Dear Moms With Toddlers…

By:Christine Varichak

I remember it like it was yesterday…I’m a first time new mom of a One-Year old boy who just learned to walk…And by that I mean Run! Everywhere, in every place, in every direction. I was at my in-laws and my son (Nicholas) and I were jumping on the in-ground trampoline when Nicholas decided he was done with that activity.  He weeble-wobbled his way toward the street when I mad-dashed after him.  I caught him and took a deep breath! That was a close one, I thought. My father in law walked over and suggested I spank Nicholas to teach him he simply cannot go in the street. How archaic, I thought. I’m a new-age, drug free home-birth, yoga class,  homeschooling, organic-eating, vaccine-free Mama.  Don’t tell me what to do!  Of course my real dialogue sounded a bit different…I think I just smiled and walked away.  Fast forward a couple of months and I began second guessing my FIL’s parental advise. When Nicholas and I were napping together (total granola) he must have woken up before me and taken it upon himself to jump out of bed and explore.  This time he made his way all the way outside into our neighbor’s yard…And was watching him mow his lawn…I was MORTIFIED.  How could I sleep through him opening the front door and walking out of it?  I realized my son (like every other person who ever lived) needs structure and boundaries. And like adulthood, there are good choices and bad choices.  Good choices lead to rewards, bad choices lead to consequences. I took Nicholas to the end of our driveway and showed him the line between the driveway and street.  I said, “If you cross this street you will need to hold my hand.  If you disobey, you will revieve a spank.”  Nicholas experimenting and desiring to test me (they all do) walked over the line. He smiled at me.  I spanked his bottom and held his hand as I explained again and again until he grasped what the sure consequence would be;  praising him when during our practice session he reached up his chubby hand to cross. The next morning I pulled our outside toys out and watched him to see what he would do. He ran full-throttle toward the street, his little legs pumping as they went. Then, as his eyes came upon that line he halted. He stared at that line for what must’ve been a minute or two. He looked back at me and held his hand up, refusing to cross without me.  Tears welled up as I realized I taught Nicholas, and more importantly myself a hard-learned lesson that was invaluable. Something no school, graduate degree, toy, or amount of money could teach us.  Life has boundaries, and we must know what they are so that we can succeed.  Whether you’re a Bible-believer or nothing at all, spanking sends children a clear message that life can be dangerous.   That line can be life and death, and instilling consequences shows you love your kids enough to see them succeed!