radical unschoolers, Unschooling

Punitive or Peaceful?

I usually try to space my posts out to every few days or once a week but something that is going on in the media right now has really got me upset and I feel compelled to share.

The FIRST is this:

spanking is not respect
OR EVEN: “My parents spanked me and I turned out all right!” You may really feel that is the case but . . .How do you really know that? How do you know how it would’ve been if you weren’t subjected to that?

This meme has been making the rounds on facebook and appeared in my news feed a few times in the last week or so. That says to me that sadly there are those I know personally who adopt this attitude and may even believe it.  Which means they are, no doubt, employing this same method of punishment with their children.

Here is yet another one that really upsets me:

This is nothing more in my eyes than a validation of abusive treatment as being a necessity.  Do we really need our children to "hate" us to respect us?
This is nothing more in my eyes than a validation of abusive treatment as being a necessity. Do we really need our children to “hate” us, see as their worst nightmare,  to respect us?


I have had others upset with me over how outspoken I can be about such matters and some may feel it to not be my place but I feel desperate to make them see the error of their way.  This isn’t easy for me to put myself out there (I’m not always as courageous as I wish I was) but this really grieves my heart and I feel such a passion, such a mission to the cause of our children.  I totally get that when it comes to the subject of our children, there is bound to be some who will be defensive but as both a mother and peaceful parenting advocate, I must speak out.  Punitive punishment does not lead to respect, it propagates fear and that is not the same thing.

Dicionary.com provides the following definitions:




1.esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for her judgment.


2. deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment: respect for a suspect’s right to counsel; to show respect for the flag; respect for the elderly
1. a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
(unless this is your aim as a parent)
2. reverential awe, especially toward God: the fear of God.
Of course, we want our children to RESPECT us. What that means is that they acknowledge our sense of worth, our value and they look to us for the wisdom we have acquired in our years; in our position as parents, even but that position is not a higher one.  Our children want the same thing and our children deserve that same courtesy. Respect is a two-way street.  When we afford them respect, our children in turn afford us respect.
But do our children honestly need to FEAR  us to do so?  When we yell at our children it creates the same distressing emotions that we, as adults, feel when we are yelled at. It provokes a feeling of impending danger and threat.  And that’s just yelling.  Imagine the fear you feel with someone of threatening presence coming at you, someone bigger and louder, and then that person turns you around or bends you over into the most vulnerable humiliating position and hits you!  How does that do anything but make us afraid? We would never stand for that!  And yet our children suffer that fate constantly.  Worse yet, it’s become something we not only encourage in our society but we proudly advocate via the social network?  Then we give it a different name,  we call it respect when it clearly is not.
The SECOND thing:
along the same lines and equally disturbing is the news that there is a law proposed to pass in the state of Kansas that warrants parents, school officials and daycare workers the right to “legally”  use, as a form of discipline, spanking/striking a child up to 10 times, and goes so far to define bruising and red marks left on the child as perfectly acceptable.  It remains to be seen if such a law can actually be passed and it has sparked much controversy but it makes me personally ill to even think such a notion could be entertained for even a second.  It shows how vital it is that parents be educated/steered toward a better way.  On a positive note, the fact that there has been so much controversy surrounding it, does show that others are becoming aware. If enough of us band together, a courage to stand against such an injustice can be found and a change can be made.
I wasn’t always the mom I am now.  From the beginning, spanking didn’t ever feel right to me but I didn’t know there was another way. It wasn’t often and it wasn’t for very long but in the times I resorted to yelling or even spanking, I recognize now that they were moments where I was frustrated and fearful of losing control.  I think that is the core reason so many parents do resort to those forms of punishment.  We are told we have to control our children and that they’re being afraid of us (or the displeasure/punishment to come) is the way to do that, but that is not true.  I have come to realize and accept that my children do not belong to me.  They may have come into this world through me but this is their own personal journey and my job is to offer loving guidance and support on their path.  That perspective has changed everything for me!  And that is why, as a parent myself, living in a peaceful parenting paradigm, I feel compelled to speak my mind about what is going on; to assure other parents out there who find themselves in that position, of fear/need to control,  that when you put away the fear,  cease trying to control by punishing your children and  in it’s place offer them the respect and freedom that they deserve, that respect will be returned to you.  I can personally attest to that and I am not the only one!
My friend Dayna is an excellent resource.  She was an inspiration, guide and support to me for years, long before we became friends.  She recently has started hosting her own radio show and this week’s topic happened to be about this very subject.  Her perspective on the subject is excellent and she provides substantial proof from so many sources that punitive punishment is “need depriving as opposed to need satisfying”.  And more importantly, all the positive aspects of what is coming about via the awareness that there is a better way; that a shift is indeed happening through education/awareness (as a result of those of us speaking out).
And there are other valuable resources* on the internet (my goal is to find that this blog is one of them) on the peaceful parenting movement.  I encourage you, even if you have only the slightest doubts that spanking is the way, to seek out these resources and gain as much information as you can.  Aren’t our children worth it?  Aren’t WE worth it?
As always,
(to a better world that starts in our homes),
JUST A NOTE/UPDATE: As I always do, I shared with the kids about this post.  We talked about what is going on right now in Kansas and both were so upset and felt it was so unjust!  Their reaction to me is testament to the truth that when you treat your child with respect and peaceful/just relations are the focus of your household, your children ultimately become peaceful beings who respect others’ rights.
Also, after sharing a link to this post on my facebook page, the facebook page War Is Over (a group dedicated to affirming, verbally, visually, vibrationally that War is no more) shared it, as well.  I am so grateful for that and so encouraged that my courage to share has touched someone else. 
I posted the following quote by Brené Brown the other day and I so believe it: “You can’t get to COURAGE without walking through VULNERABILITY”.  This post is me, being vulnerable, my baring to you my deepest feelings and concerns in the hope that there are others out there who may be comforted by knowing they are not alone, by knowing that together we can be the change, we can make the difference.
February 25th-
My facebook friend, fellow blogger (Clean; LuSa Organics blog) and natural parenting mama, Rachel Jepson-Wolf, posted this meme this morning.  I think it’s a perfect antithesis to the meme that started it all.  And I love that it’s aim is to encourage and uplift.  It’s exactly what I was trying to accomplish with this post! Thank you Rachel!
And be sure to check out my links tab for links to some of my favorite peaceful parenting blogs.  Testament that it can be done!

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