Even with these points in mind, I've read several articles that address the issue of spanking where the writer says it's okay to spank if the child is in danger – for instance, if a toddler is running into the street or reaching out to touch a hot burner on the stove. They suggest that at these times a few pops on the rear end are okay. I must admit this naïve mindset baffles me. Why in the world would we want to teach our children about safety by hurting them? Does you ski instructor jab you with his ski pole to teach you not to jump off the chairlift?
A parent who believes that spanking is the only effective way to teach a young child about safety issues is not giving the child enough credit. Children – even little ones – can indeed learn about safety through our teaching them. As a matter of fact, through teaching they will learn much more, as they can absorb the reason for the rule, and over time, can learn to make good decisions on their own. I watched two friends one summer teach their toddlers not to run in the street. Mom A gave her toddler a swat on the rear every time he went into the street. Mom B picked up her toddler, looked him in the eye, and said, "NO street! Dangerous. Stay by Mommy." By the end of the summer, both children learned to stay out of the street. Which child understood why? And which child has better communication with his mother?
Positive, respectful, consistent discipline is the real key to raising well-behaved children.