To Spank or Not to Spank

A better source of parenting advice than the Pope.

A better source of parenting advice than the Pope.

Pope Francis has made headlines with his story of a “good father” that chooses to smack his children a bit, but “never in the face so as not to humiliate them”.

I realize that priests are often called upon to give advice to parishioners, but maybe parenting advice is a little out of their purview. Of course, children of his generation were whipped, smacked, and spanked with abandon. Nowadays you can get sent to jail if someone finds out about it, even in the Pope’s home country of Argentina.

Corporal punishment is definitely falling out of favor. Studies suggest that spanking doesn’t correct behavior over the long term, and can erode the trust between children and their parents. It is not, however, illegal in the US. Unless the judge decides the punishment was abuse.  In fact, about 60% of American parents believe in spanking.
(more…)

Entering the NO phase

No!

No!

It happened almost over night.  One day Franci said yes to just about everything.  Do you want cheese? “Yeah.”  Do you want your teddy bear? “Yeah.” Do you want a hug? “Yeah.” Then all of a sudden the answer to everything was “Ye-Oh”, followed by “No” two days later.

If it were just lip-service, it wouldn’t be so bad. But she really does mean “no”! No shoes, no potty, no milk, NO! I realize this is a classic phase that every child goes through, and “this too shall pass” is the typical parental mantra, but still!

How did you deal with the “No Phase”? Since it just started for us, I still need to decide a course of action. Do I let Franci run around the cold house naked (since clothes are clearly a “no”) or do I wrangle a squirmy, squealing little girl into her pants and a shirt? Asserting independence and having an opinion is one thing, but so is having authority and being in charge! Is the struggle easier if you don’t have a full term baby squirming around from the inside?

Correcting Bad Baby Behavior

Some things never change

Some things never change

Frances’ “bad behavior” started off with hair pulling and nipple biting.  A stern “NO” and forcing her to release the hair (or nipple) results in a giggle and a big smile.  She has since grown out of these – through no help from me, I suspect – and has moved on to hitting.  It’s not often, but when she does hit I grab the offending arm firmly, look her right in the eye, and give her a stern “NO”.

Like all babies and toddlers, she loves computers.  If she’s sitting on my lap while I type, she struggles in my arms to reach for the keyboard.  Moving her farther away, or removing the keyboard from her path, results in a meltdown.  I calmly explain that my computer isn’t a toy, and she can’t sit on my lap if she won’t follow directions and not touch my computer.  This doesn’t really work.
(more…)