Monday, June 10, 2013

A few thoughts on spanking

I wrote this awhile ago when I was a relatively new mom. As my four year old continues to assert her independence and "push buttons" and boundaries, I thought it bore revisiting. For me and maybe for you.

First let me preface what I am about to say with the statement that this is my opinion and it is worth exactly what you paid for it :)

I am by no means an expert but I do have strong feelings about the subject of spanking.

“Spanking usually refers to slapping a child across the buttocks with a bare hand. But this leaves lots of ambiguity. A spanking might consist of two light swats on the bottom, administered immediately after an unusual, dangerous transgression (e.g., the three year old rushes out into the street). Or a spanking might be an abusive ritual that is designed to injure, frighten, or humiliate the child."

I am anti-spanking. I will tell you why.

1st - I find it difficult to fathom that a parent could walk away from a situation, calm down, and then walk back into the situation to deliver a blow to their child. Call it a swat, a tap or a spanking, you are still "hitting" a child whom you substantially outweigh and outsize.

If you are not supposed to spank out of frustration or anger , why are you spanking? Is it a lesson? A deterrent? Does a 2 year old understand that 10 minutes after he has coloured on the wall that being struck on his bottom is meant to teach him not to do it again? "studies of spankers and spankees indicate that some level of anger is almost always associated with spankings"

And if you think that being aloof or removed from the situation will make things better when you spank, consider a recent study which states: "Emotions matter. ... spankings are most detrimental when parents are angry, cold, or insensitive."

2nd - How does that child learn the lesson? We are supposed to be examples for our children. If I hit my child to teach her not to pull the dog's tail then is it okay for her to hit her playmate to teach him not to take her toys? Are we not just teaching children that hitting solves problems? It's like the old t-shirt that reads "Making war for peace is like having sex for virginity".

3rd - A recent study of low-income European-American, African- American, and Mexican-American toddlers found that kids who were spanked at age 1 were more likely to have aggressive behavior problems at age 3. They also scored lower on the Bayley test of mental development (Berlin et al 2009).

4th - Spanking isn't more effective than non-physical punishments that include reasoning. Current studies suggest that spanking--even the most restrained and careful use of spanking-- is no more effective than disciplinary tactics that combine non-physical punishments with reasoning. When spanking is used as the primary disciplinary method, it is clearly less effective than the alternatives.

5th - I received one spanking in my memory - I was 3 years old and was "acting out" in church. I was taken to the car and given a spanking that I remember more than 35 years later.   I do not want my child to have a memory like this one.

I will not be spanking DO NOT spank my child. Teaching her to use words, emotions, and cool downs will be is the model in our house. Will Do I get frustrated - no doubt. Will Do I sometimes feel like I am not getting through to her? Probably. But that is the moment when it is most important not to spank.

I want to teach my child that she can trust me, rely on me and always be safe with me. I don't believe that spanking imparts any of those values.

If you do choose to spank your child (and it is ultimately YOUR choice) I would urge you to first read this article written by a woman who was spanked as a child. It may give you a different perspective.

A mother`s hands are meant to hold, to love, to caress, to heal and to soothe. They were not designed to harm, frighten or hit.

Just my opinion

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