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Jesus Needs New PR

The following post is from My Daddy Blog.

Jessica and I don’t spank Elias.

And that was a big deal for me. Raised Baptist, “spanking up” a kid in the way he/she should go was the only way to properly raise a child. Spanking was as Christian as potlucks and believing in the Trinity. To not spank was to some Baptists as crazy or immoral as abusing a kid. People who didn’t spank weren’t doing their kids any favors and in fact, hurting their chances of being proper adults.

That message was preached over and over from the pulpit. And you know? Sadly, I sometimes have felt guilty for not obeying that old spanking rule.

I’ve read a lot of blog posts about spanking. And often (not always), the first reason that parents cite for why they spank their children is often: “I was spanked and it didn’t hurt me!” or “I was spanked and I turned out all right! LOL…”

Rarely do they say that they think “spanking” is the BEST form of discipline. Maybe they think that’s the case, but they don’t “say” that too often. Mostly their reasons for spanking revolve around defending the act and not about what’s best for their child. If they’re Christians, they quote scripture and usually it’s misused or out of context.

I was spanked as a child. And here’s the thing: While being spanked didn’t hurt me (well, it did in the moment, since my father used a thick wide black belt, but ultimately I guess it didn’t…), I’m pretty sure it didn’t actually “help” me either. It didn’t deter me from doing wrong. It mostly just made me better at learning how not to get caught. And it also caused me to become a good bit afraid of my father.

I also think (my opinion, of course) that spanking is often lazy parenting (again, not always), but it doesn’t promote the “good behavior” and only punishes the “bad.” Spanking doesn’t teach kids or direct them. It doesn’t explain the why or the how or the what behind their actions. And too, the handful of moments when Elias is acting up to the point that “spanking him” crosses my mind for a moment, I honestly think in THOSE moments the “spanking” would be more for my benefit than for Elias’s.

And I want to do what’s best for Elias. I want to help Elias know the difference between right and wrong without being afraid of me. I want to teach him good things and bad things without using pain to make it sink in… and Elias is such a good, bright, curious kid with a sweet spirit and I don’t want to do anything that might hurt those parts of his personality… I want to do things that enhance them.

Now, is that easy? No. Not at all. It’s hard. And frustrating. And time consuming. And sometimes exhausting…

But Elias is my kid. And its Jessica and my responsibility to help him grow up. That’s our most important job–to train him up in the way he should go. And I think that can be done without spanking.

And I refuse to feel guilty for that.

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