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I Thought I'd be a Spanker, but now I'm not so sure

It's really funny to me how a person can go into parenthood with a predetermined set of ideas about what type of parent they will be, and then in such a short time, completely change their opinion on EVERYTHING.

I always felt so sure of the Mom that I would be. I would be firm; No nonsense. My child would learn manners and respect, right from the very beginning. I could never understand the kids that didn't "fear" their parents. I was freaking terrified of my parents when I was growing up, and I didn't (and still don't) think that was necessarily a bad thing. I had the fear instilled in me not to disappoint my parents, to be well mannered and respectful at all times, and to behave appropriately in all situations.

My daughter, Olivia, is 2 1/2. We are right smack in the middle of toddlerhood, and let me tell you this chick can throw down...

Olivia is fearless. She is stubborn, and energetic, and extremely inquisitive. My Mom calls it inquisitive, I just call it nosy as hell.

My child is CONSTANTLY pressing the envelope in regards to what she can get away with. I know that it's a little early for her to fully understand boundaries, but I swear this kid tests me DAILY. She pushes me to see how far I will bend. I can see it in her facial expressions and in her actions. I know she knows exactly what she is doing... But for some reason, I just find it so hard to discipline her in the way that I had always thought I would before I had her.

I mean, I was spanked as a kid, and I'd like to think that I turned out okay for the most part. Maybe not 100% normal, but if a fairly decent and fully functioning member of society.

My husband fully supports the spanking. He is comfortable doing it when he feels it is appropriate, but for some reason I just can't do it. I give her warnings, I reprimand her, I even warn her that I will spank her, but then I just can't follow through. I feel too much guilt. I worry she's too young to understand why she is being spanked. I worry that she will hate me. I worry that she will think it's appropriate to hit other people. I wonder if she does bad things just because she is too young to understand how to properly express herself in a way that doesn't involve bad behavior...

Yes, I am 100% over thinking this. I am fully aware of that. But, I'm also afraid that I don't know how to teach her right and wrong in a way that doesn't involve spanking because that's how I was taught. If I did something bad, I was yelled at or spanked. If I did something that was considered bad behavior, I definitely knew what was going to happen to me. I learned that every decision has consequences, and I think that helped me become a well rounded adult.

So how do I teach Olivia all that without spanking? Or, how do I get over myself and find a way to spank her like I intended before I had her?

Bottom line, I just want to raise a well-adjusted, giving, kind, respectful human being. I don't want to raise a little A hole, is that such an unreasonable thing?

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