'I regret spanking my son,' shares this dad

“Spare the rod and spoil the child.”? A father tells his story of how he now has second thoughts about using harsh physical punishment on his sons.

spanking kids Spanking kids: What's your take on this?

Decades ago, long before the United Nations came to be and adapted the universal convention on the “Rights of the Child”, parental authority was absolute and unquestioned in every home.

As sole provider of the “needs and wants” of his own family, the father traditionally had the “final say” on almost everything concerning his family. And all members of the family (inclusive of the mother) would respect and abide by the father’s word – as honored commander-in-chief.

How times have changed...

Nowadays, in many households around the world, it is observed firstly that some mothers and fathers have become co-breadwinners; secondly that some mothers have swapped roles with fathers and now go out to work while daddy-yo stays home to tend to household chores; and lastly (and definitely most sadly), that some children also are forced to work – or even compelled to become child-combatants in conflict areas.

With the changed roles, some fathers have sadly become the abusers, instead of protectors, of their children. And in war-torn countries, child-combatants have learned to hate (so early in their lives) – rather than to love. To these child-combatants, parental authority has little meaning – if at all.

Given the above, the universal convention on the “Rights of the Child” is a useful reminder for all who value our future generations.

Growing up

I am a father of three adult sons – and a grand-father of two lovely girls. As head-of-family, I consider myself blessed with a devoted wife (of over 41 years) and with loving children and grand-children. As a Senior Citizen, I now write about my lessons-in-life; about my responsibility at parenting – and grand-parenting; and about my dream of helping make a “Better Asia”.

As the eldest in a sibling brood-of-seven of a struggling migrant Filipino Family, both my parents, instilled in me these early lessons-of-life. Namely; love of family, respect for elders, and unquestioned parental authority.

And like most other Asian children, my parents would spank me each time I misbehaved. I cannot forget Father’s countless beltings and Mother’s hard slaps. They were painful. And at times, I would feel bitter towards them.

Regrets

As a young Father, I enjoyed spending time with my active sons. I hold so many fond memories of frequently walking around my neighborhood carrying them on my shoulders holding them by their hands with my head between their legs. Looking back, my only regret was that I spent more time at work – than at play with my growing up children.

But unlike my own Father, I did not believe in smacking my sons – even when they were exceptionally naughty. However, there was this once when I lost control of myself. My middle son received a very hard, and continuous spanking from me when he would not stop crying because he did not get what he wanted.

I stopped my beating only when I saw my wife shocked and very disturbed. Although my second son does not remember the incident, I cannot forget it. It is something that I regret to this day.

That said, I do not believe that might makes right. Spanking doesn't teach children the difference between right and wrong; it just teaches them to avoid getting spanked. Rather, I believe that demonstrative love is a far more effective way of teaching anyone, regardless of age.

A soft touch, a winning smile, a quiet admonition, a consistent rule; are just some of the many ways to teach a child.

Above all, I believe that to teach a child the value of discipline is to train him very early on in life about the value of choices. It is a fact that we can’t have everything that we desire. Hence, the sooner a child learns: “To give-up on one — to gain another,” the happier he will be in Life.