Positive Discipline: The Key to Well-Behaved Kids
1. Spanking does nothing to teach a child to develop inner discipline. A child’s focus is on the spanking itself, not on a review of the behavior that led to it. After a spanking, a child does not sit in his room and think, “Gee, I sure goofed. But I really learned something. Next time I’ll behave.” Instead a child is typically thinking, “It’s not fair! She doesn’t understand! I hate her!”
2. Spanking is seen as punishment for a crime, payment for a debt. In other words, once paid, they have a clean slate. Spanking gets in the way of allowing a child to develop a conscience. The guilt that follows misbehavior is a prime motivator for change. Spanking takes away the guilt, because the crime has been paid for.
3. Spanking makes the parent feel better. When we get angry, we move into the “fight or flight” mode. Our adrenaline increases, and we have a primitive need to strike out. Hitting releases this negative energy, and helps us feel better. But even a minor spanking can escalate into major abuse. Parents have reported that during the heat of the moment it’s hard to stop hitting, and some say that they don’t even realize how hard they’ve hit until they see the bruise.
4. Parents who spank sometimes come to rely upon spanking as their primary source of discipline. If you give yourself permission to spank, it becomes a quick fix for all kinds of problems; it blocks off the effective use of other more productive skills.
5. Spanking gets in the way of a healthy parent-child relationship. Children look up to their parents as protectors, teachers, and guides. When a parent breaks that pattern by hitting a child, the relationship suffers.
6. Spanking is not an effective form of discipline. Hitting a child typically stops a behavior at that point because of shock, fear or pain. But most children turn around and repeat the same behavior – sometimes even the same day!
7. Spanking is not humane or Christian behavior. I know there are many Christian families that believe in spanking. They often quote to me from the Bible, “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” Now, I am not an expert on the Bible, but I am a Christian, and from that position only do I give you this opinion. I believe that the “rod” as referred to here means a tool of discipline. In the days of the Bible, a shepherd used a “rod” to guide his sheep – he did not hit them with it. His rod was seen as a symbol of his authority over the animals, not a tool to cause them pain. I also ask you these questions: If God walked into your home today and saw your child misbehave, would he hit your child? I would say definitely not! Would he discipline your child? Would he teach your child? Would he guide your child? I would say yes, absolutely!
8. Spanking does teach a lesson. The lesson is: “When you don’t know what else to do – hit!” or “When you’re bigger you can hit.” Or “When you’re really angry you can get your way by hitting.” It’s common knowledge that children who are frequently hit are more likely to accept the use of violence, and are more likely to hit other children. It only makes sense, because, after all, children learn what they live. Children who are spanked often have more resentment and anger, and lower self-esteem.
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