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Domestic CP - December 2002


The Calgary Sun, Alberta, 9 December 2002


Hand Of Discipline

By Tamara Yourth

Parental dilemma: To spank or not to spank?

I had a meltdown recently. We had just finished supper one night and I was tidying the kitchen and encouraging my eight year-old Jaxan to get at his homework.

First he couldn't find a pencil, then he had a joke he wanted to tell me, and then he stared at the same page for five minutes without picking the pencil up once.

By the time I'd finished washing the pans, loading the dishwasher and wiping the counters, Jax had still not written one word. I started my usual lecture about attitude being half the game and the fact that homework is a part of life, a life where you succeed and make something of yourself.

"Mommy, stop it! I don't need to hear that AGAIN!" His voice was raised and angry and he went on, "I hate homework, I have to spend six hours at school, then I have homework, when do I get to do something I want to do?"

It wasn't like he had a lot of homework to do. He might have been finished already if he hadn't been so busy sassing me.

I warned him that if he didn't change his tone, he would be punished.

He got louder and angrier and finally I decided enough was enough and I gave him a swat on the bum.

I have spanked Jaxan on two occasions in his life. The other time he was three years old and determined to run into the street.

This time, he howled loud enough to be heard a block away. "Mommy, you said there is only one reason to ever hit someone else and that's if you're defending yourself."

I went to my room, shut the door and had a little cry. Later, I explained to Jaxan that I had not spanked him in anger, that I was disciplining him, and I told him I loved him.

But all night long, I wondered if I'd done something wrong. A few days later I turned on the TV and Dr. Phil told me I had done something wrong.

There is a lot of controversy over the spanking issue and to be honest until recently, I could have supported either side. When Jax was three and I had tried everything else, spanking him was what finally stopped him from going on the road.

I am always consistent; I warn once and follow through -- every time. Jaxan knows exactly what is expected of him. And I have to say that he almost always lives up to my expectations -- he is a very good boy.

But inevitably any kid will test the rules.

After a few weeks of it really bothering me, of a lot of soul searching, I came to the decision that what I had done was wrong for Jaxan and me. I'm not saying spanking, when done in the proper manner, is wrong.

I told Jax I was wrong and would never again spank him -- but added there would always be consequences to bad behaviour.

Jax thought for a minute and said, "Mommy, what if I prefer the spanking? It does get the punishment over quickly."

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