Apr 222011


By Will McCormick Guest Blogger

I come from a long line of folks who take the biblical principle “spare the rod, spoil the child” to heart. My children’s mother was raised the same. Growing up in the deep South in strong Southern Baptist families will teach at an early age the consequences of poor decisions. I know first hand (switch and belt) what comedians mean when joking that growing up the entire neighborhood raised a child, and applied liberal discipline in the form of a swatting. Usually, your behind was so numb by the time you got home that your parents really were not going to do much more damage when their turn rolled around. Honestly, I had good parents, and I really can only remember a few spankings growing up. By most accounts, both of my kid’s parents turned out just fine. So it should come as no surprise that we decided when expecting our first child that we were going to spank our kids as a form of discipline.

A funny thing happened on the way to a spanking.

Michael was two years old when his brother Mathew entered this world. He had endured a long day of waiting at the hospital with extended family. We had decided that I would take him home to try to keep things as normal as possible for Michael while his mother and new brother rested in the hospital. I am not quite sure how much sugar he was given while in the care of others, but picture Taz on Starbucks. I could not get him to stay in his bed.

Finally, straight out of an old Bill Cosby routine I announced, “I have had enough. The beatings are about to begin!” I grabbed my son, turned him over my knee, and explained to him that he was going to get a spanking because he would not mind me. Michael looked at me and in a questioning voice asked, “Ok, Daddy?” I looked at my son and began to cry harder than I did in the private moments in the hospital on the day he came into this world. I hugged my son tightly knowing I would never be able to strike him. I felt two little arms tighten around my neck and a little hand patting my shoulder. Michael said, “Night, Daddy.” He slide out of my lap and went to bed. It was the first time he had ever gone to bed by himself. By the time I got to his room, Michael was asleep in his little car bed.

The boys’ mother and I figured a few things out after that night. Children want to be loved by their parents. In their minds often they equate attention with love. Often, children only have their parent’s complete, undivided attention when they are in trouble. They know at that moment nothing else matters to their parents but them. We decided to make a huge deal about every little positive thing that our kids do, and minimized the attention to their mistakes. Now we do not overlook their mistakes at all. Mistakes and poor choices are a way for us to teach our children a better way, but when one of them holds a door open for someone that is an opportunity to say how proud we are. That is a big deal.

Every parent has their own way of disciplining their children. I am not here to question that, but I have lost count of the number of people who have asked me over the years what we did to have such incredible kids. I usually just smile and say, “We figured out how to show them we love them”.

At the end of the day, that is all they really ever want. (Well, that and a new Ipod)

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For years, Bill McLeod has been inspiring parents world wide with his message of perseverance and success. He is the author of "Kickin' Butt as a Single Parent - 99 Tips That Every Single Parent Must Have". He is a frequent contributor to syndicated radio shows and magazines, and has been interviewed on radio programs around the country, as well as on CBS, ABC, NBC and WB-2 affiliates for his insight and commitment to succeeding as a single parent. For his ongoing work and dedication in these areas, Bill has won the prestigious State Farm Insurance Companies "Embrace Life Award" presented annually to only thirteen individuals in the U.S. and Canada. His story will enlighten you; inspire you and give you hope that anyone can succeed, as long as you realize that you will never change your life until you change something you do daily.

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