"When I was about twenty years old, I met an old pastor's wife who told me that when she was young and had her first child, she didn't believe in striking children, although spanking kids with a switch pulled from a tree was standard punishment at the time.
But one day when her son was four or five, he did something that she felt warranted a spanking--the first in his life. And she told him he would have to go outside and find a switch for her to hit him with. The boy was gone a long time. And when he came back in, he was crying.
He said to her, 'Mama, I couldn't find a switch, but here's a rock you can throw at me.' All of the sudden a mother understood how the situation felt from the child's point of view: that if my mother wants to hurt me, it makes no difference what she does it with; she might as well do it with a stone.
Actions are not the only things that are violent- words can be violent, too. Thinking before we speak, especially to impressionable children, is so important. I struggle with this as well as allowing my son to have his voice in our home.
Allowing our children to say things to us that may be uncomfortable is important. I believe that children are equals- not necessarily in experience, but in value. All too often, people treat children like property, or burdens, or second-class citizens, all because they have lived less time on the planet (in this lifetime, anyway!). I want my child to feel comfortable telling me anything. And so I listen. Often at this stage, when he is trying to get his feelings and ideas expressed in so few words, I must coax and offer new words and ideas to help us understand one another.*
What are your feelings on this topic? Do you believe spanking (or other corporal punishment) is violence? Why or why not?
*He is learning new words every day and just starting sentences! His first sentence ever was, "I did it!", said in a very proud voice. Sadly, it was not something his mama wanted to do (dump the dog's water), but he was so excited, I had to laugh.)