Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I am a genius! You've gotta admit it.

Okay, you don't.

But there has been some thing bugging me for MONTHS and I have not been able to think of a solution for it.
Our back deck has these benches:

Yes kind of old (were refinishing them this summer I suppose)...

And NOT toddler friendly- off the short little back is a nice 5-6ft drop. Yikes.

Last summer any time we were out there I had to be on guard to redirect RJ if she climbed up on them. I talked to my Mom about maybe pulling the benches out and installing a real deck railing (as I'm actually 80% certain those benches are NOT up to code- I seem to recall the Realtor mentioning this when we were buying the house- I could be remembering wrong though). My Mom was against this idea. She likes the benches when we have company- extra seating for cook outs. She said that RJ would just need to learn not to climb up there. She said that she and Dad didn't spank us for much but danger situations were spanked for (which honestly I remember getting spanked for a lot more than that but alright.).

Okay, if that's how they wanted to handle it fine. But I'm not them. I personally don't think "spanking for danger" really teaches the child what you want them to learn. I know all I learned was how to do what I wanted with out being caught. Most young children aren't taught by punishment after the fact. They learn from being stopped before the act
(over and over). The spanking after the fact is more for the parents conscience - they feel guilty that some thing could have happened and totally freaked that some thing almost did- spanking gives them some thing to feel like they're doing to prevent it in the future...But does it?

What do kids learn from being spanked after the fact? Well many young toddlers learn nothing. Some very timid and sensitive toddlers might see the parents fear and the following spanking might be so traumatic that they'd be afraid to go anywhere near the street for many years. Others might be so confused why their parents are hitting them- the ball was in the street or the cat across the street looked fun- what's wrong with that?!?! They feel misunderstood. Young children don't think like adults. They live completely in the moment and they lack impulse control- they see some thing so they go for it. Some children might be deterred by a spanking, the majority wouldn't think about the spanking in the heat of the moment. Some thing over there was interesting or important! Also young toddlers literally don't have enough of the cause and effect mastered to understand the danger=spanking. If they are still throwing things all the time, spilling and dumping, making loud noises and generally testing every thing they can get their hands on- they don't have cause and effect figured out fully- that's why all the annoying dumping, spilling, loud noises and general testing of every thing is happening- they are little scientists testing cause and effect!

So here are the options, if spanking was on the table or no. Say I have an unfenced yard by a busy street- would I really let my very young children play near the street just because I could spank them if they ran out in it? *I* sure wouldn't! I'd either put up a fence, stay very very close to them at all times, or not play in that area at all! When it comes to life and limb I'm not going to allow there to be an opportunity for them to get hurt, period.

With our current porch issue...Yes, Riley knows she can't play up there, she generally stays away-gentle reminders when we head outside that the benches aren't for playing on are usually enough. But it only takes ONCE. I turn my back for a minute and RJ decides that she can reach the limbs of the tree, or a bird, or a squirrel sitting near by and for her to fall and get seriously hurt.

WHY, if I can do some thing to protect her, even have that option on the table??

It only takes ONCE for the child to run in the street after a ball and get hit by a car- yes you can explain, you can spank for the first, second or third offense...But even if they were spanked for running in the street before, it's not a guarantee that they'll remember that spanking and stop when they get near the road- especially when their favorite ball or an interesting shiney some thing is out there. They lack the MATURITY and the IMPULSE control and they are driven to the deepest part of themselves to investigate every thing...In spanking them you're telling them to ignore those God given instincts.

Yes, in case you can't tell, I have some big feelings about this. :0)

So what was my brilliant solution??

Chicken wire. Yup, chicken wire. It won't be pretty but it'll keep my babies safe- and it will be a temporary fix...We can take it down for cook outs pretty easily and it'll make it possible for me to be out on the back deck with the girls with out having to constantly redirect (because Amity is already starting to climb- by the end of the summer she'll be a pro.) We'll run the chicken wire in front of the bench, tack it to the front of the bench and into the porch and the girls won't be able to get to the benches at all.


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