A Letter to my Pro-spanking Friend

Dear Friend,

I’ve been really praying and thinking about sharing some things with you since we had our open texting discussion about parenting. Before I get started I want you to know that I am not trying to convict you or even change you. My reason for sharing is that I thought exactly like you and I really believe God softened my heart. You and I both come from Christian homeschooling spanking families. I hope we are close enough that you will truly hear my heart. I care about your family so much. If the information I share with you doesn’t change your ideas about how you view children and parenting that is not a problem at all. Our friendship won’t change or anything. I’m just offering you information and an opportunity to find a different way that is 100% biblical if you are interested in it.

I listened to the whole sermon you shared with me. It had some good points for sure! What I didn’t like was how he was so set on spanking children being the only way to raise them in the Lord. I know several wonderful Christian families who do not spank their children and they are not at all permissive with them and their children are so kind and respectful that I would be crazy to think they are on the path to destruction.

He also used so much fear in the sermon. Fear is not a good reason to spank children. Perfect love casts out fear. God did not give us a spirit of fear but of love, power, and a sound mind. I believe God’s heart is to protect us and guide us gently and that He does not spank his children to discipline. Does He correct us? Absolutely! But I truly believe that Jesus Christ bore our sins on the cross and stands as the mediator between sinful people and a holy God. Through Jesus we don’t have to be afraid of God hurting us. He wants to bless us and He wants us to serve Him out of a heart of love. I submit to God because of His great love and mercy towards me, not because I am afraid of His judgement.

When Jaxon was about one year old, I started to change my ideas about spanking. Aaron and I both changed. At first I really thought God wanted me to spank and that it was the only way to produce well-mannered and submissive children. Then I came across the right people and the right resources that really clicked in my heart. It turned my heart towards my children even more and I felt so relieved that I had found a tested and biblical parenting method that did not include physically causing my child any pain.

Before this time I did some things I regret. I thought I was training my baby to behave but really I just was not listening to what he needed. I was not as kind and merciful as I should have been. I remember things coming to a halt when I was trying to teach Jaxon to not open the cabinet under the kitchen sink. He seemed to understand when I told him no but he kept opening that cabinet! So I thumped his hand. He looked at me with betrayal. He had trusted me not to hurt him and here I was thumping his hand. I could tell in his eyes that he didn’t understand that I thumped him so he wouldn’t open the cabinet. All he understood was that his mom hurt him and he couldn’t trust me. Now he had to fear me. That made me so sad that I immediately started searching for answers. I had a Christian friend that was against spanking and so I started reading her information about it and I just couldn’t see how spanking/hitting/thumping a young child could ever be justified. It seemed so ungodly.

The handful of verses in proverbs haunted me though. It seemed so clear that we are to beat our children. But it seemed so horrible to me. I had to find out what Christian non-spankers thought. Here is what I found.

The children proverbs speaks of are at least 12 and older. This is confirmed by Hebrew scholars who think corporal punish should be used as a very last resort and only for older children. There is no way proverbs is speaking of very young and impressionable children.

I also found that in the bible times corporal punishment was used on adults who were breakers of the law. If I was to spank my kids I would be the judge and decider of the law. But what if I was wrong? How could I know what was in their hearts? How could I know if they were truly sinning or not? How could I even know for sure if my toddler understood my words and was capable of controlling his impulses? What if I thought he did something on purpose but it was truly an accident?

I learned that science says spanking reduces the gray matter in the brain (the area where self-control is developed). This is not something that can be biased. This is something proven with brain scans. Why would an all-knowing God require us to spank children?

He says they are a blessing. As I stopped focusing on cleansing my child of sin and disobedience, I saw his true goodness and true obedience. I saw that he wanted to please me. Not because he was afraid of spankings but because he loved me. And this was the most rewarding feeling ever.

I read this free e-book.

http://whynottrainachild.com/2013/06/22/download-martins-book/

It is about the spanking controversy and the bible. He goes into great details and explains how God does not require us to spank.

These may be a shorter read for you with similar info but not as in depth. This author quotes a lot of scripture and sticks closely to the bible.

