Would you like a hit? No, thank you.
However, there is one thing there is zero tolerance for in our household: aggression. By anyone. Pretty obvious, yes? Nobody likes aggressive people, right?
Well, I think a definition is in order here: aggression is any behavior that is intended to cause pain or harm (Source: Wikipedia).
Guess what? There is no hitting or spanking in my house. While it might "work" as a punishment/behavior modifier, I do not want to teach my kids that aggression is an answer to problems (spanking is aggression -- it is intending to cause pain).
We also work very hard to ensure there is no verbal aggression as well. Even when I'm disciplining one of my children, I try my best to use an even and calm tone of voice. I don't feign that I'm successful all the time (oh, how my children try my patience!), but this is my goal. Yelling is often aggression.
By doing these things, I hope -- I intend -- to teach my children to not see aggression as acceptable... for any reason.
Fortunately (and I'd like to think because of the way we parent), we rarely have had to deal with aggressive behaviors from my children (3-year-old boy and 6-year-old girl). However, recently my 3-year-old son bit his friend at preschool. While the exact circumstances will only be known to a 3- and 4-year-old (they were out on the playground playing with a ball), my son's teacher guesses that my son was tired of the brutish/bullyish behavior from the older boy, and after a long day of preschool, my son acted out and bit in retaliation.
By the time the teachers arrived "on scene," they thought that my son was the one aggressed upon because he was crying and extremely upset. Meanwhile, the other boy was just acting surprised. When my husband and I had "the talk" with my son, he was ashamed by his behavior. We did not have to even explain to him what he did wrong; he knew and he made no excuses. He apologized and said it will never happen again. I believe him.
But what about...
Now -- I take you to a different aspect in our household. The ironies you might call them.
- My husband is a 5th degree black belt in Tang Soo Do. He can break 5 bricks with his fist. Cool, huh? He has stacks of forms and sparring trophies. And he loves mixed martial arts (also called ultimate fighting).
- My son and husband's current favorite game is "Karate." My son attempts to jump on daddy, and daddy mocks "taking down" the 3-year-old. Occasionally, my daughter joins in for a few submission attempts.
- I love me a good zombie or horror flick. My husband and I are currently obsessed with AMC's The Walking Dead (and I just heard they picked it up for a second season! Yay!). We also just watched the latest Saw movie for a recent date night (Cary Elwes ROCKS!).
Ha! You caught us! My husband the "ultimate" aggressor. My kids play aggressive. And I love me some aggressive entertainment. Mixed signals.
- True martial arts are not aggressive. (If you practice you already knew that.) Martial arts teaches to avoid fighting, and fight only in defense. Sparring is used as practice.
- Rough-and-tumble play -- without intent to cause harm to each other -- is very positive interaction.
- But, my love of all things zombie? Well... just cause I like a little violence and gore doesn't mean I'm gonna eat your brains.