If you’ve seen that insipid reality program Super Nanny and subscribe to its structured approach to discipline, I am worried about you. This show is not a resource. I mean, look a little closer. It’s entertainment designed for ratings, peppered with overly dramatized moments of crisis to hook you (Look! The child just let himself out the front door and is perilously close to the busy road in front of his house! What’s going to happen next? Super Nanny…where are you?).
All you have to do is watch the first minute of this nonsense to know you’re being fed a bunch of nothing. Your first sign? Here’s Nanny, coming to the rescue of the poor, long-suffering blue collar parents in a chauffeured Rolls Royce…yes, we get it; she’s British…just like our favorite nanny ever…Mary Poppins…and the Rolls Royce is a symbol of her British-Mary-Poppins-ishness! How subtle and clever, and what street cred she has now!
Her prescription for household order involves complicated charts, reward systems and endless corner/chair/mat time-outs for over-the-top-naughty (ahem…media coached and sugared up) little brats. And it’s all handled in an hour!
Would that life could be that easy. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have time for chore charts and citizenship jars (bad? take a ping pong ball out; good? put a ping pong ball in – once you get 10 ping pong balls we’ll go for ice cream!). Luckily, I have just the thing to help you with your little terrorists…
Lean in close because I don’t want to say this too loudly – there might be a helicopter parent nearby and we don’t want her to suffer a sudden shock…
Spank them. Yes, I said it. Out loud. If they’re naughty, spank them. It won’t kill them or permanently damage them. Let me say it again: it won’t kill them or permanently damage them.
If the idea of spanking resonates a bit but you’re still a little worried about psychological scars (which they won’t have from being spanked, but I know it’s a hard concept to embrace all at once), then use this philosophy, courtesy of an experienced parent I know whose adult daughter is happy, well-adjusted and successful (and still loves her parents): spank them only until they’re old enough to remember (Strategic! Brilliant!). It works!
I am an advocate of the occasional spanking for sure. It cuts through the clutter like nothing else. There is no mixed message. You don’t need a dry erase marker or anything. Just your palm (please, no fists – that’s not what I’m talking about so don’t turn it around on me).
Now, this is not a daily cure. This is a you’re-at-the-end-of-your-tether-and-they-literally-will-not-listen kind of solution. That kid I mentioned? The one that lets himself out the front door and wanders toward the road? Needs a spanking. A hard spanking. It’s life or death, people. The naughty chair just won’t cut it.
All kids, especially the little ones, are dying for boundaries. Their moms are so into the fluffy part of parenting (i.e. Baby Mozart, outfits, playgroups, exploration, blah blah blah) that they forget their primary role, which is to keep them safe (through vigilance, not childproofing) and teach them manners so they don’t inappropriately impose their will on an unsuspecting society later in life (Hello? I’m talking to you, Occupy Wall Street protestors).
Please burn the Dr. Spock book and ignore all the mommies in your playgroup. I promise you, a well-deserved swat is going to net you better results than any other form of new-age discipline out there. Your kids won’t remember it, it will not make them more violent later in life, and oddly it will bring them a sense of security. You see, knowing there is a boss (mom and dad), knowing there are boundaries and knowing there are swift and consistent consequences (and that they’re not pleasant) helps a kid understand and respect authority. When they get older, those lessons will serve them well as they participate in society.
As for the protestors, there is probably a legitimate message to their cause buried somewhere in the mass of humanity assembling in our parks, on our bridges and in front of our law enforcement buildings, but the contingent we keep seeing on the news who have no idea why they’re there, who are treating the rallies like a Grateful Dead show, who walk around with a cracked bong and a bent sign scribbled with an indecipherable message (which is filled with spelling and grammar errors and at least one expletive), well – I think their mommies were too soft on them way back when.
Nothing a good spanking can’t fix.