And Leah's bum appears to be the unfortunate target. So, Kate Gosselin got caught spanking her kid and apparently the neighbors claim they're not that nice to their dogs either. What's the big deal, you ask?
Let us not focus upon this media frenzy of a family in crisis, you say. Okay, let's not.
Let's instead look at the sad reality that some polls are claiming that 80% of Americans think it's okay to spank children. I wonder how many of those people polled actually have children? I understand that it's hard for parents to look past the traditional view of things and shift their thinking, especially when a dominant paradigm surrounds us everywhere else in our world... like with our pets.
We all know how heated parenting style debates can get. Is it possible to explore the larger issue of why spanking doesn't work without being self-righteous? Hmm, I don't know but I'll give it a whirl.
The main problem with the dominant/traditional view of parenting and techniques such as corporal punishment and tot-time favorite - TIME OUT, is that these methods disconnect us from our kids when they need us most. We are social beings and we learn through our relationships with others. We are not behavioral animals (though I don't advocate animal abuse either). Kate spanking her child, or anyone raising a hand toward a child only increases stress and teaches violence.
We have to remember that all behavior is a form of communication and negative behavior is communication but from a place of stress and disregulation.
We need to approach our parenting struggles with curiosity and love and open our hearts enough to find out what the real need is behind our children's behavior and then allow ourselves to validate their feelings without thinking that we somehow should give in to their "wants."
Discipline in times of disregulation is not effective. When you are stressed out - can you think, learn or remember? It's not easy. For a kid, it's impossible.
When a child is acting out behaviorally, he or she is stressed out and acting from a place of fear. We need to move the child back to a state of calm and a place of love before we can do any teaching. Children act out to communicate with us and instead of listening, we do everything we can to try and make the "behavior" stop without ever considering the validity of the feelings or the need driving the behavior.
Time-out or spanking may work in the moment simply because what our children fear most is not the consequence but the loss of relationship with US. More importantly, there has been no value lesson imparted when we resort to these approaches.
If we look at the physiology of fear, we know that in stress or fear, which is anytime the mind perceives that it doesn't have the resources it needs to survive the situation, the stress response is activated. This response is an automatic system that releases cortisol and adrenaline and uses every system in the body to get the brain back online. The heart rate rises, blood pressure goes up, muscles tense, the immune system becomes inflamed and the digestive system shuts down and we expect kids to listen to rules and exemplify model behavior during these times?
It is only through the expression, processing and understanding of the fear, that we can calm the stress and diminish the behavior.
It's a shift that is sometimes hard to wrap the brain around but the current science supports a new way of relating to our kids and many parents are finding peace... in love.
What are your thoughts? How were you raised? Post your comments below!