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Spanking: Discipline or Abuse?

Updated on June 15, 2010

Is spanking now considered an archaic means of discipline?

In today's society, the rules of parenting have changed drastically. Gone are the days of using belts, or switches or even an open, flat hand to discipline your child. In it's place are verbal warnings and time-outs. There seems to always be new evidence to suggest that even spanking your child cause "aggression" in children. Where does this belief truly come from? What is the basis for the studies

It's a known fact that our society has grown exponentially more violent in recent years. Contribute wishy-washy parenting to the mix of a more sedentary lifestyle, more sugar in the diet and violent video games and television and you have a recipe for unruly, disrespectful children who do not understand bounderies and have no respect for their own lives much less anyone else. This detachment from reality is multi-faceted, but lack of consistent and solid discipline does play a major role.

While there is never a good reason for abuse of any kind, spanking is not typically classified as abuse even by it's staunchest opponents. It may be often termed as too harsh a punishment, however. One of the possible reasons for this is the fact that too often, spanking is done out of anger, and therefore being used in an inappropriate manner. If spanking is to ever be used it would be far better to use it sparingly and calmly, never as an outlet for a frustrated parent to vent with.

Consistency in parenting is key. If you are feeling angry when your child misbehaves, both parties need a cool down time. Whether the situation warrants a spanking can only be determined by the individual and not recommended by anyone else. Using some common sense in all interactions with children is essential, and remembering that children are not to be related to on the same level as an adult is crucial. Children truly do not have the same reasoning skills or sense of cause and effect as most adults do. For instance, a child steals a cookie from the cookie jar thinking "I am hungry!" or "I like cookies!" The train of thought is not "When Mom isn't looking, I am going to ruin my appetite for dinner and eat all the cookies she worked so hard to make!"

Finally, getting involved actively in your child's life is key. Too many children have electronic devices in the form of computers, hand held video games and television. This also decreases the amount of physical activity a child gets. Children have a tremendous amount of energy, and when it is not expended, it could lead to aggressive, disrespectful behaviors and often does. Getting outside and burning off that energy works wonders.

So the magic parenting formula that produces a happy child certainly consists of balance, but not one that needs to be done involving hoops of fire to jump through. Consistency, exercise, mutual respect and involvement all go a very long way to raising a happy and well adjusted child.


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      Terence 7 years ago

      Violent crime has decreased in our society