Monday, November 14, 2011

Violence In The Home

This quote below really tells how I feel about "gentle discipline" and why, even though I struggle, I will not strike my child out of frustration, anger, or the desire to instill discipline or boundaries in him.
"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.
The mother took the boy onto her lap and they both cried. Then she laid the rock on a shelf in the kitchen to remind herself forever: never violence. Because violence begins in the nursery - one can raise children into violence." -From a peace prize acceptance speech given by Astrid Lindgren, author of Pippi Longstocking
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.)


  1. I have used spanking sparingly... and after reading that story it breaks my heart. I have wanted to change my ways to a more gentle discipline, but it is hard to break the more harsh discipline once it has been started because it becomes the only thing that is effective. Before I get a lot of guff from people though, please realize I have done nothing illegal or permanently damaging. My kids are always allowed to explain themselves... and I am seeking counseling from someone more experienced to change things around to be more healthy.

  2. I understand how hard it is to change tactics and mindsets and I am not judging you. I said in the blog that I struggle, and I do. I have grabbed my son roughly when frustrated with his relentless misbehaving and acting out. I have yelled and been rough. And these are things I want to change. It's really really hard.

    There are some amazing books out there- I highly recommend playful parenting. You can also join a web community of people all trying the same things- to the right there is a button for the natural parenting group. I highly recommend this supportive community!


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