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Spanking is the only thing he'll listen to

We both hate having to spank him but sometimes that's the only thing he seems to react and listen to.


This is going to seem simplistic, but the need to spank or punish is all about control. It's all about making someone else do what we want them to. And the fastest way the world has found to do that is to be bigger and stronger and make someone do it. Countries do it. Societies do it. Teachers do it. Parents do it.


It takes some mental shifting of gears and turning our thoughts around to see the world in terms other than making people do the things we think are good for them.


When we think about countries getting along, we don't think that it's a good idea for the big country to make the little country do what the big country wants. Or for the little country to shove aside its own needs and go along with the needs of the big country.


But that's the model we use for kids. We say we're older and wiser and we know what's best so kids just have to go along with what we want. And we'll generously let the kids have what they want when it doesn't interfere with what we want.


Basically that says there's one person with a good idea and one person with a bad idea so the good idea should win over the bad idea. And if the bad idea person won't back down and give up, then use force.


If we dump that scenario and see life with children as two people with needs that sometimes conflict then the peaceful way to resolve it is to figure out how both can get their needs met.


It takes trust. We have to trust that kids understand when they need something. (Though they don't always understand what it is!) We have to trust that just because something seems ridiculous to us that it is very important to them. To us coming to the table for dinner seems more important than seeing the end of a cartoon they've seen 10 times. But to them it's the opposite. If we make them shut off the TV and come do what's "important" rather than "frivolous" we're modeling the opposite of what we want. We're modeling that it doesn't make any difference if someone else has an important need. The way to handle it is to tell them their need is less important than your need and make them meet your need.


What we as parents want is for someone to listen to our needs and take them seriously. So to do that we need to listen to their needs and take them seriously. Even -- or especially! -- when the needs seem ridiculous. By modeling that we care about their needs and that we will accommodate for what they feel is important, they're more likely to set aside their needs to accommodate us when we tell them something is important to us (even when it seems ridiculous to them.)


It doesn't happen instantaneously. Making them conform to what we think is important looks like they're taking our needs seriously. But they aren't. They're going through the motions. And they're learning that being bigger and stronger and making others do what you want is the way to get what you want from life.



Joyfully Rejoycing
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