Should parents spank children? This is the million dollar question especially when it comes to disciplining your child(ren). Kids these days seem to be extra sassy and can often test even the most tolerant mum’s patience. What do you do when your child gets out of hand, or even worse, purposely misbehaves?
If you were to look back on your own childhood, I am sure that like me, you too would remember having experienced spanking at the hands of your parents. No one considered it wrong back then; in fact, it was highlighted as the best form of discipline.
Most Asian countries have for years practised spanking as the best method of disciplining children and it is still practised regularly in some places. However, today spanking is viewed by many as the wrong way to discipline a child. Of course, there are still some who call it the best mode of discipline, but the change in attitude towards spanking cannot be ignored.
Should parents spank children? 4 things to keep in mind before you raise your hand.
1. “What is the lesson my the child needs to learn?”
This is the first question parents should ask themselves before spanking their child. This is very important because in most cases, parents have realized that children often do not associate spanking with their bad conduct.
In fact, in most cases, spanking has brought about feelings of resentment to the child. How many times have you heard the words, “She does not understand me” from your child?
How many times as a child yourself have you said it to your own parents after receiving a spanking from them? Almost always, children tend to remember the spanking and not the deed that provoked it. That’s why experts feel that this is not the best way to discipline a child.
Proponents of the spanking theory feel that when it comes to disciplining a toddler, spanking is the most effective tool. This is because toddlers cannot understand the reasoning and the only way to stop them from any dangerous activity is to spank them and pull them away.
While spanking may work at the time the child is engaged in dangerous activity, it is important to understand that it is not really effective in the long run.
I am the mother of a toddler who insists on touching things that are hot and who does not understand the repercussions of doing so. But if I were to follow the advice of the proponents of the spanking theory and spank her, I am not sure whether she would associate it with the action.
In fact, toddlers are at an age when they love to repeat things to get attention and spanking will only make them feel that they are getting their way.
2. Spanking is viewed by children as a punishment for their actions and so does not really discipline the child.
Most experts claim that bad behaviour evokes a feeling of guilt in the child, which is diminished in importance by spanking. When spanked, children feel that they have paid the price for their behaviour and can now start afresh.
Spanking can cause feelings of anger and resentment in your kids.
3. Spanking is a way by which parents get rid of their anger and frustration.
When angry, the need to hit out at the other person is primal. So we tend to spank our children for bad behaviour, without realizing that this could actually harm the parent-child relationship and also affect the overall development of the child.
Moreover, according to various experts, children love to emulate their parents and often end up spanking others who are younger than them. Sounds familiar?
How many times have we witnessed siblings fighting amongst themselves and the older one spanking the younger, only because he or she is older and is always right? Sounds alarming, right? Well, it is and this is what most parents do not realize.
4. Spanking as a form of childhood discipline is linked to depression, alcohol abuse, anger control issues, and domestic violence later in adulthood
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is important to understand that children understand words of love and patience more than the feelings of fear and resentment that can be associated with spanking. It is possible to be firm with your child without resorting to hitting them.
Before you resort to spanking your mischievous toddler, why not try other methods, such as ‘the thinking cap/chair’ or a ‘star chart’ (where they are given stars or rewards for good behaviour)?
While you might feel better after spanking a child for bad behaviour, discipline can often be more easily and effectively instilled in your child through gentler methods such as those mentioned above.
Your child will then always associate even the more difficult parts of her childhood with feelings of love and patience, rather than those of anger and resentment.
Do share with us ways you discipline your child(ren). We would love to hear all about it!