Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February 28, 2012

How is it almost March already? This is craziness.

I think my last entry must have been the one about not spanking the girls anymore. Which would mean it's been nearly 3 weeks since they've been spanked for 'realsies.' I think I've swatted a couple of  bottoms to hurry them up the stairs but nothing major. It's likely too soon to say whether the shift has been successful or not, since every week/day/hour brings about changes in their temperaments, attitudes, and reactions.

Looking at some old pictures of Lily made me tear up a little. She was such an easy-going, HAPPY baby. Now she's a bit mercurial and stubborn. Ok. Not just 'a bit'... she's a LOT mercurial and stubborn. She's still pretty low-maintenance but when she wants her way, she makes it known to the entire area code.

We're working with Izzy to cut down on the water-works. Any deviation from routine or expectation can send her into a near panic mode. This could just be normal nearly-5 behavior for a girl, tho. I don't know. Ben was relatively easy to manage at this age... he wanted his way, of course, but I don't recall him bursting into tears over every little thing like Izzy sometimes does.  Anyway... trying the divert/distract tactic with her seems to help but it's not always easy to break through the emotions and get her attention.

Parenting is hard and every day I'm reminded of just how much work and affection my parents put into us on a daily basis.

Friday, February 10, 2012

February 10, 2012

I recently read this article, reposted by Mayim Bialik  and found it very intriguing. I'm not sure I completely buy into the idea that spanking makes a child more aggressive, as they suggest, but I'm definitely open to the possibility that spanking doesn't produce the desired effect in many cases. Spank too much and, depending on the child's temperament, they cease to see it as a major consequence and learn to almost ignore it as it becomes part of the routine. Or they begin to expect it for everything and are easily scared which is definitely not cool.

Based on that, I've decided to challenge myself not to spank the girls. I don't feel like I do a LOT of spanking and most of what I call spanking is a swat on the behind to curb behavior that they've been warned about but aren't controlling on their own. Things like climbing on furniture, reaching for things that are on the counter, taking toys from each other, getting out of bed and running around screaming instead of sleeping, etc. I try to first tell them what they're doing isn't ok and if they persist, they'll get a swat. Lily is our 'persister' around here. Nothing stops her, not physical obstacles, not stern looks, not anything.

We've had two full days of non-spanking and I would say I definitely see an improvement: mostly in my own attitude. Who knew that once you cross the line from mildly irritated to spank-mode, it becomes easier and easier to reach the "totally frustrated" point? It IS hard to refrain from the 'surprise spank' (thanks for the term, Megan!) but I'm finding that the surprise 'come sit with me for a minute' works just as well and there are considerably fewer tears involved.

I probably shouldn't count yesterday in our 'non-spanking' tally because having friends over immediately reduces the odds of corporal punishment. But bedtime didn't include any deflectors and there were definitely some things going on that would normally have led to a swat on the behind so I'm counting the whole day.

In the interest of full-disclosure: I am still using the possibility of a spanking to get results. As in, "Do you need a spanking or will you listen to Mama on your own?" and "I am choosing not to spank you for this but YOU need to obey Mommy."