I have always had mixed feelings regarding the spanking of children, but the more I think about it, the more I disagree with it. Many people have told me that spanking is just another disciplinary method, and that it is sometimes the only way that children will understand that they did something wrong. However, many of them also agree that hitting is wrong, but that spanking is different – it’s “discipline”. But is there any difference?
This is one topic that my husband and I disagree on. He doesn’t think that spanking is a big deal, that it is okay to discipline children in this manner. I, however, feel that spanking sends the wrong message to your child. The message that it sends is that it is alright to hit someone when they do something wrong. How can I tell my child not to hit others when I myself hit them? Is this what we want to teach our children?
Some argue that it is fine to spank as long as you are not angry while you are doing it. But again, it all goes back to causing physical pain in order to punish the child. I think it is important to stay away from inflicting pain as a punishment. Would we as adults want to be hit to be taught a lesson? Would it really teach us a lesson, or would it just scare us into acting how the other person wanted us to? Are you really teaching your child anything, or just trying to scare them?
I think it is sad that our society fights to protect this form of discipline from being flagged as abuse – those that would call this abuse are treated as if they are just “overreacting”. But I think we need to focus on other forms of teaching our children right from wrong, and hitting is definitely not one of them. I found this article that reflects my feelings perfectly. I especially liked the opening:
There is a classic story about the mother who believed in spanking as a necessary part of discipline until one day she observed her three- year-old daughter hitting her one-year-old son. When confronted, her daughter said, “I’m just playing mommy.” This mother never spanked another child.
So the question is, what are effective ways of disciplining that do not involve physical means? Are there any parents out there that have found other effective disciplinary techniques?