Tuesday, July 23, 2013
To Spank or Not to Spank
I get this question all the time: Is it okay to spank kids?
Whether or not parents use spanking as a discipline technique has almost nothing to do with the child, or what the child did, or the severity of their action - it has to do with the parent.
This is my response to the question:
Have you ever spanked you're child when you were angry?
Have you ever regretted spanking, or how hard you did it, or how much?
Has your spouse or someone else ever reprimanded you for it afterwards?
If any of those are true - you have lost the right to discipline your children with spanking. You are not punishing them, you are showing them that YOU have lost your self control. You are teaching them that "When you lose control, I lose control, and because I'm bigger and older, you're getting spanked."
I know. There is a parent out there who will respond that "when I was a kid my dad only had to look at the belt and I stopped cold in my tracks because I didn't want to get a whooping like I had the last time. That's how you teach a kid!"
- I don't think I have any chance of really discussing spaking with that parent.
So my answer is - Yes. I have seen benefits from spanking. I have seen kids respond to spankings, and I've seen them grow up just fine, and well disciplined.
I am never going to recommend it - just like I'm not going to recommend a glass of red-wine to every person every day. Yes, there can be benefits - but the number of people who go too far is not worth the risk of recommending it. (get the correlation?)
So I don't tell parents NOT to spank as an absolute rule. I tell them to be very careful - once they lose control, once they cross that line - it's no longer spanking, it's abuse. Punishments only teach a real lesson if parents remain in control, and the children know that part of the punishment is going to be an increased showing of love afterwards.
If we are heated, angry, at our wits end, etc... - we don't get to spank.