ.
Our family was being ministered to by a Christian couple who taught us that "love" conquers all. They taught us when one of our children are throwing a complete fit, to go from behind them and wrap our arms around them until the fit subsides. This is not to squeeze a child to death, but to embrace them, and be patient enough to wait until their body relaxes and you feel the tension release.
I have to admit, we thought this was a crock of baloney, and that our children were going to walk all over us, but we were at the end of our rope, and nothing we were doing worked anyway. We thought that spanking our children worked, but all it really did was instill fear, resentment, bitterness, hatred, and a whole lot of ugly things that a child shouldn't have in their heart.
Reluctantly, we tried it.
I remember the first time, my daughter was 13 years old and was screaming at me, and charging toward me to hit me as she had done in the past. I quickly ran up behind her and bear-hugged her, (the reason to get behind the child is so they can't hit or kick/bite you). She was screaming, and spitting, and thrashing her body. We actually fell to the ground, but I never let go. I thought I had used every ounce of strength in me, but I wasn't going to give up.
What seemed like hours finally subsided, as she yelled how much she hated me. I responded with "I LOVE YOU".
Finally, she settled, her body relaxed, and she cried. At that point of being totally exhausted physically, she was then able to turn around and let me hold her while she cried and settled down. After that, we were able to talk in a normal tone, and rationalize the situation.
This is not to say that there are not consequences for poor behavior, but you have to instill respect first, for both the child and the parent. We were lacking both. That was the best piece of information that we have ever received, because we were no longer screaming to get our points across, or spanking to get results.
Slowly, our home became a very peaceful place. But we worked hard at [it]. We met regularly with the Christian couple who were much older than us, and who were experienced. We got into a good church, and made a supreme effort to attend every week. We are still there today.
So for you who are struggling with options that don't seem to work, give love, kindness, gentleness, peace, and most important, give Jesus Christ a try.
Just to let you know, our children did not walk all over us, or become unruly brats, but learned respect of authority, and others. It has been a successful plan ever since, and we haven't had to give any bear hugs in a long time.
NOTE: Information pages on this site were based on material from the Canadian Red Cross RespectED Training Program. Written permission was obtained to use their copyrighted material on this site.
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