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THE CASE AGAINST SPANKING
If you are a parent who occasionally and very moderately spanks his child we are not saying you will permanently damage your child and your relationship with them. However since spanking is a form of physical assault you can never be sure how your child will react to it. There are many ways in which spanking can "backfire". Many parents use spanking because it is what their parents used with them and therefore they assume it to be acceptable, or they have not learned other methods, or they do not have the patience to learn other methods and like the "quick fix" they get with spanking. Let us consider below some reasons not to use spanking.
- The child may learn that it is okay to hit. The child will do what you do, not what you tell them to do. If you ever hit your child it will seem hypocritical if you tell them it is not okay to hit.
- Hitting belittles the child. A child is a little person. Any person can feel demeaned and shamed when they are hit. How would you feel if someone hit you right now?
- Hitting demeans the parent. As a parent you want to be trusted, not feared.
- Hitting may lead to abuse. If a parent uses spanking as a way of stopping unwanted behaviors in their children what happens if it doesn't work. If spanking is our only alternative we have to spank harder. There is a very fine line between light spanking and abuse.
- Hitting often does not correct the misbehavior. What we often get instead is resistance and rebellion from an angry child.
- Hitting creates a relationship of fear with your child. It can teach the child that to get other people to do what we want them to, we need to make them fear us. They could potentially apply this belief throughout their lives. Throughout the world we see humans attempting to control others through fear. It may well be that the first place they learned this concept was in the home. We do not want our child to respect us through fear. This is not true respect. We want them to respect us through trust. Hitting does not create trust. But talking to them does.
- Hitting doesn't teach new, adaptive behaviors - The purpose of discipline should be to teach children new, adaptive life skills. Hitting obviously does not do that. It may teach a child what not to do to avoid being hit, but it does not teach an alternative behavior to the one they were punished for. Spanking is a "quick fix" to stop an unwanted behavior. That is what we refer to as punishment. It does not teach life skills.
My experience has been that once parents learn other ways to deal with their children's misbehavior, they do not go back to spanking.
This website is dedicated to promoting non-abusive alternatives to disciplining children. When we say "non-abusive", we mean the elimination of verbal and emotional abuse as well. You may want to consider purchasing our Parenting Workbook or taking one of the complete Parenting programs.
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