Should I Spank My Kids?
As modernity wages war with old-fashioned values, some parents are wondering if it's acceptable to spank their children. These parents were often spanked growing up, and some even feel as though it helped to build character. A few notes are important to consider when considering this heavy question.
Spanking vs. Abuse
Regardless of whether or not you should spank your children, it's clear that one swat on the rear is much different than a vicious beating with a belt. If you do decide that it's OK to spank your children, you must be clear about where the line is drawn. Bleeding, scarring, bruises and broken bones should never, EVER be the result of a spanking.
Spanking for Safety
Some parents believe that spanking should only occur when the child does something extremely dangerous. For example, if a child goes to touch a hot stove or darts into the streets by him or herself, then this group of parents believes that it is OK to spank. After all, a reminder of minor pain (spanking) can help a child avoid major pain (getting hit by a car). One of the commonly cited reasons against spanking is that it incites fear in the child. However, when a child does something that could seriously injure him or herself, a lot of parents want the child to be afraid to try it again. Parents who are against spanking for other reasons often support it in this case.
Fighting Amongst Siblings
Parents should be very careful when they spank their children, because they could be sending the wrong message to the little ones. Imagine a parent who spanks his child for constantly not listening. The other siblings witness the spanking. It wouldn't be uncommon for these children to think that it is OK for them to hit one another now. Parents need to think about the potential message of violence with multiple children. Even if you have an only child, you don't want them going around hitting others. This of course means that parents who choose to spank should be ready and willing to explain to their children why they are permitted to spank, but youngsters are not permitted to hit one another.
A Personal Choice
No one can tell you whether or not spanking is right for your situation. Of course, law and morality both dictate that child abuse is wrong. Therefore, that situation is settled in terms of right or wrong. A child should not be abused. You know what methods work for disciplining your child, and you might feel that spanking is suitable in some extreme situations. Just remember that certain scenarios that occur during childhood can affect people when they grow up. Some children are tougher than others and can more readily deal with violence (like it or not, that's what spanking is). That said, it's important to provide a loving and nurturing environment 100% of the time.
Spanking might be a part of your household, but it should not be the only method of discipline. Even when the child is not in your good graces, they should know that they are loved and appreciated. Communicate why they are being punished - it's not something about them, it's something they did. Furthermore, move on - if an extreme situation is bad enough to warrant spanking, it shouldn't be used as a fear tactic to make them behave like little angels all the time. It should only be reserved for acts as heinous as the first.
Miguel Bridger writes about parenting and education. His most recent work highlights the best online counseling degrees.