To Spank Or Not To Spank? That Is The Question

Photo by HA! Designs – Artbyheather

By April Dye, Contributor for USDR

I think this debate has been going on for the last decade or two. Before that, I don’t think that people thought twice about it. I know I got my share of spankings and probably deserved every one of them. In fact the last spanking that I got was when I was a senior in high school and given the choice to be grounded or spanked, I chose the spanking.

I think the problem here lately is the reversal of parenting techniques.  Dr. Spock and others came along and told parents that spanking resulted in the deterioration of a child’s self-esteem and in turn they would become abusers.

Spanking/swatting the child on the behind, leg or hand is not going to damage a child.  There is a huge difference in disciplining your child and abusing them.  But some people who have chosen not to spank choose to use it as a four letter word and look at parents who choose to as unhinged, unintelligent, uneducated or domineering. Some have also decided that parents who do spank are abusive and should be reported

Now if you listen to psychologist and other “professionals” they will give you statistics and claims of mental or behavioral problems from spanking.  But look at children today.  Many are disrespectful to adults especially their parents.  Many have a sense of entitlement and have an “I can do no wrong attitude”.  They have no sense of compassion or empathy for others.

Children need boundaries. Boundaries show a child that you love them enough to let them know what is right and what is wrong.

I read about an experiment done where a school or playground had a fence around the parameter. The children ran the whole length of the playground – running and playing without a care.  These same children when the fence was taken away stayed closer to the school or playground and would not venture further.  When the boundary was there they felt safe, when it wasn’t they stayed close.

Babies cannot understand and verbalize enough to negotiate with us the dos and don’ts of life.  As a baby, all they know are feelings. Feelings of hunger, pain and love.  They don’t understand our words. When we do wrong there is pain/consequences, when we do right there is praise/pleasure.  How do you teach that to an infant?  You spank them where they will feel it. This does not have to be hard just enough to get their attention.

For instance, when my children would try to squirm during their diaper change – which can make a terrible mess – I would pop them on the thigh.  It got their attention enough to look at me and I would say “no”.  I was letting them know that when I was changing their diaper they needed to be still.  After a few times they got it and would be still while I changed their diapers.

What does the spanking do?  It is a deterrent.  It associates wrong things with pain. You cannot sit a 2 year old down and explain to them that running down a street is dangerous. But if they remember that when they had done it before they experienced pain, they are more than likely to not do it again.

Now as children get older and learn their boundaries, you have to use a spanking as a deterrent less and less. The older they get the more you can negotiate action versus consequences.

A child should never be spanked in anger.  Don’t use discipline to be overbearing or authoritarian.  Use it as one of many tools to set the foundation for them to make good decisions.

I will admit that I am not an “expert” on parenting.  I do not have a degree in child development of any kind.  I will admit that I am a mother, I worked as a preschool teacher and in the discipline department of a local elementary school – so I do have experience and insight to how children behave with their parents and without their parents.

When I look at children, I like to look at the potential.  It saddens me to see children who have no respect for authority or even of other children.

As the old (biblical) saying goes “spare the rod and you spoil the child.”

Look around, do you see truth in that statement?

If you don’t, you might need to take off those rose colored glasses.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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