Poll: How do you discipline your kids?

Nurses General Nursing


  • Specializes in Pediatric Rehabilitation.
  1. Do/did you spank your kids?

    • 2
      No, but I wish I had.
    • 22
      No, and I'm glad I didn't.
    • 106
      Yes, spanking was/is very effective in disciplining my kids.
    • 11
      Yes, but I wouldn't do the same if I had it to do again.

141 members have participated

On our nursing admission history, a couple of the questions are "How do you respond to your child for negative behavior?...and "How do your respond to your child for positive behavior?". Of course, rarely will people give you a clear answer on this...they kind of look up..pause and say, "uhhh, I talk to him/her". The question goes on to ask how effective this intervention is.

As a mom of two small kids, I'm very curious what has worked for you more experienced parents. My first child, a girl is 2 1/2yrs, and is an angel for the most part. My second, a boy, 17 months, is stubborn and rambunctious. I have found that the new discipline methods just don't work with both kids. So, yeah, I occassionally spank mine. The girl, rarely needs discipline..for the mention of the word "spank" sends her into hysterics. My boy, well, being the man he is, is a bit more difficult. I've always frowned at the parents who bring their young

What works/worked for you???


566 Posts

Specializes in ER, Hospice, CCU, PCU.

Both my boys are now grown and live on their own and don't seem to have suffered from an occasional spanking. Now I never beat them or actually physically hurt them, just stepped on their pride a little.

We frequently see parents bring in 5 & 6 year olds for psych. evaluations for talking back or acting out. These kids get put on boatloads of medications but we keep seeing them over and over.

The other "older" nurses in the unit usually all agree what most of these kids need is a "trip to the old wood shed". The younger nurses gasp in shock that we could even think about using physical force on these kids. (A little soap in the mouth wouldn't hurt most of them either.)

Personally I believe that many of the violent problems plaging our youth today stems from a lack of old fashion discipline. If I had talked to my parents the way a large number of kids talk to their parents now days I probably wouldn't have any teeth left. My youngest son was about 17 when he looked at me (and must have gone temporaily insane) and said "F%#& You". I back-handed him so fast that it surprised both of us. He said he was sorry and it never happened again. Had I given him a "timeout" I can almost guarentee you it would have happened again.

Use common sense with you kids, as most nurses know Gut Instincts are usually right.


648 Posts

My credentials are that, as a community health nurse I frequently talked parenting with my parents BUT I also have a 9 year old BOY. I have frequently heard parents with both say that boys are so different from girls. Only have a boy, so I have only experienced people looking at me with obvious disapproval as my son acted like himself.

My favorite parenting authors: Barbara Colorosso, Dr. Edward Christopherson and Dr. John Rosemond.

As a public health nurse, one of my challenges was that child abuse prevention experts recommended against spanking and as a nurse I needed to adhere to recommended practices. On the other hand, my experiences showed me that parents (including this one) spank. So I used John Rosemond's book, _To Spank or not To Spank_ as a guide. Rosemond's name will induce apoplexy in some child abuse prevention experts, so be aware of this. Rosemond's guidelines for spanking, put very succintly run something like this: Only once or twice on a diapered or clothed butt with an open hand. No rulers or switches. Once or twice, I think he says, are for them; more than that are for you. Follow it up with time out. Don't spank after age 9 or 10 at the latest. No one should spank your child but you--meaning no teachers spanking, no day care providers spanking. I felt more comfortable with clients acknowledging that parents generally try spanking as an intervention and giving them some rules to govern its' use.

Rosemond seemed to say that spanking should be a "Now hear this!" intervention and not used with particular frequency.

I used to tell parents that spanking was one tool in their parenting tool box and did not substitute for having or using other tools. And I believe that with all my heart. As a _single_ parenting intervention, spanking loses effectiveness over time so that the parent is left with only one direction--more spanking, a harder spanking, using a belt. This is not useful. Hence, you must find a way to use TIME OUT.

