- Family and Parenting
There Is No Need to Spank a Child
When I was growing up spanking was very much a part of my father's discipline. I remember him making my brothers and sisters and myself lay over our bed while he whacked us with a paddle or a belt. There were times when my twin sister and I would huddle and cry in our room while we listened to the screams of our little brother being paddled because he did something he was not supposed to. We were all afraid of our father. In fact, we all left the house at a very early age because of it. I think it frustrated my brother the most and he ended up acting out very badly by the age of 11. As my father and brother got older, my father felt he was losing control and his spankings escalated into full out fights between him and my brother. I can't blame my father because that is how he was raised, but I can say that my father has not done the best he can do with his life. I left his house when I was 16 with the first man that said he loved me and wanted to be with me. I took the opportunity because I didn't feel I was getting that in my parent's house. He ended up being abusive, but as naive as I was I didn't think it was abnormal because I was used to being hit when I did something wrong. I had my first child at the age of 18 and my second at the age of 20. It was not until I was 21 years old that I recognized that being knocked down, punched in the face or spit on was not a healthy relationship.
I realized this one day when my younger son was three years old and he was crying because he didn't want to get into the bathtub. He couldn't tell me why so I just assumed he was doing it "just because". He just kept pointing at something instead of talking and it made me so angry that he wouldn't just tell me. In my anger I slapped his mouth and told him to stop crying. Of course that didn't work because I made his lip bleed. I didn't realize how hard I hit him.
I discovered a few months later that my son has Aspergers syndrome, a form of autism.
I, like my father, had failed to see the big picture. I didn't even know the half of what my child had been struggling to accomplish. I have never felt so disgusted and guilty in my life. Since then, I have vowed to myself that I will never hit my children. There is no need for it. The most important thing to me is to understand why they are behaving the way they are and fix it. You can not underestimate the intelligence of a child's mind. When they are doing something that I do not want them to do I no longer get angry. Now that they are getting older, if they are getting angry, I keep my mood calm and when they see that they are the only one behaving that way it quickly stops. Children don't like to be embarrassed and if they are causing a scene in the home or a public place if you let them know they are creating negative attention towards themselves they will listen and take notice.
Then I calmly explain myself, I ask THEM questions as to why they are mad, then I suggest an alternative means of dealing with the situation. If they are having difficulty controlling their anger, I simply tell them that I do not appreciate the way they are handling themselves, and I sit them in the center of the kitchen. (Never in their room because I think they will start associating their own space as a place they only go when they are in trouble.) This way, I am not putting them in a position where they can get in more trouble. They can still see what is going on and what they are missing out on because of their behavior and there is nothing for them to touch.
I have also noticed the behaviors between siblings who are spanked and those that are not. When you hit your child I think it instills in them that you have to hit in order to get what you want. They tend to fight with each other more or they have more fights with children in their school. I've seen a toddler being spanked for doing something wrong and then in return hit or bite the parent. When if the parent had literally "put the child in their place" such as the kitchen, the child calms down and more times than not goes to hug the parent when they realize that what they did was wrong. The first couple of times it can be exhausting because the toddler will keep getting up, but the harder you persist, the more they realize you are in control and the more respect you will get.
My biggest pet peeve with spanking now is the fact that it has become so publicized as a sexual act rather than an act of discipline. Today's society is teaching our children that being spanked can be seen as a fun and exciting thing. If you google spanking and look at the images 90% of them are two adults posing either in a sexual nature, or in joking manner. Parents have completely lost the advantage if you believe that spanking is a form of good discipline. It has even been incorporated in our dancing so of course if you "spank" your child, they are more likely to see it as being hit and that to me creates violence.
It is such an old tradition that has been utilized since the beginnings of time, these teachings cause the domino effect when the child turns into an adult. If we were all raised to just stop, understand, and communicate love rather then use a physical and hurtful way to properly assess our situations the world would be a much more peaceful place without all the hypocrisy.