Tuesday, November 6

82% of Jacksonvillians Good With Spanking

jacksonville moms agree: spanking is ok
If I ever run for mayor of Jacksonville, I have officially found my platform. I've watched the news for over a year since I've moved to the area, and the issue that has united people who watch the news and bother to take the news survey more than any other issue is whether or not to spank your kids. As of when I saw the results, and unless there was some left-wing hacker who changed them, I'd say it's the most unifying issue in the history of TV news polls.

I'm not going to get up on the old soap box and say I NEVER spanked my kids, and that's probably how the poll was worded to elicit 82% approval. Sure, pediatricians have come out against spanking, but that's for the parents who smack their kids left and right, not me. The question probably read something like, "Is it OK for parents to spank their children?" As parents, most of us want to reserve the right to give the kids a open-handed reminder of who's boss, so I can understand the results.

I can only remember spanking my kids once or twice, and it's not because of parental PTSD. The events just were not big deals. The fact is that you can generally avoid it. My wife and I reserved spanking for specific moments, like if the kid was running out into traffic and needed an immediate reminder that doing so was a bad idea. Yet, I still can't recall any of the particulars. I think there were far more threats than actual spankings. I'm sure that's a negative, too, as you're threatening physical harm.

Once when I was at Boston Market with my kids, I saw this mom with three out-of-control kids. She kept threatening to leave. They kept misbehaving. My kids observed the whole thing, and my own were maybe five and three. I asked my kids what that mom should have done. It was obvious to my five year-old that if you make a threat, you have to be willing to carry it out. Yes, that mom should have left. It would have been a pain in the butt to go home and make some food, but that's what she threatened. Some parents will do the reverse threat, like tell the kids they won't get cookies unless they behave. That might result in well-behaved, overweight kids. Others will tell the kids to behave or get spanked, but the result there is scorn from others in the restaurant, a wailing kid, and the introduction of violence to solve conflict. The mom in our story actually had the right idea, but she needed to be willing to follow through with the threat.

That's pretty much Love and Logic, I think. Honestly, I didn't pay too much attention when we watched the series at church. I just remember that I was supposed to give the kids choices and then say it was a bummer if they made the wrong choice. Therefore, you'd give the kids the choice of behaving in line at Boston Market or going home to have SPAM again. When they continue to behave like animals, you drag them out to the car and say that it was a real bummer the family couldn't have a nice dinner at the restaurant. Something like that.

Of course, it's easy to see the pitfalls of parenting from afar. I recently watched a toddler get spanked at a playset for doing something wrong. Within ten minutes, I saw the same kid hitting another kid. What did that lead to? Yep, another spanking from Mom, who was (as expected) more interested in her phone than what her kid was doing. The kid might have been acting out to get attention in the first place, and that's what the kid got. Twice. Then again, I've seen the moms who don't bother to look up from the phone as two or three of her offspring are terrorizing the entire park, so it's a toss up there.

And yet, none of us want to be helicopter or lawnmower parents, watching every move our kids make. We see those parents at the park, with their threats of Time-Outs or earnest discussions of how they feel when the kids misbehave, and we all snicker. And we all laugh to ourselves when those kids go right on acting the fool at the park, just like the other kids.

That's why this isn't a parenting blog, folks. I have no idea why my kids are well-behaved. We've tried some Love and Logic, some threat of spanking, some discussions, and a whole lot of affirmation when they behave the "right" way. I am always trying to tell my kids to consider how other kids feel, even if those kids are causing problems. It's not fun being the kid who gets picked last or who smells bad or who can't control his anger because his parents hit him when he needed a hug.

But back to my run for mayor. If I was lucky enough to be running against a pediatrician, I'd blast her for telling parents what's right for their families, like inoculations and non-spanking. We're from Jacksonville, Doc, and we know what's best for our kids, so you can just put some medicinal marijuana in your pipe and smoke it! (Mic drop.)
Thanks for reading. See more of my content:

Satisfamily - Articles about being happy as a family
Passive Ninja - Web Design in Jacksonville
McNewsy - Creative Writing
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Brave New Church - Church Website Design
Voucher School - Pros and Cons of School Vouchers
Luthernet - Web Design for Lutheran Churches
Sitcom Life Lessons - What we've learned from sitcoms
Mancrush Fanclub - Why not?
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Wild West Allis - Every story ever told about one place
Educabana on Teachers Pay Teachers (mostly ELA lessons)
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Zoo Interchange Milwaukee - Community website
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