Tail Trouble


I don't know about your perfect children, but the perfect children in this house go through these cycles of testing.  We'll all be one big-happy-kissing-smiling-family for awhile, then all of the sudden they growl and stretch and their clothes pop open and green monsters come out!  They decide they're the bosses of their world.  So we spank 'em give them time-outs for awhile and then they shrink back into happy, kissing, smiling kids again. 

Well...let me just tell ya'.  We're in  spanking  time-out season around here, folks. 

I gave three...count them....THREE spankings time-outs tonight during and after church. (Then more of the fun to follow later at home while Daddy was gone to a meeting!)  You might say I wasn't giving hard enough time outs if a repeat performance was necessary.  But trust me, the time outs were sufficient.  My kids are just hard-tailed  headed, I guess.  (I had this most amazing, wonderfully rare pediatrician in Alabama.  I told him once that my hardest-tailed kid had laughed when I spanked her.  He told me, "Well, then - you're probably not spanking hard enough!"  He was so cool and great and actually respected a mom's intuition. Our first pediatrician was also cool - and very "old school."  He recommend a little shot of whiskey to cure what ails 'em.) 

Oh mercy...I digress.  Wasn't I talking about time outs?  Or....something.

I do think the strange schedule this week and just not quite enough sleep are big factors.  But whatever it is that sends them into their green-monster-stage,  I have come to almost enjoy these seasons of testing.  Okay.  Enjoy is too strong-a-word.  I have hope in the midst of tribulations and testings.  One really encouraging thing is we're getting to experience with our oldest (who is 7) the peaceful results of hard work in the very early years.  And consistency most certainly pays off.  After they've put their tiny little hinys over the line enough times that they remember how things work in their world, they settle back down into a more contented security again. And kid perfection is once again resumed. (If you don't know I'm kidding, you are most certainly new to my blog.) One of my blessed children (not the one who was screaming in the church nursery - the other perfect one) actually stuck her finger in her ear (!) while I was giving her the "obeying-mommy-and-God-and-I-love-you-so-much-before-a-spanking" talk.  Guess the little spitfire didn't have the courage to stick both fingers in. But one was enough for this mama.  Let's just say the talking stopped and now she understands that THAT's not a bit of disrespect she ever wants to try again.

 Dr. Dobson talks about how much more secure kids are with firm, well-marked boundaries.  I totally agree.
Because I'm a bit of a chicken, my mind is whirling even as I write, trying to second-guess all of you parents out there who may be inclined to load up your perfect-parenting-pistols and mentally shoot me with all kinds of theologies and philosophies and formulas and ways to avoid the testing cycle.  And maybe I agree with you on all of it.  But I don't have time or energy to explain my whole parenting philosophy tonight.  I will say that I believe in heart-and-grace-based parenting, peppered with the lovingly-applied-rod as necessary.  And I know my Momma is right.  I am the best mom for my kids.  I know them and understand them (as well as you can understand a pack of monkey hyenas.) And like I said, I am okay with these toe-over-the-line-testing seasons.  'Cuz they're finding out that they can trust us to mean what we say. 

I remember my mom teaching us about how kids almost always come to you for reassurance and affection after a discipline session.  But it still amazes me how (if done effectively) after the weeping and wailing stops, their hearts are softer and closer and more open.  They don't all express this in the same way, but it still boggles my mind.  As my mom says, "Trust the Maker's instructions."

Comments

Angie Davis said…
Thank you, JESUS--I'm not the only one whose children have been impersonating rabid wildebeests lately. I feel better now, Sarah--almost as good as I'll feel when everyone hear stops hacking and puking and we can have our playdate...
Misty said…
Sounds like our house right now!! Still waiting on that "kid perfection" though! =)
Charity said…
Kids are so weird. They go through these phases where you think "Wow! Our parenting is working! Yahoo!" And then, BAM! Days and days of insanity ensue when you think "I must be nuts!" and nights and nights of sneaking out for coffee or anything after they're tucked in bed. Motherhood is bizarre. Thanks for sharing about your 'timeouts'- Nathan tells me if I give harder 'timeouts', I'll give less. Maybe it's time to head to the gym.
Philip Brown said…
This is great! We're in a peaceful time right now and I'm so thankful (I also think that being able to go outside and explore helps them not have so many obedience/attitude issues). Everyone kept telling me that if you're consistent in the first five years it settles down after that and now that we have a five year old (almost 6) I can see it's true. Then what a joy! I just hope I'm not too worn out to enjoy it :o) I used to wonder at times if it really did work and even suggested to my husband that perhaps we should find something else. But I've found that God knows what He's talking about and if you follow His wisdom it really does work. I just have to fight loving myself (and choosing the easy route) or loving them (which means I have to do something that makes me uncomfortable). Ahhhh yes....sounds like the banshees are on the warpath over the one bike we have :o/ Thanks again! Marianne
Liz said…
Oh, how I have clung to these truths since probably our first talk about it when Gracie was a baby. The reaping seasons give me courage to go (with hope!) into a sowing season again. :>)
PDeverit said…
People used to think it was necessary to "spank" adult members of the community, military trainees, and prisoners. In some countries they still do. In our country, it is considered sexual battery if a person over the age of 18 is "spanked", but only if over the age of 18.

For one thing, because the buttocks are so close to the genitals and so multiply linked to sexual nerve centers, striking them can trigger powerful and involuntary sexual stimulus in some people. There are numerous physiological ways in which it can be sexually abusive, but I won't list them all here. One can use the resources I've posted if they want to learn more. All materials listed may be accessed at the website of Parents and Teachers Against Violence In Education at www.nospank.net.

Child buttock-battering vs. DISCIPLINE:

Child buttock-battering (euphemistically labeled "spanking","swatting","switching","smacking", "paddling",or other cute-sounding names) for the purpose of gaining compliance is nothing more than an inherited bad habit.

Its a good idea for people to take a look at what they are doing, and learn how to DISCIPLINE instead of hit.

I think the reason why television shows like "Supernanny" and "Dr. Phil" are so popular is because that is precisely what many (not all) people are trying to do.

There are several reasons why child bottom-slapping isn't a good idea. Here are some good, quick reads recommended by professionals:

Plain Talk About Spanking
by Jordan Riak,

The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children
by Tom Johnson,

NO VITAL ORGANS THERE, So They Say
by Lesli Taylor M.D. and Adah Maurer Ph.D.

Most compelling of all reasons to abandon this worst of all bad habits is the fact that buttock-battering can be unintentional sexual abuse for some children. There is an abundance of educational resources, testimony, documentation, etc available on the subject that can easily be found by doing a little research with the recommended reads-visit the website of Parents and Teachers Against Violence In Education at www.nospank.net.

Just a handful of those helping to raise awareness of why child bottom-slapping isn't a good idea:

American Academy of Pediatrics,
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
American Psychological Association,
Center For Effective Discipline,
Churches' Network For Non-Violence,
Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
Parenting In Jesus' Footsteps,
Global Initiative To End All Corporal Punishment of Children,
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In 26 countries, child corporal punishment is prohibited by law (with more in process). In fact, the US was the only UN member that did not ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Leah said…
Sarah, I so enjoy reading your blog even when I don't comment! Enjoy these times - they pass ever so quickly! I know the training years are difficult but they really will be better off! The thing I tried ever so hard to keep in mind was that if I could help my kids learn to be obedient the first time, how much easier it would be for them to be obedient to the Heavenly Father! I am not perfect but so glad God is taking my stumblings as a parent and making miracles out of them!

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