Spanking is pretty much equated with discipline. We've been doing it for generations and generations. As our grandmothers would say "spare the rod, spoil the child."
But while this sounds like the instinctive mode of discipline, the lack of spanking does not necessarily mean that the child has to be spoiled. There are other more effective methods of discipline that can ensure that you're guiding your child on the right path without hitting them.
Over the decade, study after study has been conducted on human behavior. And the revelations of these studies suggest that corporal punishment may be a less effective discipline or motivator than others.
Here, we'll run you through 20 reasons why every parent should stop spanking now.
20 It's Lazy
Child experts argue that spanking is lazy parenting. We do it when we're angry or when we're frustrated. We do it when we want our children to stop what they're doing this very moment. But, as with other things, no permanent change is instant. Hitting your child may keep them off doing something temporarily, but then they tend to focus on the pain of the hit and not so much on what they've done wrong. Your children need better discipline than that.
19 It Teaches the Wrong Things
Spanking a kid when you're angry or frustrated teaches them that this is a legitimate way to deal with anger or frustration. They are then more likely to hit others as well. Think about it: if another kid hit your child at school, would you take it well? Even when they've done something wrong? Would it be alright if your child hit another one at school? It's not a healthy way to deal with anger and your child should know it.
18 It Doesn't Teach the Right Things
Surprisingly, spanking doesn't really teach your child the right thing either. It comes as a form of negative reinforcement that teaches a child not to do this or not to do that without necessarily teaching them what it is, exactly, they have to do. This can be confusing for kids in a world where there can be conflicting demands upon them. For instance, they know it's bad to get failing grades but, at the same time, they also know it's wrong to cheat to avoid getting a failing grade. Knowing these two wrong things doesn't necessarily teach them to love learning and to do their best.
17 It Makes Bullies
Bullying is a major problem in many schools. And it turns out that corporal punishment at home could be one of the culprits. It's not so much the hitting that makes the bully. It's a sort-of power play: the idea that the person who has the ability to harm you is in control. Children who believe this may be prone to bullying others to get what they want or to win control over the playground. Alternatively, they may be less likely to stand up to bullies, knowing that with the hit is the power.
16 It Shows Distrust
Of course, you may very well have the best intentions when you're spanking your child. However, you must remember that as a parent, your child's entire world revolves around you and how you structure their lives. Spanking will make your child distrust you, especially when she doesn't quite understand what she did wrong. Eventually, she may learn to distrust authority figures, seeing them as people who look for things that are wrong rather than those who guide you to what is right.
15 It Creates a Gap
This mistrust can create a gap between you and your child. Children who are spanked are less likely to tell the truth and open up about their lives. They may be more reluctant to share with you experiences and thoughts that are sensitive, feeling that their honesty will only be repaid with a hit. This is a major loss, considering that conversations on these sensitive issues are a great opportunity to impart true guidance and discipline.
14 It Destroys Relationships
Spanking can damage your relationship with your child. A relationship without trust and openness, after all, can veer towards unhealthy, even when it's one between a parent and child. Especially one between a parent and child.
13 No Self-Control
Despite what we may think, spanking does not teach self-control. Instead, it teaches your child to avoid spanking. Here's a simple example of this: if you spank your child every time she takes a biscuit, she's quickly going to learn not to do it again. When the punishment disappears, however, either because you've stopped doing it or because you're away, she's still likely to resume the behavior you're discouraging.
12 It Undermines Self-Worth
Spanking can teach a child to devalue herself. Because she has done something wrong and was harshly punished for it, it places her in a position where she thinks that she is someone worthy of punishment. That is, that she actually deserves to be punished since she is bad. This can be a dangerous, self-limiting behavior for a child.
11 It Creates Problems
Children who have been spanked are more likely to experience problems growing up and even into adulthood. Spanking can lead to a multitude of problems, including violence and substance abuse. Data even show that people who have been spanked as children are more likely to have unhappy marriages. This is because the violence has been so ingrained into the child's psyche that it becomes normal for them, causing them to deal with all problems in a similar manner.
10 Look Into Yourself
Studies show that parents who are depressed are more likely to spank their child than those who are not. This is quite a thought-provoking finding that invites introspection. Even for parents who still advocate spanking, it's still worth asking yourself if the particular behavior in question definitely warrants spanking, or if your mood for today has predisposed you to hitting your child.
9 Lower IQ
Children who have been spanked are likely to have lower IQs compared to those who haven't. On average, they tended to score five points less than other kids. Scientists say that this is because spanking can be a traumatic experience. Trauma, in turn can have a negative impact on your child's intelligence.
8 More Effective Methods
Even if you took out all the negative effects of spanking, the alternatives would still be more desirable. There are, after all, methods of discipline that are far more effective than spanking. Among them is talking to your child regarding their behavior and help them understand that what they've done was wrong. Take more proactive measures to ensure that your child repairs any damage done by her actions. If she's hit someone at school, for instance, make her go and apologize instead of hitting her in turn.
Of course, these methods require far more time, energy and care than spanking does but they're more likely to influence long-term behavior.
7 Better Behavior without Spanking
Children whose parents discipline with kindness tend to be more kind than those who are disciplined with spanking. This is because children tend to mirror their parents' behaviors. If you set a good example of the values you want to teach them, they're far more likely to develop these as they grow up.
6 Mental Illness
Spanking and other forms of corporal punishment have been found to lead to an increased risk of mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders, personality disorders and even mood disorders. If it's really not worth it, hold the rod. It's not worth the sacrifice to your child's mental health.
5 Drawing the Line
At the end of the day, where do we draw the line between "normal" childhood discipline and physical abuse? Granted, most parents can tell the difference. However, considering the fact that abusers do justify their actions as discipline and that sometimes it can be difficult to control your actions when you're angry, it's difficult to measure how much damage has actually been done until you're standing in its aftermath.
4 Positive Parenting is Forever
Let's face it: you can't spank your kids forever. Spanking may be somewhat effective when they're still kids, but what do you do when they hit their teens? The strategies that you use will have to be drastically different. If they're unused to this sort of discipline, they're really not likely to respond to it.
Positive parenting, however, is something that you can enforce from when they're two to twenty-two.
3 Kindness is Success
Given all that we've been talking about, it's no leap to say that positive parenting leads to kids who end up to be successful adults. Some studies show that firm, but warm parenting results in kids who ultimately do better at school and in life than their peers.
2 Better Attachment
Parents who are more nurturing and practice positive discipline are more likely to have a better relationship with their child. This helps create a trusting bond that can help guide your child to become a better, more responsible adult.
Ultimately, positive parenting helps you listen to your child more and, in turn, allows you to explain why you think it is wrong. This sort of dialogue not only encourages better behavior, but it also builds your relationship for the long term.
1 No Regret
Ultimately, you are going to regret spanking your child. Many parents feel this instantly when they've done it. After all, even with good intentions, what parent loves seeing their child hurt? Others look back after several years and see the damage that it has incurred.
You don't need to confront this sort of regret, especially considering that there are better ways to make sure your child is on the right path.