To Spank Or Not To Spank?
Spank No More
Parents who are over 30 years old were probably spanked -at some point- when they were kids. Their parents or grandparents, probably suffered corporal punishment at school if they ever misbehaved or failed to learn their lesson during class. It is easy to forget that a few decades ago the commonly held belief was that teaching and beating came hand in hand. While most parents today would be shocked to learn that such a practice was employed at school as a means of teaching, more than half Americans today believe that spanking kids who misbehave is alright.
Spanking and other forms of corporal punishment remain prevalent across many countries -including the US. Some parents believe the practice to be necessary and beneficial and while there are countries where it has been legally banned, even at home, there are still countries where corporal punishment is still used, at home and in schools.
Most parents who spank their kids do it, believing that:
1) It's harmless
2) It's necessary.
It's Neither Harmless nor Necessary
A 2021 study found that children that have not been abused but have been spanked share many traits with children who have been physically abused. Brain development seems to be impaired both in children who have been spanked and in children who have been physically abused. Often, children who have been abused become parents who abuse their children and it seems that spanked children are more likely to engage in violent behavior when they're adults.
The worst part is, spanking isn't really effective.
Some children actually misbehave in order to get spanked because they crave physical contact.
That is why, as parents, it is important to have the right type of physical contact with children.
Children also require attention and if they don't get enough, they will engage in mischief to obtain it. They’re full of curiosity and this is not a bad thing; being a parent is not an easy job. Therefore: Give children enough attention and love. They will not only behave better but will grow into caring and productive adults.
In most cases, it is actually the parents who are to blame for their children’s conduct.
But regardless of our parenting skills, it may be necessary to discipline a child who refuses to behave. If that is the case, there are better ways than spanking to get the job done.
The Magic of Timeout
Timeout is perhaps the strongest weapon in the arsenal against misconduct. It is hard for children and parents alike and it is because it is so hard that it is so effective. A rebellious child can be spanked one minute for doing something he or she shouldn't and engage in the same conduct ten minutes later. With "timeout" that won't likely be the case. As children crave attention and physical contact "timeout" denies both hence becoming the ultimate punishment.
Dealing with the consequences
Children must learn that actions have consequences. This is one of the most important pieces of learning that parents need to impart their children. Consistency is key here because we cannot possibly expect a child to behave in a certain way if when he behaves differently, we seldom do anything about it. If we allow a child to draw pictures on the walls of our house with a marker and we don’t correct it the first time because we feel the drawings are really good, we cannot complain when the same marker is used to deface an expensive piece of furniture.
A word of caution
One must always remember that the object of punishing a child is not to make him pay for his misbehavior. The goal of punishment is to prevent future misbehaving. It is a mistake to believe that punishment alone will educate a child. As parents it is our duty to find out why our children engage in whatever mischief they do. We should always seek the root of the problem and deal with it before it starts. If we don't and we simply deal with misconduct using punishment, it may be that our children become accustomed to being punished and not only learn to deal with it the way dangerous bacteria learn to deal with antibiotics, but take to the idea that they're "bad" to begin with, compromising their self-esteem in the process.