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Spankings and rubber band discipline

in Life Lessons, Parenting

I am a spanker. Spanking is not my first line of discipline, but I have no problem putting my hand across my child’s bottom as a consequence for disobedience.

Each of my kid’s learn in a different way. My daughter is best disciplined through timeout. Time to herself both allows her to calm down and it gives her time to think about what she did. That temporary separation works wonders.

Image by giselaroyo on

My middle child “gets it” best when he is grounded from his video games. Every time he wants to turn them on, I ask him if he remembers why he is grounded from them.

But my youngest, well, his ears are currently connected straight to his bottom. He will actually laugh in my face when I correct him because he can’t tell when I am playing and when I am serious… until my hand hits the bottom. Even when I warn him that it is coming, his ears seem to require that sting on his behind. After a swat or two, the tears start flowing, and the apologies begin. Then there is a timeout and an explanation with hugs and kisses.

But I must admit, after that last child abuse video came out on YouTube, I was taken aback. I watched it. I sat through the entire thing thinking that, what I really wanted to gain was the ability to say that this was not abuse, this was discipline. But what I gained was something entirely different.

What Arkansas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams did was abuse. Plain and simple. Spanking, however, can be done with love as a means of correction. Done correctly, spanking is done by a calm and loving parent without screams, anger, or hatred.

After watching that video, soul searching, praying, and crying, I decided to give myself a little reminder of my purpose and role as a parent. I pulled a rubber band from my drawer, and I put it around my wrist. Now, every time I get angry (which ABSOLUTELY does happen), I give myself a pop.

I have had days where the inside of my wrist was red and swollen. Those are the days filled with fights, screams, pushing, and other random forms of arguing between my kids. Those are the days when all three come running down the stairs with fingers pointing, fists flying, and each trying to stay one octave above their sibling. Those are the days that my home sounds more like a Jurassic Park than Wonderland.

Those are the really, really bad days.

But my rule is that as long as my wrist hurts from my popping, I don’t spank. I will not spank in anger of frustration. I will remain in control of myself and my emotions. I will not change my belief that spanking is an acceptable form of discipline when done correctly, but I now have a means of double-checking my intention prior to disciplining my little screaming pterodactyls.

What about you? How do you discipline your kids? What reminders do you have in place to keep your emotions under control?

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