In my post Bad Moms Unite! – Why does school start at 8am? ,I confessed that I have resorted to spanking my children in the past. Most of the time when I do this I feel a tremendous sense of guilt because I feel spanking is more about me and not really about correcting behavior in my children. On the other hand, there have been some spankings that I absolutely did not feel guilty about. With that being said, I really do not agree with the “spare the rod, spoil the child” mentality. Many will say that is because I did not grow up in the church so my unfamiliarity with scripture makes it hard for me to appreciate this mindset. But honestly, I question what we are teaching our children when we “beat” them as an expression of love. Bottom line, that is what a spanking is: a beating as an expression of love!
when a child hits a child, we call it AGGRESSION. When a child hits an adult, we call it HOSTILITY. When an adult hits an adult, we call it ASSAULT. When an adult hits a child, we call it DISCIPLINE. -author unknown
I have come to question the whole spanking culture for a number of reasons. One reason is, I live in a community where it seems domestic violence and dating assault is prevalent. As an attorney, I have represented many men and women who assault their significant others. And this assaultive behavior is not limited to adults. There are a number of teenage couples that become involved in the criminal justice system because they have physically assaulted their boyfriend or girlfriend. As a result, our court system has an anger management program in place which is supposed to teach individuals how to manage their feelings so that they do not resort to physically assaulting their loved one. Basically, what they are trying to teach is, it is not okay to hit someone because they have made you angry.
How can we teach our children that VIOLENCE WILL NOT SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS when parents turn to violence to solve their problems? -from Moral Anarachism
What is puzzling about this is, the same system that has an anger management program in place, does not see any correlation between childhood spankings and domestic violence. In fact, there are times when individuals are charged with child abuse in our system because a spanking “got out of hand”. And the same judges that chastise and punish adults for domestic violence, applaud parents who choose not to spare the rod. They are reluctant to tie the hands of a parent trying to discipline their child because they believe a failure to discipline leads to bigger problems for society in the future. And, I completely agree. But, I also wonder if there are successful alternatives to spanking as a form of discipline.
My parents spanked me as a child
As a result I now suffer from a psychological condition known as “Respect for Others” -author unknown
Oddly enough, my mother sent me and my youngest nephew’s mother the following article on spanking a couple of weeks ago, Can Spanking Lead to Relationship Violence. As we were chatting, we agreed that we have struggled with spanking to correct our children’s behavior because we worry about the signals we are sending. But, we also agreed that we have some very stubborn children that have caused us to cave in out of sheer exasperation. According to the article, studies are beginning to show what me and my nephew’s mother have internalized as parent’s: there is a correlation between “spanking” and dating violence.
So, if I am not going to spank my child, I am going to have to incorporate meditation and wine into my daily living because my child is “stubborn as a mule” and definitely needs discipline in her life. 🙂
What do you think? Should spanking be used as a form of punishment? Do you have any alternative discipline methods that have worked for you?
And, because I know that not everyone that was spanked as a child grows up to be abusive, I am curious to hear from those that were spanked as children. Do you think being spanked had any negative impact on you?