Sometimes a parent becomes so angry with their child that the only option they see is spanking their child. Unfortunately spanking doesn’t resolve the issue or teach a child anything other than reacting physically towards someone is okay. To help understand the impact spanking has on a child and 7 things a parent can do instead of spanking, I have interviewed psychologist Dr. Rama Ronen.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I am a licensed Clinical Psychologist working at the Entelechy Wellness Center in San Francisco, California. I earned my Ph.D. degree in Clinical Psychology from Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, which is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association. My areas of specialty are supporting moms and dads transitioning into parenthood and parenting consultation. I believe that becoming a parent is one of the most fulfilling and challenging life experiences. When you become a parent your life is forever changed. Seeking support during this time is vital to maintain your own well-being as well as enhancing your relationship with your baby. I am also a mom of a 4 year old boy and 5 month old twin boys.”
What type of an impact can spanking have on a child’s overall life?
“Spanking can produce significant negative consequences such as emotional and/or behavioral problems. By spanking your child you are role modeling to him/her that aggression is acceptable. As a result children may exhibit increased aggression towards their peers. In addition, spanking can be very confusing when a parent tells a child not to hit siblings and/or peers and as a consequence the child is getting spanked. This double message can create a sense of shame and mistrust building resentment and revenge and can lead to extreme anxiety and depression.”
What are 7 things a parent can do instead of spanking?
1. “Prevention – When you sense that your child is about to have a meltdown or do something that is not acceptable try to distract him/her before the bad behavior occurs.”
2. “Praise ‘” provide positive feedback for your child’s efforts rather than just accomplishments.”
3. “Observe ‘” watch your child, when you see that he/she is getting frustrated you can say, “I can see that you are getting frustrated can I help”?”
4. “Give choices ‘” children don’t like to feel powerless. Give your child 2 choices so they can make their choice and feel in control.”
5. “Leave the situation ‘” take care of yourself by going to a different room, making coffee/tea, taking a walk.”
6. “Making the switch ‘” when you and your child are having a head to head conflict, snap out of it, surprise your child with a silly comment or action.”
7. “Setting clear limits ‘” talk to your child gently but firmly, make eye contact and tell your child what you need as well as setting clear and realistic consequences give warnings and most importantly follow through.”
“End of your rope ‘” when you sense that your child’s behavior gets to you share it with your child i.e. “I am about to lose my patience, I need some space” by doing that you are role modeling to your child that you have limits as well.”
What can a parent do if they feel like spanking their child?
“When you feel like spanking your child, take a deep breath and separate yourself from the situation. Observe and notice your thoughts and feelings; i.e., “I feel frustrated and upset”; “I am a bad parent”;” I don’t know how to discipline my child”. Have compassion for yourself, tell yourself parenting is such a hard role, it is okay for me to feel this way, what can I do to be effective now and make up with my child?”
What last advice would you like to leave for a parent who uses spanking as a form of disciplining?
“It might not feel this way at the moment but remember that the child bearing years pass by super fast. As hard as it gets try to enjoy the moment. Children are always so curious, full of imagination, and innocence. See it as an opportunity to become playful again and enjoy the little things in life such as noticing a butterfly or the clear sky. Build a strong, healthy relationship with your child that will last a life time.”
Thank you Dr. Ronen for doing the interview on 7 things to do instead of spanking. For more information on Dr. Rama Ronen you can check out her website on http://www.entelechywellness.com.
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