There are so many different parenting styles out there today. To be honest, it isn’t important for me to feel associated to a particular method or style, but rather feel right with how I am parenting. Today, I’m talking about a controversial method of discipline. Spanking. I simply do not believe in it. There are so many different avenues that can be more effective in changing or modifying unwanted behavior. I am by no means a push over mom, and I do not let my child run rampant without rules and repercussions, but in our household, we do not spank. It wasn’t even a debate between my husband and I when we had our first daughter and were talking about how we wanted to raise her. Neither of us felt like spanking was the right choice of discipline and we both agreed we would feel right doing it. There are likely to be those of you who agree with me and those of you who don’t. I am not here to judge anyone’s parenting style or choice of discipline, but here are the reasons I have never and will never spank my children.
- Behavior modeling: We teach our children that hitting is not okay. Spanking does not reinforce this teaching. Spanking shows children that hitting is okay and supports the idea that it is okay when an older person hits a younger person, or a stronger person hits a weaker person. Spanking also demonstrates that it is okay to right a wrong by hitting. I do not want to teach my child to problem solve with their hands and I believe spanking promotes the idea that violence solves problems.
- Physical pain does not equal discipline: Inflicting physical pain is not teaching discipline, but rather uses fear tactics to control behavior. A child that gets spanked is likely to focus more on the discomfort of pain inflicted or be angered by what they view as an injustice, rather than focusing on what they actually did wrong. It’s more effective to explain the wrong doing and have a teachable moment than resorting to physical violence, which really doesn’t provide a learning experience.
- Emotions are likely not in check: I want my child to learn to control their emotions without resorting to physical violence. I don’t feel that spanking reinforces this because the act is physical. I feel that hitting promotes anger, in both the parent and the child, rather than bringing an emotion under control. I have seen many parents spank out of anger or frustration. “What did you just say? You don’t speak to me like that!” and queue swatting. Again, I want to teach my child to bring an emotion under control, rather than act upon that emotion, especially physically.
- I value relationships built on mutual respect and trust: My adult relationships are built on mutual trust and respect, why in the world would I want otherwise with my children? I never want my children to fear that I will physically inflict pain and, I want my children to trust me. Spanking does not foster trust and it does not promote respect. Being feared does not mean you are respected, it means you are feared. Spanking undermines the parent-child relationship and can damage a child’s self-esteem. Children trust their parents to always have their best interest in mind, spanking can greatly disrupt this trust.
- Spanking really doesn’t work: There have been a lot of studies done on spanking and the general consensus is, it doesn’t work. It does not create good behavior, or change bad behavior. There a so many different ways to modify or change behavior without becoming physical. While spanking may stop the immediate behavior, it doesn’t do much positive in the long run.
How do you handle discipline in your home?