According to a recent poll here on Parents.com, 81% of parents have spanked their child at least once and 22% do so on a weekly basis.
That amazes me! So many, huh?
In our overly politically correct society, sometimes I feel like we can be expected to believe that the only ones who endorse spanking are the wacko, ultra-conservative religious cult members who are ultimately featured on a creepy episode of NBC’s Dateline.
It doesn’t help that the book To Train Up A Child is currently being linked to fatal child abuse cases; no matter how much the book actually had to do with the abuse.
Therefore, we evidently must leave it to Super Nanny to show us the right way to discipline our children: putting them in “time out.”
I was spanked as a child; like most of us, I assume. (At least 81% of us, right?)
Yet, arguably, I’m a pretty normal guy. I’m not psychologically traumatized nor am I an abusive husband or father.
So I say, spanking is harmless when not excessive. But here’s my question: Is spanking necessary?
Honestly, I don’t know yet: My kid is only 15 months old.
The funny thing is, up until very recently, I was a supporter of spanking. But after several talks about it between my wife and me, I updated my opinion on the issue.
Here’s what I would like to believe:
That if A) I am properly setting practical, not legalistic, behavioral boundaries for my son, B) I am consistently following through with discipline (from “time out” to having privileges taken away) every time he breaks the rules, C) I am clearly and positively communicating with him why he is being punished and D) I am assuring him that no matter what he ever does he can never cause me to love him any less, that it will never come down to the last resort of me having to spank him.
It seems to me that if I do A through D and none of that works, then hitting my child with my hand or a wooden paddle or a belt wouldn’t resolve the issue any better.
But hey, I’ve said before that I have this habit of every 5 years realizing what an idiot I was 5 years ago, so maybe this is just another classic example of me opening my big mouth and being a naive idiot again.
Who knows? Maybe I’ll truly be part of that 19%, the minority that doesn’t spank my child. I definitely plan to be.
No matter how polarized or politically correct our society is on this issue, I think here’s the heart of it: We believe in the importance of disciplining our kids.
Back in April 2010 when my wife was pregnant with our son and I was still “pro-spanking,” someone made a $5 bet with me that I “won’t have it in me” to spank my child when he gets older- that those big watery eyes and that quivering lip would cause me to cave.
I wonder if this means I lose the bet now? It’s not that I don’t have it in me to spank him, because I do. But I think my alternative plan will be just as effective.
After all, we can’t assume that the 19% of the people out there who were “unspanked” as kids are the ones keeping our prisons full, or at least earning 15 minutes of shame on the show Cops.
Does it really make a difference in the end whether a child is spanked, as long as the child is A) loved and B) disciplined?
Despite being 33 minutes long, “180″ reached over one million views in less than its first month on YouTube. The extremely engaging video consists of a Jewish man asking people on the street whether or not they would have killed Adolf Hitler if they had the chance. Then he follows up by asking if they would have killed Hitler’s mother while she was pregnant with him.
Eventually the people are asked to finish the sentence, “It’s okay to kill a baby when…”.
“180″ shares the interesting comparison that over 11 million people (not just Jews, but also homosexuals and children with Downs Syndrome) were killed under Hitler’s direction, while over 53 million babies have been aborted since abortion was made legal in the United States back in 1973.
Back in August, I published my most controversial (and 2nd most popular) Dadabase post to date, entitled “The Half Abortion: Only Keeping One Twin.” Since then, it has received comments on a nearly daily basis. Why? It asks some deep, yet relevant questions.
We all like to think of ourselves as good people; that if there is a Heaven, we will be good enough to make the cut. By asking these deep, difficult, and controversial questions, it makes it easier to decipher the differences between “good” and “evil.” If Hitler is the obvious worst person who ever lived, then who’s with him?
Is it legitimate to compare the Holocaust to legalized abortion in America?
I am very curious to hear your thoughts on this. Of course, it will be pretty hard to take your comment seriously if you haven’t actually watched the entire video. So now I invite you to go deep into some serious stuff here with me today.
In 33 minutes, leave a comment to let me know your thoughts.
*Warning: Video contains some brief, disturbing images.
