Don’t spank your children

There is no right way to spank a child. Spanking a child “calmly” and “in love” is still hitting a child in order to cause enough pain, fear and humiliation that they will not repeat the behavior. Spanking calmly just reinforces the idea that people who love you have the right to hit you when you mess up. Imagine someone you love losing their temper and saying something mean. It hurts. Then imagine that person deliberately saying something to hurt you when they were calm and in control. For most of us, that would hurt even more, and we would be more likely to believe that we deserved to be treated that way. Whether it is done calmly or in anger, hurting a child still results in a hurt child, and you can leave marks on a heart even if you don’t leave marks on a body. A child is always acting out for a reason and it’s up the the parent to find the reasoning for their behavior and help them resolve their issue and understand their feelings. It is not a parents job to not try to understand the problem and the emotion of your child and go to spanking. Children don’t know how to control their feelings very well yet, that’s why you have to teach them that. If you have a “bratty” child, that is your doing. I totally understand parenting is not a walk in the park. I understand it’s one of the hardest things a person will do in life. I get it, really I do. That is why I started researching child care and parenting styles at the age of 16. I love children and hope to have some one day later in life but I want to be a good parent, that’s why I’m becoming educated at a very young age, years before I even want children.

In many cases of so-called “bad behavior”, the child is simply responding in the only way he can, given his age and experience, to neglect of basic needs. Among these needs are: proper sleep and nutrition, treatment of hidden allergy, fresh air, exercise, and sufficient freedom to explore the world around him. But his greatest need is for his parents’ undivided attention. In these busy times, few children receive sufficient time and attention from their parents, who are often too distracted by their own problems and worries to treat their children with patience and empathy. It is surely wrong and unfair to punish a child for responding in a natural way to having important needs neglected. For this reason, punishment is not only ineffective in the long run, it is also clearly unjust. Punishment distracts the child from learning how to resolve conflict in an effective and humane way. As the educator John Holt wrote, “When we make a child afraid, we stop learning dead in its tracks.”  A punished child becomes preoccupied with feelings of anger and fantasies of revenge, and is thus deprived of the opportunity to learn more effective methods of solving the problem at hand. Thus, a punished child learns little about how to handle or prevent similar situations in the future.  Punishment interferes with the bond between parent and child, as it is not human nature to feel loving toward someone who hurts us. The true spirit of cooperation which every parent desires can arise only through a strong bond based on mutual feelings of love and respect.

Punishment, even when it appears to work, can produce only superficially good behavior based on fear, which can only take place until the child is old enough to resist. In contrast, cooperation based on respect will last permanently, bringing many years of mutual happiness as the child and parent grow older. Even relatively moderate spanking can be physically dangerous. Blows to the lower end of the spinal column send shock waves along the length of the spine, and may injure the child. The prevalence of lower back pain among adults in our society may well have its origins in childhood punishment. Some children have become paralyzed through nerve damage from spanking, and some have died after mild paddlings, due to undiagnosed medical complications. Physical punishment gives the dangerous and unfair message that “might makes right”, that it is permissible to hurt someone else, provided they are smaller and less powerful than you are. The child then concludes that it is permissible to mistreat younger or smaller children. When he becomes an adult, he can feel little compassion for those less fortunate than he is, and fears those who are more powerful. This will hinder the establishment of meaningful relationships so essential to an emotionally fulfilling life. Because children learn through parental modeling, physical punishment gives the message that hitting is an appropriate way to express feelings and to solve problems. If a child does not observe a parent solving problems in a creative and humane way, it can be difficult for him to learn to do this himself. For this reason, unskilled parenting often continues into the next generation. Approaching this from a behaviorist perspective, conditioning by punishment (pain) requires that the consequence always occur immediately after every instance. When you touch a hot stove with a bare hand, you get burned, period. This does not occur with the behaviors parents spank for—parents are often not around to see them or are not willing or able to spank immediately afterwards. Spanking does not convey positive guidance on how to behave in a particular situation, only how not to behave if a threat of punishment is at hand. Children learn positive behaviors from practicing actions that work, ones that lead to a sense of belonging and competence. They internalize what they practice and what their family practices. They learn reasons for their actions from what they hear and are told, but active practice has the deepest impact.

If you spank your child you obviously can not control your own emotions, how can you help your child control their own? That’s a big reason why I believe waiting to have children until you know you’re ready is very important. Being ready to me means financially and emotionally. You need to know how to control your own emotions and how to resolve things properly and logically. Anyone can be a parent, anyone can “raise” a child. Anyone can’t guide a child to be a successful human being though. Educate yourselves fully before being a parent. Unplanned pregnancy? Research the crap about of everything to do with parenthood and raising a child respectfully with no violence. Don’t look into things you already know. Look at all parenting styles. Look at all the methods. Look at science. Know what’s best to understand children. They’re all different but all need to be guided with love and respect. I will write a post about why gentle parenting is the best option, scientifically and just because of my opinion. That’ll be later on though. Give the anti-spanking topic a chance though, research into it a little. I promise, if you’re pro-spanking, it’ll change your mind completely.
Need an alternative to spanking?


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