My husband spanks our kids when they act up. He expects me to do the same when he's gone. I don't know if this is the best method. What should I do?
DARCY KIMMEL: Boy, this conflict in couples is not uncommon, because it usually goes back to how we were raised. Either we are modeling how we were raised, or we are reacting to the other extreme, because we didn’t feel like we were raised correctly when it comes to discipline.
TIM KIMMEL: But the problem with, let’s say, the ultimate discipline—something like spanking—is that not all infractions are the same, and not all disciplines work as well.
One thing we found out early on is that it’s good to divide your kids’ problems and their infractions into two categories—felonies and misdemeanors—just like we do in our civil law.
The felonies are things like they lied, they cheated, they stole. Something like that. Those are the ones that you really want to have the stronger correction for.
But most of the stuff they do is just misdemeanors. They forgot their homework again, or they knocked over the milk again. I mean, that’s a nothing. It’s like a parking ticket.
You have got to deal with them differently, because if you don’t, then next thing you know, they are going to start to resent you.
Really, if you are going to choose to spank, it’s only done for a very small period of time in their life, when their ability to reason is fairly limited. But there are a whole lot of better ways to do it.
DARCY: There are a lot of better ways. Maybe you should deny them a wish. You know, something they have been looking forward to. Well, take that away from them. That’s probably pretty effective.
TIM: Isolation is another one of them. We have one child who was like the Rocky Balboa of the Kimmel family. If you were to spank him, you were wasting your time. I mean, it was “not so bad”—he didn’t care. But I tell you, if you took him out of social circulation, boy, if you stood on his air hose that way, you got his attention. So, that’s another way you can do it.
Chores, restitution, plus a percentage. Things like that.
DARCY: Don’t circumvent consequences, too. I think one of the most effective ways of disciplining that child, especially as they get older, is just let the natural consequences take over. If they are late for school consistently, don’t write them an excuse. Let them stay after for detention.
TIM: Absolutely. Back up the vice principal or the teacher when they have to get on them. Just double-down on it when they come home, so they know we are serious about this.
But there’s a lot of ways to correct your kids. You don’t have to get wrapped up in that one. Plus, there are other ways that work a whole lot better than spanking.
I guarantee you, if you become a student of your child’s heart, you really understand how they are hardwired, you are going to figure out the best ways to get their attention, let them know how much you love them, but you want them to grow up to be a good person, and you are going to redirect them, so that that’s exactly what happens.