Confessions of a Professional Mom

Confessions of a Professional Mom

Professional mom seeking clarity, balance and a well deserved glass of wine.

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To Spank or Not To Spank

February 14, 2017 , , , , , , , ,

spankingI confess, as a mom, I┬ádon’t always know what in the hell I’m doing!

There is no manual (that I’m aware of) and no one pulls you aside during pregnancy and gives you the 411 on the proper protocol for all those situations you’re going to encounter once your baby arrives and hits the terrible 2’s. Your parenting skills will, most likely, be a blend of your parent’s style and your own enlightened approach.

Sure, growing up, you gave your mom some trouble. She didn’t always know what to do with you. But you’re confident that you won’t make the same mistakes she did. You feel absolutely positive that you will do it better. You won’t yell as much or be as critical. You’ll let your kid stay up late and eat breakfast for dinner or dessert first. And you definitely won’t spank them because you’ll be friends with your child and you’ll talk through situations rather than resort to striking them.

Uh huh! Sure!

Child Psychology Schmology
Fast forward seventeen years and two kids later and I’m vexed with the dilemma of a strong-willed 9-year old and child psychology is not working. So, I spank and, well, the effects are the opposite of my intention. My intention is to get her attention and correct the behavior. Ding! Ding! Ding! “Houston, it’s a no-go!” It turns into a knockdown, drag out, anger fest that ends with me throwing her across the room. (ok, that was just in my mind) But, spanking doesn’t work, for either of us, and I’m at a loss as to how to parent this kid when she’s “spinning” (think Linda Blair). Literally, I think I’ve actually seen her head spin.

95% of the time she’s the loveliest little girl you’ve ever met and, in a nano-second, she can spiral into Sybil over the silliest of things. Seriously! Her hair has a “poof” in it and, good God, it’s the end of the world, and she wishes she were dead. I know, it sounds absolutely ridiculous and dramatic and I should be able to put the kibosh on it. Now, if you have no children, I know what you’re thinking. “Take charge woman, you’re the mother! She will mind you because you’re the parent. Ground her and lock her in her room and throw away the key.”

While good in theory, it plays out much differently in the heat of the moment in Parentland and highly dependent on the kid you’re parenting. Complex personalities are the free gift with purchase. And, if you’re really lucky, you also have a teenager who’s at the ready to critique your parenting efforts at every turn. (insert eye rolling and comments here)

It’s perplexing as hell when you take a stand, address the behavior, use some good old child psychology and expect immediate obedience. Then, you spank, to get their attention, and you’re left feeling a bit ridiculous striking them into submission and they’re left angrier, confused and unable to contain themselves. It’s just stupid!

I’m not completely opposed to spanking. I’m just questioning its usefulness and effectiveness as a parenting tool. Looking back, I don’t know that it ever worked well for my mom either. The aftermath of a spanking left me mad and crying in my room, pulling my hair out in frustration, and my sister unphased with her head in my mom’s lap uttering, “I love you, let’s play!”

Oh Lord, maybe my kid is more like me than I care to remember or admit!

I’ll keep experimenting until I find the right mix of discipline, love, and effectiveness for this particular kid. In the meantime, there’s “purse wine!”

Have a strong-willed child? Any tips or tricks you care to share? I’m all ears.

Stay sane, my friends.



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