My favorite author on time out is Edward Christophersen (his books: Little People and Beyond Discipline). I found time out very frustrating with my son. The minute a year rule was futile. You shifted the focus from the disciplinary issue to getting them to time out and keeping them there etc. But read Christophersen. He says that with a two year old, 2 minutes of time out is too long. they will have forgotten. He uses time out for self-calming. Ladies and gents, how many SURGEONS don't know how to self calm? so you are talking about starting your child on a life skill of self calming. Will they accomplish it quickly? Not likely. Christophersen's mind set also takes the emphasis away from punishing with time out to getting back to self-control.

I like Barbara Colorosso because she makes me laugh and she helps you see the big picture, especially with school age children. She is on video and audio and available in many public libraries. She also talks about handling discipline problems when other children visit your home.

Accept that teaching your child rules, self-control, handling frustration and anger etc are life time processes. Don't expect it to be quick. Do keep whacking away at it.

One last word. The worst discipline problems I have with my son come during transitions. He is a poor transitioner. He was upset when we moved and threw tantrums. New experiences challenge him. Consider Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's _Raising your Spirited Child_. She's given me some tips for dealing with my spirited child, which she defines as a child who is more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent and energetic.

hoolahan, ASN, RN

1 Article; 1,721 Posts

Specializes in Home Health.

So glad to hear this. I thought I was the only modern parent who spanked. I mean every once in a while a swat on the but makes an impression (not literally!)

I remember one day I was in the supermarket, left the kids at home. This woman was pushing a toddler in the seat of the cart, and her about 3 or 4 yr old was at the front of the cart pushing aginst her. She kept coming to the front of the chart, getting on eye level, and very clearly saying, You must not push the cart, it may fall and hurt your baby sister. I mean she was classic textbook parenting w/o spanking.

Well, this obnoxious little brat continued the same behavior throughout the store. I was at the point where I wanted to say, you know, a good smack on the a$$ would cure that problem real fast!! But, of course I held my tongue.

Of course, spanking in a store can be a sticky thing, that was when I usually just took them by their hand, hard, and led them calmly out of the store. Of course then they would scream, stop hurting my hand!! And embarrass the he!! out of me! LOL!

Another nurse friend and I discussed that one night, and she developed a code... if her kids acted up and had to be disciplined, she would say, "Come on, it's time to go to the bathroom." In the beginning they would say, but I don't have to go to the BR, she would say, Oh, yes, you do! Then she would provide whatever discipline was needed, not necessarily a spanking. Her kids learned real fast, that if mom said they needed to go the the br, they were in for it, so if she asked, do we need to visit the br? They would say no and immediately change their behavior. I tried it and it worked like a charm! At least the kids are not embarrassed by being disciplined in front of their friends too.


209 Posts

I never spanked my children. I enjoyed their free spiritness as toddlers (they were never mean) I wanted to foster self esteem and trust.

The kids are 15 and 10 and its all about mutual respect and honesty.

As a result my children were a handfull untill they were old enough to understand respect issues.

The flip side is that now my kids are great, very self confident achievers that are not afraid to discuss any thing with me.


55 Posts

With my first child, I swore I would NEVER spank my child unless he was putting himself in danger and I had to "make a strong point"....Then he turned three and oh my , forget about it.

At first we would do the whole "this is why you are getting spanked and mommy and daddy still love you" bit, that was a wash!

Then came the swat ,"go to your room", THEN we would talk.

I now have three boys, one is too little to need this kind of discipline, but now all I need to do is lay the wooden spoon on the counter in plain sight and they are in the palm of my hands!!!

I have never had to use it (not sure if I even could) but it sure demands respect!

All joking aside I think spanking has been a thing that has been done behind doors and most people wont admit to..because of everything that you see on TV now-a days. You worry about the bruise your child got in the backyard.."will people think I did that?" Fortunately my kids are pretty well behaved and I don't need to physically punish too much. But I agree that some children need a stronger hand than others. Parents know their own kids, they know what works and doesn't work. We all just do our best and hope that our kids don't hate us and blame us later for screwing up thier lives! HA!;)

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