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our theology and child rearing: a history

When my first-born was about 18 months old my husband and I started seriously considering matters of discipline - primarily, what to do when she misbehaves (which is only a small component of discipline but we’ll talk about that more later).

We both grew up (as most Americans our age) with spanking used an accepted (even expected) method of discipline and I’m not sure either of us really gave much thought to doing things differently.

At the same time, I was developing relationships with women around my convictions about empowered birthing and breastfeeding which led to an exposure to the philosophy of attachment parenting. This led to reading and conversations about positive discipline (aka gentle discipline, positive parenting and others).

I did most of the reading (because I had more time to do so) and passed on information and thoughts to David and ultimately we decided that we wanted to discipline our children free from violence of any form - translated meant no spanking and no yelling/belittling/berating. We were committed to parenting with boundaries and expectations - we didn’t want to be permissive - but those boundaries would not be enforced with violence.

We have never looked back or regretted our decision. We have not been perfect - we both struggle with  verbal violence when we lose our tempers - but we remain firm in our convictions in this area.

Over the years, I have noticed that theology informs beliefs/practices in this area and vice versa - interestingly, my ideas about the death penalty, torture, conflict resolution, etc. started shifting when we made that decision. Part 2 will begin to explore some of those thoughts starting with the question “what is discipline?”.

our theology and child rearing: a history
theology and child rearing: what is discipline?
theology and child rearing: influence of theology
theology and children: conclusion/how I want to live

*disclaimer* I will not lie, I have strong feelings about spanking and yelling/berating/belittling - I don’t like hearing jokes about it, I don’t like seeing it done, I don’t like hearing about it — but I value people and love and relationship more than I value my personal ideals and I have very dear friends who disagree with me in this area and I do not judge them as people or as parents even if I disagree with some of their choices. This series here has more to do with the far-reaching implications that I have observed FOR ME…everyone else will have to reflect on and own the implications for themselves.

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  1. Trackback - Anonymous — February 2, 2009 #

    Mom Blogs - Blogs for Moms…

  2. indie — February 2, 2009 #

    I could have written almost exactly the same post. I too have gone on this journey.

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