Spanking is NOT God’s will part 1
Spanking is Not God’s Will part 2
Spanking is NOT God’s will part 3
Spanking is NOT God’s will part 8

Pro-spanking Christians say spanking is for defiance, rebellion and foolishness. But my children are not those things. They don’t even know what sin is. They don’t even know what is good and safe for them. They must be protected and gently guided. They are childish, they are learning. Jesus said we should become like little children. Why would he say that if they are so sinful? I’ve seen goodness and pureness in children. They are not perfect. But neither are we. Let him who is without sin throw the first stone.

Okay, so once I decided that I didn’t HAVE to spank. I had to figure out how I could still biblically discipline my children. If you are curious about that here is this article.

Discipline Without Harm part 1

The goal is cooperation and working with your child. Through mutual respect they will submit to you and respect you.

This article might be helpful in understanding why kids act the way they do. Often it is because of unmet needs or stress or not understanding the rules. They really do forget things a lot. When I started focusing on meeting the underlying needs and solving the problems behind the misbehaviors things got much easier.

Www.awareparenting.com

I always seek to understand Jaxons point of view. There are so many things he has yet to learn. They learn by repetition and practice. You wouldn’t spank to teach a baby how to crawl or walk and read. They learn how to act appropriately over time with practice with gentle guidance and by following your example as a Christian.

Now instead of spanking Jaxon when he tries to open the cabinet under the sink. I just tell him to close it and he usually listens. If he just stands there I take him by the hand and say “we can’t get into this cabinet” and redirect him to do something else that works for me and him. Like “here is a cabinet that is safe for you” or “let’s go play ball instead”. A win/win situation! Over time he is getting better at following our house rules. One rule is “no hitting”. He forgets sometimes but he sure is getting so much better. And I live by example by not hitting him when he does something I don’t like. Instead of spanking when he hits, I can say “we don’t hit” or ” I won’t let you hit” and I stop him or block him if he continues so that I can keep everyone safe. Spanking him might teach him that it’s okay to hit if you are the one that is bigger and stronger or an adult but that is not right. Hitting is never right no matter who is doing it. There are better ways to communicate and kids are capable of learning from other types of loving communication.

Your baby is not manipulative or against you.

Again I am not telling you any of this to hurt you. I am telling you this stuff so you will not feel trapped like I did. I want you to know there are options. There are other beautiful and biblical ways of parenting that I have found to be fulfilling and full of peace and joy.

If this knowledge is deception, I would like for someone to prove me wrong. What I have decided is that I would know if this is right or wrong by its fruit. I have only seen good fruit by applying these principles in my family. Even my marriage has been blessed. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. How can this be the wrong path when I am walking in all of these things? I will not spare correction, I will not spare guidance. My house must be an orderly house. I’m thinking of Titus 1:6-9 “If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 9Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”

It’s says the bishop should be “no striker” and his children should not be unruly. It’s hard to draw a line between striking and spanking because fundamentally the physical action is the same. I assure you God would not want you to hurt your child. He is so loving. Yes He corrects. And correction is sometimes unpleasant. But God is not out to punish and spank you for sin. His forgiveness is there and his grace to help you. This is the kind of parent I want to be. One that can correct in love without inflicting physical pain. I can share many more resources with you if you are interested. Please prayerfully consider these things with your husband and see if it bears witness with you.

I love your growing family. I pray for you often, not that you would be changed into my mindset but that you would grow into the mindset and likeness of Christ under the authority of our God.

Blessings to you all.

Your friend,

Kristen

Advertisements

I Am So Sorry

I am not who I was a year ago. Somewhere along the way God changed my heart and mindset about parenting children. I went from being okay with cry-it-out sleep training and spanking children to being so against both practices. I just didn’t know there was a better way. I sincerely thought my baby would not get enough rest without sleep training and I sincerely thought thumping and spanking young children was not only okay but a good way to help them learn. Boy was a wrong! I wish I could sit down with my past self and tell her: “There is another way that is not permissive parenting! You don’t have to be afraid of what others think. Do what you know is right for your baby. You should never intentionally hurt a child. God doesn’t want you to spank. It’s okay to respond to your baby’s cry and give him what he needs. He needs you.”

