Ren Allen on Being a Peaceful Parent

My parents were both raised in the church they also raised us in. It is a very legalistic, cult-like church and they were taught (both by the way they were raised and church ideas) that spanking was good and right.

Funny thing is, they never felt a need to spank me up until I was three and some of the ministers pointed out that I was too "self willed" and they should spank me.

There was a lot of pressure from folks and they succumbed. They thought they were doing the right thing. So these things DO sway people to do differently than their instinct dictates.

Church is often about fitting in, not rocking the boat, so you're going to have people more receptive to adhering to leadership views.

My folks later had horrible guilt for the spankings foisted upon all of us and begged us not to spank our own. So far, all three of the biological siblings don't believe in spanking.

One sister has a very little one, just 1.5 y.o. and is using time out occasionally, so she still doesn't see all the options available, but it's gotten better with each generation.


[editor's note:
Ren later sent a letter her dad had written about how strongly he felt about her not spanking, and Ren's comments follow:]

Hi Sandra,

In light of the recent discussion at the list, I was inspired to find the letter my Dad wrote me encouraging Mark and I to not spank. Thought you might use it at the non-spanking page, either way, I know you'll appreciate the sentiment here:

(I think Trevor was a toddler at the time)

Dear Karen, Mark and Trevor,

It was really great seeing you two again, and Trevor for the first time. What a precious little life! And the greatest thing you can do for Trevor is just love one another and cherish one another. You know, Karen, I really was serious when I told you to just pick Trevor up and love him when you want to spank him. I don't give this advice because I was so expert at it, rather because I can now look back and evaluate my own mistakes. Just keep loving that little guy like his life depends on it, it does. This is kind of a short letter, but better than nothing isn't it? Believe me, I think about you guys every day! Keep in touch with your sisters and brother Karen, it means more than you can imagine.

I love you all dearly,

Pretty cool eh? It brings tears to my eyes...if only I had heeded his advice from the beginning. Trevor would be so much better off for it. Live and learn, live and learn. I hope my children will have so much less to undo, that hitting their children will seem bizarre and strange to them. Maybe one day it will seem bizarre and strange to the world...I can only hope.

:) Ren

More by Ren Allen

More on not spanking and on other parenting issues for unschoolers