I am deeply disturbed about something that is going on behind closed doors. And sometimes even out in the open.
A fellow blogger, who posts a ton of wonderful parenting ideas, posted a new tip on getting your kids to cooperate with you.
It was actually a trick we use in my house… but at the end of the post, she commented that they use spanking when it fits. [Cue scratching record sound.]
I normally steer clear of judging someone else, but in this instance, I just can’t keep my mouth shut. I was so horrified to see that parents still think it’s okay to spank.
I’ve been walking around for weeks mulling it over, and this notion that hitting a child teaches them how to be “good” has left me nauseous.
Would you slap your child across the face to make your point? How is that different from spanking?
What is the Purpose of Spanking?
Let’s look at spanking for a minute.
If you wallop your kid with his clothes still on, the very act of spanking is designed to create shame and embarrassment.
Leaning your child over your knee, you’re forcing your physical dominance over someone… and it’s your kid!
And what if you make your child lower their pants so you can inflict pain on them.
Is hitting them really going to develop the character you’re hoping your child has as an adult?
My Facebook feed has been overflowing with articles and comments about stopping bullying at schools.
But what about physical bullying at home?
How is using physical violence and force to get the behavior you want any different from the playground thug?
A friend of mine was made to lean over to grab her ankles as a kid to get spanked and she still talks about the humiliation.
At the same time, she talks about how it didn’t really teach her anything other than not to get caught.
While the idea behind spanking is about discipline, its methods rely on pain and fear.
As a mother, the last thing I want to instill or use against my child is pain and fear.
Fear of Spanking Stops Behavior?
Spanking is a temporary stop to behavior at best and a long-term crusher of trust with your child and of building their own internal consequences.
My parents didn’t believe in spanking.
Instead, they worked hard on instilling and teaching me the characteristics they hoped we would have as adults.
When we got in trouble, there was usually some reset time in our rooms (which is smart from a grown-up perspective because sometimes we need time to cool down ourselves). And then came the BIG talk.
These talks weren’t nasty.
They weren’t mean.
They were painful from the fact that I knew I had done something wrong and felt terrible about it.
And now I was going to have to talk about it and face what I had done.
My brother and I came up with a term of these talks — we called them SOLs (pronounced souls) – meaning Speeches on Life.
We called them SOLs mainly because my parents did a lot of the talking. But those talks were where we learned from our mistakes.
These civil discussions are where we internalized what we had done wrong and how to be better not just to the people around us but to be better people in general.
The outward punishment couldn’t even begin to match the internal consequences we felt for what we had done.
I still think of some of the doozies I laid on my parents.
But rather than wielding a belt against me, their teachings let me see just how wrong I had gone.
I still cringe sometimes when I think of them.
But that is what taught me how to be the person I am today.
Giving compassion, understanding and patience when all you want to do is scream and punish is difficult at best.
By approaching your child as a civil adult, you give that child the opportunity to truly learn and internalize their mistake.
Do You Spank?
If you’re a parent who spanks, I encourage you to ask yourself why you choose to use that method of discipline? Is it because that’s the way you were raised?
Because times change and our understanding of how children develop has changed as well.
Is it because you’re angry and want to get your point across? Anger in the moment isn’t a way to teach your child.
As adults, we need to step back from the situation and really think about the best way to reach our kids.
Whatever the reason, I’m asking on behalf of your child to think about the long-term consequences of spanking and look for alternative and compassionate ways to help your child to learn how to be a giving, empathetic and mindful adults.
Scientific Studies About the Negative Consequences of Spanking
Don’t take my word that spanking isn’t the way to go.
Experts from multiple universities and research groups have found that spanking develops negative consequences.
These are just a sampling of the peer-reviewed studies out there. There are hundreds of them!
This isn’t fake news. It’s real science.
- There’s a link between spanking and physical abuse
- Spanking Kids Increases Risk of Sexual Problems as Adults
- Children Who Are Spanked Have Lower IQs
- Spanking Can Effect Brain Development in Children
- Spanking Raises Risk of Child Aggression
- Spanking Reduces Children’s Cognitive Ability
- Spanking Associated with Lawbreaking as Adults
- Spanking Has Negative Effects On Low-income Toddlers
- Children Often Misbehave within 10 Minutes of Corporate Punishment
- Parental Physical Discipline Through Childhood Linked To Behavior Problems In Teens
For some great books about ways to discipline, consider the following affiliate links:
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TELL ME: What are your thoughts on spanking?