Is spanking effective? Is it harmful? Many experts seem to think so. Is it possible to spank and never have a negative emotion behind it? Even the kindest of souls are sure to get frustrated with their kids. The energy behind frustration or anger + spanking = hitting. There is plenty of research out there that proves the harmful affects of spanking children both in the long term and short term.
It takes more thought and you might just have to use your brain when disciplining if you use an alternative to spanking. I think a lot of people who spank probably do so because of how they were brought up and perhaps they believe it is the most effective tool.
I had no idea I would have an opinion about spanking before becoming a mom. In fact, I assumed I would probably spank in certain situations. That was how I was brought up and I turned out OK (whatever that means). But I believe I turned out OK despite the fact I was afraid of getting spanked, not because of it. Each child is going to react differently to various styles of discipline. There is no “right” way to discipline that works for every child across the board. I’m not here to judge other parents for how they choose to teach their child. Do any of us really know what we’re doing anyway?
Part of my journey as a mother is going to be discovering what works best and is most effective for Clara. I know intuitively that spanking is not going to work for her. Before I started reading up on discipline, I assumed a firm, serious, alpha instruction with a slap on the hand would work. Boy was I wrong! She just laughed and gave me a look straight in the eyes that said “Oh yeah!”
It hit me like a ton of bricks. Not only did it feel terribly wrong, I knew if I continued this style of discipline, more than a slap on the hand was going to be needed. As many times as a toddler is going to test their limits, I’d be spanking regularly if I was going to be consistent. It seems like common sense that regular punishment such as this would create aggression in a child. It certainly doesn’t help that violence permeates our media everyday. Here’s a post on what I think about TV and children.
So begins my journey to find out what is right for our family regarding teaching Clara to be a respectful child. Right now I’m reading Madelyn Swift’s book “Getting it Right with Children”. She makes a distinction between discipline and punishment. Discipline is teaching. Punishment is hurting to make a point. How do you create cooperation vs. resistance, build trust and self discipline in a child?
Each time Clara tests her boundaries, it gives me an opportunity to teach her lessons and values about her safety and how to treat other people. This is all a process of discovery for me. Stay tuned for future posts as I share my journey. It is bound to be full of mistakes and victories along the way!