Spanking is a controversial subject. Parents either strongly favor this sort of discipline, or they strongly oppose it. Put me in the strongly oppose column.
I’m not talking about the little “no no” pats parents use when kids are young – just be certain you’re not hurting or frightening your little one. I’m referring to physical punishment.
I can’t say that I never lashed out in the heat of a stressful moment. We all, sometimes, lose our cool. Nevertheless, hitting was a failure, on my part, to contain my anger and express my feelings in a more appropriate way.
It’s impossible to teach children to manage their feelings if we are unable to handle our own.
Spanking is tempting because it’s an immediate solution which doesn’t require a lot of thought or sacrifice. In minutes, the whole discipline thing is handled and over with. And too, this form of discipline does, sometimes, work; your child may become more compliant.
However, cooperating because they’re afraid of you has long-term risks. The powerlessness and disregard kids feel as a result of being slapped or spanked undermines their feelings of self-worth. They feel shamed and humiliated.
It’s much more productive to teach your sons and daughters to thoughtfully look at their behavior and for them to experience consequences that foster responsibility, maturity, and self-reflection. (Time out, early-to-bed, a letter of apology, pulling weeds, restricted use of favorite toys, TV or other electronics)
Demonstrating respect for your children, even when you’re furious with them, not only affects their relationship with you. It will significantly impact how they feel about themselves and how they will one day treat their own children.
To defend their position on spanking, parents often refer to the fact that they were hit when they were young. “It didn’t negatively affect me,” they’ll declare. Or they’ll insist that fearing one’s parents helps to keep kids in line.
If you feel this way, take a moment to think back on your own childhood. Remember how it actually felt to be struck by your mother or father. Feel the indignity and rage. Do you really want your children to feel these kinds of feelings about you or within themselves?
Try not to discipline when you’re angry.
If you are angry, start the discipline process by giving yourself a time out. Your child can wait.
Express your anger with self-respect and respect for your children.
Protect your children even when you’re furious with them.
If you are crossing the line seek help.