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I spanked my son for the first time this past week. I had smacked his hand or given him a quick swat before if he was doing something dangerous. But I had never really spanked him. And I can honestly say it was one of the most horrible things I’ve ever had to do in my life.

My wife said that Emmitt had been getting out of bed often lately. But since he had never done that when I put him to bed before, I was surprised to see him peeking out his door while I was reading my daughter her bedtime story. I was initially angry. I picked him up and sternly told him to stay in bed, and I placed him back in his crib. Then I calmed down, tucked him in, hugged him, and told him that I wasn’t mad at him and that I loved him. And I went back to reading to my daughter. But a minute later, he was back at his door, peeking out again. This time, I picked him up, turned him over, and gave him a quick spanking before placing him back into his bed. He cried just a bit and apologized for getting out of bed. I again hugged him and left the room. But not another minute went by before he was at the door again. So I repeated the spanking, and though I did not spank him in anger, I was indeed angry. And I placed my son back into his bed.

As my son began to cry again, something occurred to me. My son could have gotten out of his bed and played with his toys in his room. But instead, he peeked out his door. He didn’t want to get up. He wanted to make sure I was still there. And for that, I spanked him. As Emmitt continued to cry and apologize, tears welled up in my own eyes. I told him that I was not mad at him and that I loved him so much, and that I was sorry that I had to spank him. And I hugged him for a minute or two until he stopped crying.

Emmitt stayed in bed after that second spanking. And I’m so glad. My children are being hurt deeply by the trial that I am currently under. Both of them are struggling with insecurity at the moment. And for that, they are being punished. What a horrible situation this is! I know that spanking is sometime necessary, and that discipline is part of being a parent. But my children are innocent bystanders in this trial, and they are reacting out of fear, not insubordination.

I pray that Emmitt will stay in bed the next time I put him there. If I have to punish him, I will. As a father, it is my duty. But never in my life did I think I would have to punish my own children for simply wanted to see their daddy. And it brings me to tears just to think about it.



2 Responses to “Discipline”

  1. A Loving Parent on January 30th, 2009 8:13 pm

    Don’t be guilted into thinking you’re punishing your kids because they just want to “see their daddy.” While that may be true, they are not being punished for that. They are being punished for being disobedient to their Daddy.

    While we don’t want our children to get punished unnecessarily, we can’t let them disobey simply because their motives are just.

    What if your child saw you on the other side of the road. Do you not discipline them if they run out in the street after having been told repeatedly not too? They just want to see be with you, right?

    No, you have to punish them because they have to learn obedience. That’s what protects them. They are only being harmed when they see parents waffle on requiring obedience, giving up on trying, or blaming other things for it.

  2. glaycock on February 4th, 2009 4:03 pm

    As I said in my post, I stand by my need to discipline my son. But there are a couple of issues in this case that brought tears. First, my wife had suggested long ago – and I had tentatively agreed – that we would spank our children only when they were doing something that was unsafe. And this was certainly not an issue of safety. My son was only checking to see if I was still in the house. And secondly, were I not going through my current trial, my son would not be checking to make sure I was still there in the first place. I do not regret disciplining my son nor do I feel that spanking is inappropriate in all situations. But I do not understand how any loving parent can hurt his or her child – even with good intentions – without feeling some sadness. In fact, I believe that having a deep sense of sadness in having to enact such discipline is a healthy sign that one is not acting in anger.

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