Monthly Archives: May 2013

Discipline and Kids with Special Needs

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It seems like this is one of those things in every parent’s life that they have to figure out.  For us, it is more like a revolving door of “what’s working today?”  One specific element that comes up is spanking.  Now, while I don’t like the idea of it at all, I definitely have had some moments where it has been quite appealing (or seemingly deserved).  But, it is just especially not ok when your child has special needs.

Everything to my son is black and white.  There is just no gray area at this point in his life.  So if I were to get upset with him and spank him, that to him translates into “hitting is ok.”  It wouldn’t matter the scenario.  Sometimes when he is super duper frustrated, he’ll swat at whomever he’s frustrated with (or maybe just who is the closest).  So we use those moments to talk about how wrong hitting is.

The reason this whole thing came up in my brain today was from something I witnessed.  I had a chance to have a momma and me date with my little boyfriend at the Museum and we were planted in front of the trains.  Having been in the same spot for over 30 minutes (a treat especially for me), we saw a lot of people come and go.  Most of the kids lost interest after a few minutes, since there’s so much more to see, but there was one other group that seemed to linger.  After a few minutes, I realized that the oldest child (who couldn’t have been more than 8) had Down’s Syndrome.

He was clearly enjoying the trains, and the rest of the kids with his family were ready to move on.  The mom (who hadn’t been anywhere near the train exhibit for several minutes) came back up and told him it was time to go abruptly.  He must’ve said something to her along the lines of not wanting to leave yet, and she quickly smacked him hard on his hand and said something about cooperating.

Now, I am obviously not in their situation, but it seemed pretty harsh to me.  There was another mom right by me who I thought might cry….or immediately call CPS.  It just was one of those moments that reinforces why we do things the way we do in our house.  Yeah, we may not have the most well-behaved kids, but they are definitely learning right from wrong in a safe space.

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