In today’s publication of the New York Times, there is an article entitled The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy. It tells of the growing number of women who are pregnant with twins and choose to abort only one of the fetuses, and allowing the other to survive. In other words, these women are having a “half abortion.”
According to the article, New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center performed 101 abortions last year; 38 of those pregnancy terminations involved a mother pregnant with twins who decided to only abort one unborn child. And that’s just one medical center in the entire country.
One mother who used fertility drugs to get pregnant, then aborted only one fetus, gives her reasoning for the decision:
“If I had conceived these twins naturally, I wouldn’t have reduced this pregnancy, because you feel like if there’s a natural order, then you don’t want to disturb it. But we created this child in such an artificial manner — in a test tube, choosing an egg donor, having the embryo placed in me — and somehow, making a decision about how many to carry seemed to be just another choice. The pregnancy was all so consumerish to begin with, and this became yet another thing we could control.”
What is it about the idea of a half abortion that somehow seems more difficult to grasp than a “normal” abortion? The immediate thing that comes to mind is that it is an ultimate case of “playing God.” As if a “normal” abortion wasn’t already giving one person the authority to choose another human being’s ability to live, a half abortion gives a person the ability to decide which unborn child deserves to live and which one deserves to die. That’s playing God, times two.
Is there any justification for a half abortion? The article in the New York Times gives several examples of why women made their decision:
1. The mother was 45 years old and already had children. She felt financially insecure, as well as, too old to have twins.
2. The mother was known as a “good parent,” highly devoted to her children. Pregnant with twins, she decided she couldn’t be equally devoted to two more; just one.
3. The mother already had a son. Then she got pregnant with twins; a boy and a girl. She chose to keep the girl.
4. Many of these mothers were in their 2nd marriage and already have kids from their previous marriages. Twins would have been too complicated, compared to only one more addition to the family.
5. Some were single mothers.
6. Some mothers did not want to jeopardize their education.
7. Some did not want to jeopardize their careers.
8. One woman’s husband was an officer in the Army, fighting in Iraq. They already had a few kids. Twins were too much a risk if something happened to her husband.
For those of us unfamiliar with the idea of a half abortion until today, we now make a decision in our own minds of whether it is ethically justifiable or wrong. The fact that The New York Times is doing a story about it says something in and of itself: This is not your typical “gray area” moral dilemma.
This isn’t a discussion about whether abortion is right or wrong, in general. Honestly, “pro-choice vs. pro-life” debates bore me. Polls show that our nation is split 50/50 on abortion. Most of us have already made up our minds on the issue and the truth is, we are not going to convince each other otherwise via comments on a blog post; especially if we ourselves play God by judging other people’s character and life decisions.
I hope it is clear that I am not asking anyone to cast stones, but instead to think with an open mind about a tough issue that has some undeniable ethical questions surrounding it. I enjoy mature, mutually respectable, deep conversations. Therefore, I’m curious to know how other people feel about the “two minus one pregnancy.” What ethical issues does the half abortion raise?
That’s the exact phrase I recently Googled; “Is it wrong to let your baby cry it out?” The results were nearly equally mixed; from stay-at-home moms to doctors.
What my wife and I had been doing was not working for our son so I decided to step up and be proactive. Yes, I am one of those parents who unashamedly uses the controversial “cry it out” method when it comes to getting my son to go to sleep.
Granted, there are many versions of the method; some more harsh than others. Today, I would like to share with you my version of it.
When my now seven month old son began crawling over a month ago, his former sleep schedule became abruptly derailed. He began putting up a fight when it was time for him to go to sleep every night.
My son Jack became so preoccupied with his newly acquired mobility that his body just couldn’t stop moving, despite the fact he was exhausted and desperately needed rest. He would even crawl in his sleep!
It didn’t take long for me to see the connection between his mobility obsession and his inability to fall asleep with the comfort of my wife’s usual routine with him. The new normal was that it would take my wife 90 minutes or more to get him to sleep.
Needless to say, she was worn out and frustrated by the time it was over. And I was frustrated to see her so frustrated. Not to mention, by the time she got him to sleep, it was nearly time for the two of us to go to bed.