I’ve done things I regret. I wish I could take it back. When I remember who I was it seems so foreign to me now. How could I have been so blind? I feel so sorry. When I remember what I have done I feel like I just want to hug my boy tightly and cry. I pray he will learn to trust the new me and I pray I can be consistently there for him so he can depend on me. I pray that I will no longer fall into the trap of pleasing the “more experienced” people in my life. I just want to do what is best for my little boy. That’s what I have always wanted but I just didn’t know the truth about what that was.

Since Jaxon is not old enough to understand, here is my apology letter and confession to him. I believe in time he will be able to hear this and forgive me. For now I am struggling to forgive myself. I try to remember that I can’t hold my past self responsible for what I didn’t know yet.

Dear Jaxon,

I hurt you. I thumped your hand in the kitchen. I was trying to teach you not to open the cabinet under the sink. My heart was to keep you safe. You looked so betrayed. I decided to never hurt you like that again. I am so sorry. Your look inspired me to find a better way to teach you. I’m glad I was not too blind to notice your pain.

I ignored you in a restaurant. You were tired and crying and reaching for me. I thought I had to teach you to sit in your chair and wait. I thought my audience wanted me to treat you this way. I cried so much afterwards. What I did was not right. You were right. I should have listened to you. I’m sorry I let the wrong voices in my head paralyze me. I was afraid and didn’t know what I should do. But now I know.

I did sleep training. I put you in your bed alone and didn’t come back even when you cried and cried. I am so sorry. I will never do this again. You needed me and I was not responding to you.

I can’t believe this was me. I am so different now. I am ashamed of who I was. I am attentive to you now and I don’t focus on your mistakes. I will not hit you. I try to catch your subtle cues that you need my help. I am learning to parent you in a new and better way. I feel happier, more at peace, and closer to you. I try to work WITH you not against you. I love you. I always did. But I didn’t know how to really show it. Thank you for helping me learn these hard lessons. It was your patience and kindness and goodness that convicted me and made me seek for answers. You were good and pure and precious and I just didn’t know what I was doing.

I thank God for His mercy and grace. I thank Him that I didn’t have to continue on the path I was on. I thank Him for putting the answers into my hands so I could walk in the way of His love and peace. You are worth it, my sweet son. You are worth changing for. You are worth any judgements I receive for parenting you in a gentle way. 

Redefining “Me Time”

This was just for fun. I’m trying to get back into writing poems. And I’m tired and everything is hilarious.

Redefining “me time”

Every mom has needs too

But meeting them seems hard to do

With all the other needs around

Alone time for moms cannot always be found

But “me time” doesn’t have to be alone

Before the little ones are grown

Needs can be met in creative ways

Even on very hectic days

Just find something you like to do

To refresh you and to pull you through

To help you out I’ll name a few…

A quiet craft and a cup of tea

A warm bath with toddler company

A walk or a phone call that’s not too long

Or listening to your favorite song

Learning something you wanted to know

Going somewhere you wanted to go

Swimming, hiking, whatever you like

Modify it for your little tike

It’s not always easy but do what you can

To meet your needs and those of your klan

All it takes is a thought-out plan

I Will Miss You

Dear Jeremy,

I will miss you. I will miss who you are today as your little eight month old self. Tomorrow you won’t be the same. I will miss THIS you.

With every stage you will become better and stronger and more independent and easier to care for. But I will always miss the baby version of you. It’s the you that I won’t ever get to experience again. Sure I’ll have pictures and videos and memories. But I won’t be able to kiss your baby cheeks and smell your sweaty little baby hair. You will ask to be held less and less until you are just too big to carry around.

One day you won’t giggle when I change your clothes. You won’t dive into my arms from someone else’s. You won’t pull my hair or climb over me in bed. You won’t be so cuddly and round and kissable.

I won’t be able to swing you around and dance with you in my arms. One day I won’t nurse you. I will miss these days. Oh! And one day you won’t kick your legs with excitement like you do now. Oh how I love it when you do that!

There will never be another baby like you. So I will kiss you more and spin you around and dance with you. I will watch you while you sleep and rock you in my arms a little longer. I will embrace the new you as you change and grow, but I will always miss you as you are today.

I love you,

Mama