To spank or not to spank… isn’t that the question we all ask ourselves as parents? Spanking is a form of punishment that is seen in most households but is it really the best form of punishment? I have to admit that I have spanked my children on occasions but we put an end to spanking when we realized it wasn’t helping to solve the problem. Spanking doesn’t teach a child what they are doing wrong or how to stop the action instead it is more of a way for parents to release their anger. Spanking not only doesn’t solve the problem at hand but more importantly it teaches the child that violence is acceptable to use if someone does something you don’t agree with.
I recently read a spanking scenario on supernanny.com in which it basically asks if your older child and toddler were playing together and the toddler took the older child’s toy would you allow the older child to spank the toddler in order to show the toddler that taking a toy is wrong. Most people would agree that allowing this type of behavior is not okay, so why as adults do we feel like it’s okay to spank a child for their wrong behavior?
I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve told my teenage son that it’s never ok to hit or play rough with his smaller sisters, yet parents do it all of the time. Is the reality of spanking becoming clear yet?
One thing that I hear a lot is “my parents spanked me and I turned out great.” Well that’s wonderful for you but it still doesn’t make it okay, not when there are so many other forms of punishment that has been brought to parents attention since we were kids. There is really so much parents can do besides spanking, it’s just a matter of learning what works for you and your child.
What are the alternatives to spanking?
Having a time out is always the first choice. Time outs are not just about taking the child and putting them in a corner or in a chair for five or ten minutes. Instead, time outs are meant for both the parent and child to be removed from the situation in hopes of calming down and then talking about what went wrong and how to fix it. It’s my opinion that a parent spanks because they are so mad at the time and spanking releases that anger. If parents take time to calm down they often realize spanking isn’t needed.
This one is simple, give the child a choice without a treat such as: “Would you like to play the game without fighting with your sister or would you rather go play alone in your room?” Now, if the problem continues let the child know that they didn’t stop the bad behavior now they must do the opposite choice.
Bring in someone else
If it gets to the point where you feel so angry that you can’t calm yourself then have someone else come sit with the child and remove yourself from the situation completely.
Be kind but be firm
Get on the child’s level, look them in the eye while holding their hands lovingly and explain what you would like them to do or how you expect them to act. This way you don’t come off so scary to your child and they aren’t afraid of you and want to please you.
These are only a few alternatives to spanking but there is a lot of other things to do besides spanking. The most important thing to remember is to make sure you are making a huge deal out of the positive things your child does and not just the bad behavior. Most of the time children are behaving badly because they are not getting attention and as bad as it sounds, if negative attention is all the child can get they will take that attention rather than having none at all. You are responsible for your child and you should be more then happy to show them a way of dealing with stress, anger, and unhappiness without violence.