Spare The Rod: Spanking Hurts More than People Think
To spank or not to spank: that is the eternal parental question. Though many people have mixed feelings on the subject, data shows 70 percent of Americans spank their kids. But is it really the best discipline method? No! Michele Borba, EdD, author of No More Misbehavin’: 38 Difficult Behaviors and How to Stop Them, explains.
Spanking and negative behaviors
Why not spanking, you may be wondering. It’s quick, it’s familiar (at least to parents who were themselves spanked as children) and it usually gets kids to stop the offending behavior — at least temporarily.
On June 27, 2002, The Associated Press released Columbia University’s analysis of six decades of research on corporal punishment. Results linked spanking to 10 negative behaviors including aggression, anti-social behavior and mental health problems. So although many parents are unaware of it, spanking can have long-term negative effects. Plus it doesn’t work that well.
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Here are 10 reasons why parents should not spank:
1. Spanking stops misbehavior momentarily. The bad behavior usually resumes because the child doesn’t know how to act differently.
2. Spanking teaches the child not how to act right, but how not to get caught when the parent is around. He becomes a champion in manipulation.
3. The child is much more likely to remember the punishment than why he was punished. He behaves out of fear instead of because he wants to act right.
4. It teaches that hitting solves problems. Kids must learn acceptable, nonviolent alternatives to solve problems.
5. Spanking teaches children to behave through “external control” (the punishment). It does not teach kids self-control — or “internal control.”
6. Spanking sends a huge mixed message: “It’s fine for adults to hit, but not kids.”
7. Spanking squelches moral growth. It stops kids from misbehaving because they want to avoid punishment (the lowest level of moral development), not because they want to do what is right.
8. It squelches empathy. Empathy — being considerate to another’s needs and feelings — is the cornerstone of moral growth. Studies find that children’s empathy is diminished when their parents control their kids through anger.
9. Spanking exposes children to violence. Learning comes through example. Spanking is an aggressive act, showing children their parents acting in an out-of-control manner.
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10. No new is behavior is learned from spanking. Spanking teaches not how to behave right, but how to shout, hit, manipulate, and control others through fear. It also fails to teach a critical discipline lesson: “So why should I behave?”
There are many ways to effectively discipline children without resorting to corporal punishment. Without privileges, ground them, assign extra chores or use time-out. The important thing is to set the consequence ahead of time, make it fit the crime, and then carry through with it every time your child misbehaves. The goal of all discipline is to teach your child to take responsibility for his choices — it’s part of helping him grow into a healthy, self-reliant and decent human being.the end