Physical punishment does not help raise well behaved children – it hurts AND it puts children at risk for developing mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse and more later in life.
Although most parents will reach a point of exasperation, feel at a loss of what to do, or simply follow what they experienced as a child, it simply is never OK to hit, swat, shove or spank a child. Does it happen a lot? Yes, it does. Do parents tell themselves it is justified? Sure. But, really and truly there is always an alternative to spanking. Even if we cannot see it, in that moment of fury, disappointment or despair, the alternatives are there.
Maybe you believe that you were spanked and therefore it’s perfectly alright to spank your child, after all you turned out just fine. Children shouldn’t turn out just fine, children shouldn’t be negotiating the tricky path that it is to grow up with artificially and unnecessarily created trauma and disappointment. Life offers plenty of obstacles without the added assault. Children should be guided and supported so they can thrive, not recover and say they survived.
Maybe when you get really frustrated, you cannot see any possible alternative, and I get that. I’ve been in that red zone of total fear and anger before. When I get really frustrated, I try to remind myself that this whole parenting stuff is a process, things cannot possibly be solved with one swat or spanking. There simply isn’t a quick fix or a magic solution.
Some may say a child will never learn life’s lessons unless they are spanked. Children are smart and capable, let's give them some credit! Children learn hundreds of things without punishments.
Babies spend somewhere between 12 and 16 months learning to walk. They find their feet, they learn to roll, they pull up to a standing…it’s a process. Learning about right from wrong, boundaries, social skills, language…it’s just like that, it’s a process. As parents we can accompany our children, give them guidance and model the way.
It’s not easy. It can’t be easy. Life is far too complex and amazing to be easy. It takes patience, waiting, lots and lots of waiting, more patience and yup you guessed it, more patience. There will be trials, errors, a lot of emotions with bound, rise and fall. There will be disappointment, sadness, happiness, frustration... There does not need to be added pain.
If you choose to spank your child, you are making a choice. What would happen if the next time ask yourself: Is it work the risk? What is my reason for spanking? Is it to teach a lesson? Can I choose to teach my child in a different way?
If my child is being disrespectful, I can show respect, model what I expect in return. If I keep my hands to myself, count to 100, show other ways to handle my frustrations and speak with empathy and understanding. I can take a break and cool off. I can find someone to help me. I can simply walk away. By doing that, I am showing my child real life skills. Skills that she can take with her for life to use anywhere under any circumstance.
For every choice we make there is always an alternative. So If we must teach a lesson to our children, why not choose to teach a lesson of love, compassion and understanding?
Our children will make mistakes, they may make bad choices. We can make better choices, we can lead the way, we can ask for forgiveness, forgive, look for alternatives, provide solutions and most of all, we can be the safe and trusted placed our children need us to be.
So, no matter what your reason might be for raising your hand, please remember there is ALWAYS an alternative to spanking.
Peace & Be Well,
Ps- Join me at the Positive Parenting Connection page on facebook for daily ideas, inspiration and resources!