I respect the concept of quality time in our marriage. And it just didn’t seem kosher that A) it should be that much trouble to get our son to bed and B) that our quality time together should be interfered with so greatly by something as seemingly natural as a baby falling asleep.
After barely skimming a chapter of a book on “crying it out” and a few websites, I decided to apply what I had learned. The first night, it took my 43 minutes to get my son to sleep. The second night, 27 minutes; the third; 17 minutes. And now, a week later, I can often get him to sleep within 10 to 12 minutes. (Tonight, it took me less than 5 minutes!)
Not only has the method caused my wife and me to be better relaxed and rested, but it also does the same for our son. He wakes up less during the night now.
He goes to sleep a little earlier and wakes up a little later. That’s not to say I’m excited by the fact that I have less quality time withhim during the day; but I do recognize that he was being deprived of quality sleep time before I started applying the method.
I recognize the common concern that the baby will become psychologically damaged by the process. I disagree; not the way I do it, at least. In fact, I proclaim that for the babies in the world who need the “cry it out” method, they actually become psychologically nurtured.
My son’s developing emotions have not yet successfully connected to rational thinking. Half of his body is telling him, “Crawl! Crawl! Crawl! Don’t stop ‘til you get enough!” The other half is saying, “I’m tired! I need sleep! I’m so sleepy it’s all I can think about!”
That’s where I come in. I help my son make those connections in his brain. And I do it with the structure and strength he craves. I view it as an early form of discipline. Not discipline in the form of punishment or discomfort, but in the form of guidance and assurance.
Here’s a brief look at the Nick Shell version of the “cry it out” method:
1) As it gets close to his established bed time (6:30 PM), I take him to his bedroom and shut the door, letting him play for a few final minutes on the floor with his toys.
2) When he shows signs of being ready to go to sleep (rubbing his eyes, being unable to sit well), I wrap him up in his blanket and begin gently rocking him. I make sure that he is physically comfortable as I hold him; not holding him too tightly.
3) When he begins doing his “protest cries” (crying at the top of his lungs), I give him a hug by holding him more firmly- but only in that moment of him belting out his cry; so ultimately during the two seconds he lets out a cry, I hold him more tightly, but obviously not squeezing him or hurting him.
4) As his eyes close, I continue rocking him in my arms, waiting for him to officially fall asleep and start snoring.
5) I wait a few more minutes to make sure he has entered a sleep deep enough to endure my lying him down in his bed.
6) Then I hold him over his bed for another minute, but ceasing to rock him. This prepares him for the landing.
7) I slowly yet steadily lower him to his bed and remove my hands from his head and legs, lying him down. I wait another minute to make sure he is going to stay asleep, then I quietly leave the room.
8) If it any point from Step 3 to Step 7 he refuses to stop crying for more than one minute, I carefully set him down in his bed and leave the room. The first time I leave him, I’m only gone for one minute. The next time, three; then five, then ten. But never more than ten minutes pass before I return to try again. Each time I return, I restart at Step 3 by re-wrapping him in the blanket and gently rocking him.
The most crucial element with this method is that you, the parent, are consistent. Do it every night. Never give up during the middle of it.
When necessary, I remind myself that I am the one who controls my son, not the other way around. I don’t give him the ability to frustrate me with his illogical behavior; instead, I frustrate him with my logical behavior. He doesn’t get me worked up emotionally; instead, I redirect his emotions.
I realize that may sound intense to some, but I believe my son needs structure now more than he ever has needed it in his life. I believe if I let him have his way and take 90 minutes or more to fall asleep on his own, I would be sending a message to him that he is able to make the rules. I believe for him, that could actually be psychologically misleading and damaging. I love my son, therefore I use this version of the “cry it out” method.
In closing, I write this with the assumption that at least 70% of readers passionately disagree with me on this issue. By no means am I trying to convert anyone to this seemingly unloving yet effective method. I simply want to share what works for me (a normal guy; not an expert) and tell the other side of the story- to answer the question by saying, “No, it’s not wrong to let your baby cry it out.”
I welcome your comments, whether you agree or disagree. Just remember, I don’t approve comments that insult the character or intelligence of other commenters or of myself: Make it constructive, not destructive. Make it legitimate; not sarcastic and condescending.