Hopefully, the latest release about parenting from The American Academy of Pediatrics will finally convince people to stop spanking children.
This is not meant as a chastisement to parents who spank, because in most cases, parents are simply disciplining their children in the same manner that their parents disciplined them.
No one is saying that previous generations of parents who spanked their children were evil; we’re simply stating that now we know better and we should act accordingly.
Research has proven that spanking children is not healthy.
It’s time to change the way we discipline.
Why is the change so difficult?
Too often I see memes on Facebook from adults who grew up with spankings, advocating spankings as a good thing. After all, they turned out all right, or did they?
We seem to be surrounded by a mentality that supposes what happened to them should happen to you, their children, etc.
Likewise, when speaking of helping others, or finding a better way, I often hear a similar excuse for things to remain the same. No one helped me, so why should anyone get help now?
The results of non-violent parenting are worth it.
As a parent with two grown children, I can proudly say that they were not spanked. They turned out great. They’re both hard-working women with generous hearts and I’m proud to call them mine.
What does spanking teach the child?
Does it teach them that it is okay to hit someone who has made you mad, or hurt you, or caused you some kind of discomfort?
I’ve always said that spanking children simply teaches them that violence is an acceptable means to an end. In reality, spanking children is little more than bullying.
Think about it… The bigger person (the parent) forces the smaller person (the child) to do as the parent wishes by overpowering them and causing them physical pain.
There are many more acceptable, peaceful ways to discipline children.
Redirecting their attention works for smaller children.
Time outs are not good for small children at home. It makes them feel alienated and rejected by the people they love most in the world – their parents.
For older children:
- Talk about it! Ask how they feel; feel what they feel, and then help them deal with it.
- Discussion with appropriate understanding. Ask them what they would do if they were the parent of a child who did what they did, said what they said, etc. Then explain what you are going to do and why you chose to handle it this way.
- Expectations are important and not always obvious to children and teens. Let them know what you expect from them. Talk about love and respect.
- Additional chores – with consequences if not completed.
- Additional homework – such as research and a short essay related to the offense, or additional work on a subject they are struggling with such as math or social studies.
- Be a deal maker. Compromise. Make it a learning experience.
Remember, dealing with behavioral problems take some time. Quick fixes rarely change the behavior long-term. Make the time to deal with the situation and hopefully save time and frazzled nerves in the future.
Identify Underlying Issues
If none of these work, then perhaps the child / teenager needs counseling to determine the underlying reason that authority and rules are ignored, assuming that they have previously been examined by a pediatrician for any potential conditions that could cause their behavior.
In a new policy statement, published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday, the pediatricians’ group recommends that adults caring for children use “healthy forms of discipline” — such as positive reinforcement of appropriate behaviors, setting limits and setting expectations — and not use spanking, hitting, slapping, threatening, insulting, humiliating or shaming.
“We know that the brain does not grow and develop as well once there has been physical punishment to the point where it can cause learning problems, problems with vocabulary and memory, as well as aggressive behavior,” Shu said.
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child issued a statement in which they called it “legalized violence against children.” Yet, many moms and dads here stubbornly insist it’s a parent’s right to punish their youngster any way they see fit.