Whether it is a light rap or a hard slap, spanking is condemned by researchers, Some parents believe that spanking has its place in disciplining a child. Let’s put the debate to rest. Let’s examine some alternatives.
Most parents remember being spanked at some point in their lives. As a result,they accept it as a normal part of child rearing. Some parents modify it to make it less frequent and non-abusive, but they do not deny spanking as a way of disciplining their children. Researchers, parents and psychologists have been fiercely debating this question – Is spanking okay? There is no consensus, so let’s deep dive into the subject.
What Qualifies as Spanking?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary says spanking is: “to strike especially on the buttocks with the open hand”.
Arguments Pro Research
Research clearly states that the effect of spanking can be far from beneficial:
- The child accepts aggression as a way of life and practices it later in life.
- He/she can develop emotional problems and may link spanking with not being loved.
- The child may lose his/her self-esteem and retreat into a shell
- He/she may learn to hide the truth to avoid a negative situation back home
Many other physical, social and emotional problems have also been linked to spanking.
Arguments Against Research
However, some psychologists recommend taking this research with a grain of salt. A lot of studies on the subject do not differentiate between spanking and other physical punishments, making the results hazy to say the least. In these studies, spanking has been defined broadly to include hitting, biting or even serious abuse. Besides, most of the studies are short term in nature. Long-term studies that show effects of spanking over time, along with changes in other age-related behaviours can be seen as more accurate. For more on prenting check out Do you have a mad house of screaming children and crazy parents? Pat your back
Furthermore, it is difficult to study the effects of spanking in a natural home environment. After all, parents wouldn’t spank their kids in the presence of researchers. Lab tests are equally difficult. So the methods used can never give definitive answers.
Alternatives to Spanking
Even psychologists who do not agree with the research results fully, don’t favour spanking. They make the point that we shouldn’t need research numbers to tell us what is morally correct. Sometimes we even have strong disagreements with adults in our lives. Do we hit them to make our point? Why then must children face such atrocities?
When your child is acting out, what else can you do?
Step 1: Don’t Give in to the Temptation:
Physically showing power will always be the easiest way out. You could just whack your child and tell him/her to shut up. It’s that simple. It is so much easier than teaching the right behaviour and the reasoning behind it. However, psychologists compare this to other vices. Its works like an addiction. You will want to end all arguments or stressful situations with a spank. Imagine what can happen if you get just a little more fed up with your child’s behaviour. Anger can boil over and adults can cross the thin line to step into child abuse. No parent in his right mind would want to do that. However, when you argue that spanking is acceptable, you loosen your own reins. Don’t start what you may not be able to stop. For more tips check out How To: Combat Tantrums and Threats Like A Boss
Step 2: Regain Control & Try a Trick
When you start losing control, your voice and tone will change. Take that as a sign. Before you get to the next level, remove yourself from the situation. Close your eyes and count to ten. Press the pause button on everything else going on in the house. Is the gas on? Switch it off for a bit. Is the phone ringing? Keep it away. Are the siblings fighting? Don’t referee. Just regain your peaceful state of mind. Sit down, take stock of the situation and use one of these tricks:
- Repeat: You must have said it a thousand times already, but your child needs one more reminder of what he/she did wrong. Don’t shout from a distance. Look into the child’s eyes so that you are sure he/she is listening. Say it again firmly.
- Let it go: Punishment is not the way of life. If you spank your child for making a mistake, he/she will never tell you the truth. The child will resent you for being bossy. Some mistakes are irreversible. Your child may already know that spilling a glass full of milk is bad. If you don’t make a big deal out of it, he/she will not try to cover it up. Instead, he/she will bring it to your notice, apologise and clean up.
- Accept alternatives: So your child didn’t listen to you? He/she went to a party in spite of your warning? If you spank, the child may listen in the immediate term but the long term consequences may not be all that good. The event is over; nobody can reverse it. Can he/she make up for the mistake? Give the child some choices. Would he/she help you with the household chores?
Step 3: Use a timeout or a milder form of non-physical punishment
When nothing else works, give your child a timeout. Allow the child to get a handle on his/her emotions. Tell the child that you will be around to talk when he/she calms down. Remember that time-outs should be used moderately, so don’t resort to this in Step 2. After a time-out, don’t keep it bitter. Assume that the lesson is learnt and move on. Make up with plenty of hugs and kisses.
You can even try taking away a privilege. No playtime with their bestfriend or no screens can be a good choice. However, don’t hold these restrictions in place for too long. If they behave well for a day they can earn back their privilege.
The Bottom Line
When you don’t use spanking, you automatically use plenty of psychologically beneficial techniques instead. You can then slowly but surely master them. You will know what tricks work on your child and you will have your own secret formula to stop tantrums in their tracks. As the child grows, your authority will be accepted – not out of fear, but out of respect.
For more tips read Keep Calm And Read This Post