As a child my mother offered condolences of “I discipline you because I love you” after administering a spanking. I thought she was insane and couldn’t grasp the concept that physical pain and love coincided with one another. Now, many years later and three children of my own, I find myself giving my children this same explanation, only I understand the concept now. And interestingly enough, so do they. At times I think they act out for attention, to be reminded that I do care enough to take the time to discipline them and correct poor habits. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t spank my children often, but believe me, when they need it, a firm whack on the butt is exactly what they get. Of course, it breaks my heart to spank them and listen to them cry, but what happens after the discipline warms me to the core. My children actually come to me after the tears have dried, after their egos are lifted and they wrap their tiny arms around me and whisper, “I love you Mom”. I believe in discipline within limits. I am not going to spank my children for refusing to do homework or slipping with a bad word, I use creative discipline for those minor mistakes. The bigger issues, such as fighting, mouthing off repeatedly or throwing a temper tantrum warrant a swat. My children respect me, and I respect them. I am not afraid that spanking them will lead to a damaged ego or psychological problems, nor do I believe they will grow up to become emotionally unfit, or problematic adults within society. People scoff and voice their opinions when in public; they say what a horrible mother I am while their children run up and down the grocery store aisles screaming. Other people wink, nod, give a knowing smile or even stop me to say, “Good job”. I do not discipline my children for a pat on the back; I do so because I believe discipline is a form of love and a teaching mechanism. Notice, I did not say I punish them, I said I discipline them. To punish is to inflict damage or pain, however, to discipline is to teach and enforce acceptable behavior patterns. The Bible clearly instructs discipline. Proverbs tells us, “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them” and “don’t fail to discipline your children. They won’t die if you spank them. Physical discipline may well save them from death”. I watch the news and see stories of children committing heinous crimes; I can’t help but wonder whether they are disciplined. I watch the children on my street, popping pills, starting fires, swearing like sailors, stealing, lying and a variety of other acts, I know these children are not disciplined. The well-behaved children on my street with manners are the children who are disciplined by their parents. As for me, I will continue to raise my children in a manner I see fit, which includes discipline, guidance and love.
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