Saturday, September 8, 2012

There's a Better Way

Down here in the deep south spanking is normal.  From what I have found, you can ask the majority of people my age and find out that of course they were spanked as a child, I was.  Whether it be with a belt, slipper, wooden spoon, or by hand, it was and still is considered "normal".  I witness parents threatening their very young children, they are usually around 2 or 3, "if you don't share and let her go first, you will get a spanking, do you want a spanking?"   While getting Audrey into her babyhawk on my back, I saw a cute little 2 year old girl from a distance.  After getting Audrey situated in the babyhawk we walked past the car where we saw the little girl while heading into the store and what I heard upset and shook me to my core.  I could hear this little girl screaming "mommy no!!" while crying hysterically.  The mom was screaming "when I say NO, that means no, you need listen little girl, you spilled all over my car" then I heard the mom spanking her, or in my point of view beating the crap out of her.  It was horrible!!  It took every ounce of energy I had to not full on cry and walk over there and tell that mom something.

  2 year olds do things for a reason, NOT to be mean.   Audrey will shriek if we are carrying on conversation in the car and not paying attention to her.  I could yell or scream back at her, but how pointless is that?  Instead, we ask her to please use her inside voice and ask her "how does the deer go"  silly I know, a deer doesn't make a sound but in our house the deer goes "Shhhh" because well if you want to see a deer you must be quiet. This was Carlo's awesome creation!  Audrey spills or dumps something over, usually water on a daily basis.  Toddlers do things out of curiosity.  I know Audrey pours water onto the floor from her cup because it splashes when it hits the ground and it is neat to see a puddle form.  I just give her a simple reminder when I see her tip her straw cup and say "drink goes in your mouth Audrey, not on the floor"  If she makes a mess it's simple I grab a towel and say "when we spill something we need to clean up our mess, will you help me clean this please" whatever we don't get with the towel she mops up on her own with her little mop.   Carlo and I both get frustrated when she takes and dumps out the puppies water, but we get mad at ourselves not her.  We get upset because we didn't watch her close enough around the water. We know she likes water and LOVES to dump it out.  If the puppies are in we leave the water down and it takes watching and reminding to not have water all over our floor.  I tell her "Audrey, we leave the puppies water.  That is the puppies, Audrey has her drink and the puppies have theirs, please leave it my love"  If she dumps it out then we grab a towel and do the same thing if she had dumped her drink out.  It isn't a big deal.  So what, things spill, food gets on clothes, that is being a parent.  We feel that spankings and time outs are pointless.  Instead we talk about it explain why we don't do something and move forward, not big deal.  Along with us thinking spanking is wrong countless studies are coming out showing what spanking does. Here is a GREAT article by the Huffington Post. Of course I disagree on the vaccine part but that is a different topic altogether  I have to say, I have a problem with anger.  When I get angry I feel the need to hit, kick, or punch.  I don't doubt if there were a link to the anger I have now to the spankings I received on those occasions.  Of course, I have re-directed this anger.  I breathe in and out or simply say "I need 5 minutes" to Carlo and take a moment to think.  I have also taken on the mantra "This moment is as it is, let it be" and move forward.  I am a better person because of these.  I want Audrey to not have the anger that I do and to not be feared by either Carlo or I, EVER!  I remember that fear, it is an awful feeling, one that no child should feel.  I am saying all this because of that little girl in the parking lot  and how the situation brought tears to my eyes and a sense of anger towards that mom.  A child can't defend themselves against an adult.  Please think about your actions, children emulate our every move.  If we act out with violence, chances are good that they will too.


  1. Hello Heather! I think this is my first comment but I have been reading your blog for a bit. I am a New Orleans momma with a baby right about the same age. I think I found you from Oh Dear Drea. I have to say that MOST of the things you post are right up my alley, it is amazing. I think if you lived a little over to the east, we would be fabulous friends! I am a college professor (Tulane) and have a little 18 month old little boy, Lawton. We cloth diaper, have made our own baby food and Lawton now drinks out of those adorable little cups you mentioned in a previous post and we have forgone sippy cups! Yippee! I am also still breastfeeding and still not sleeping through the night, but we co-sleep so feel fully rested and always ready to conquer the world!

    Anyway, I have to say that this post was written literally from my heart. I feel the EXACT same way and I have to say that when we go out to parks, stores, or to the zoo (like we did this weekend) I am often in shock as well. I just read "Connection Parenting" which I highly recommend and it has made me so aware of how easy it is to establish a relationship with your child instead of using threats and coercion. At the Zoo yesterday someone threatened their little boy that she was going to spank him in front of a crowd of people,... not only physically harming him but publicly humiliating him. I felt the same way, tears sprang to my eyes. She was sitting behind me and I did not want to gawk and stare because I felt so incredibly bad for the little boy, especially considering she was yelling at the top of her lungs. So, I am not sure how old he was, but most of the children in the area we were playing were quite young. Ugghh. Just dreadful. I didn't have a child to bully around and I don't plan to resort to threats and coercion to get him to behave the way I want him to. So far, I agree, it has been pretty easy to redirect, praise the fabulous behavior we see all the time and downplay the least desirable. He is not very talkative yet but loves making animal noises, so I am going to try the deer trick, I bet that will work! Thanks so much for putting your blog out there and good luck with your new job! You rock!!!

  2. Yogirl, thank you so much for your kind words. I honestly can't express what it means to me. It sounds like we would be fantastic friends!!! A college professor and natural parenting mama, FANTASTIC! :-) isn't co-sleeping wonderful. I have to post on our "new" situation around here. I am so glad that I am not alone in these feelings about spanking. I have found myself starting to not say "don't" anymore because as soon as I do it seems to get the behavior I was trying to stop. So...instead of saying "Audrey please don't put that in your mouth" I am saying "Audrey could you please put that where you found it" or "on the table" or "show me where that goes" I get a much better response. It's amazing how well children, and I think everyone responds to positive encouragement instead of negative. It sounds like YOU are doing a great job as well!! Thank you again for the kind words YoGirl! We do occasionally come to New Orleans, I would love to see about getting together if you would be interested! :-)