I’m of the mindset that spanking my child as a form of punishment is completely immoral. How could it be otherwise? I’m not talking about beating a kid causing physical injury. I’m talking about the open hand to the butt, or extremities parents use to alter un-wanted behavior.
The first argument FOR child abuse is “Well, Ryan, the Bible supports hitting children as a form of punishment, but not with your hand, a rod!” (Proverbs 23:13-14 NAB) This doesn’t seem like a good argument for hitting a kid. The bible also condones slavery. Oh and the subjugation of women. We as a society have moved past these things, well, most of us. So let’s move past child abuse too, shall we?
My philosophy to parenting is “Be smarter than your child.” Statistics show that parents start physically punishing their children as early as 6 months old. This is absurd! The child can’t even walk or talk let alone use moral guidelines to determine what is right from wrong. Instead of using pain, use alternative methods such as the time-out method. At such a young age the child can’t discern the causality between wrong-doing and punishment anyway, so why spank them? Unless, of course, you’re angry and it feels good to “snap” and spank your kid. That’s a great way to raise a child! I highly doubt a parent calmly says: “Little Joey, don’t play with my car keys again. You started my car last time. Little Joey, I said no, put them down please. Okay. You didn’t listen now come over here and lay across my lap as I administer physical pain to your rear-end since you didn’t do as I asked.” I imagine it goes more like “Hey, I said no! Stop!” followed by a brisk smack to the hand or rear-end; both startling and inflicting minor pain on that child. What that does? It shows a child they need to listen to the word “No” or else they’ll get smacked. How I raised my son (very successfully might I add)? I sternly told him his action was incorrect and WHY it was incorrect. He’s just a child! He doesn’t know better! (Well, he does now that he’s older, but when he was two or so…) How do children learn things? By their parents explaining it to them. Do parents who spank their children also use physical punishment when it’s time to learn the ABC’s? “Goddamit Lillian! D comes after C!” Smack. No, of course not. Children are blank pages. It’s up to the parent to fill those pages with the desired knowledge. They need to be taught WHY coloring on the walls is frowned upon, not just that if they do color on the walls they’ll get hit. Much like how I can behave without the threat of hell, my son can behave without the threat of physical pain. I’m the adult here, after all.
It’s my responsibility that no matter how frustrated I get, I remain the mature one; the one in charge and in command of the situation. Don’t let the child manipulate you to getting visibly angry. If you do that, they’ll know it’s a way to get back at you. “I’m angry at mommy for her making me eat my vegetables. I’m going to write on the walls! That’ll piss her off!” Then sure enough, Mommy will come in and see little Debbie’s “art” and flip a lid. Or when a child says “I hate you!” or “I don’t love you anymore!” Do you think they mean it, or are trying to get a rise out of you? Getting angry is a victory for them. Or at least, would be if you let it.
Don’t get me wrong here folks. I’m not a perfect parent by any means. I have gotten mad. I have gotten frustrated. Any parent who tells you otherwise is lying. But using anger to discipline your child will teach them that losing control is normal, and okay. Would you rather raise a level headed child who has the ability to come to grips with a situation before acting or a person who lashes out first and asks questions later?
“My Daddy beat me, so I’mma beat my kids!” With that logic, you must have enjoyed being hit? Just because your parents did it to you as a child doesn’t make it right. I’m not just talking out of my ass here either! In a study done on spanking, it was determined that 85% of parents who hit their children as a form of behavior modification, show “moderate to high anger, remorse and agitation while punishing their child.” What that says to me is parents who spank their children are lazy and are taking the easy way out. It’s easy to explode and lose your temper. It takes more discipline to swallow the anger and frustration and to calmly assert yourself. You put this innocent child on this Earth, why wouldn’t you want to give him/her the chance to learn why not to do something for the right reasons?
With all that being said, I was spanked twice that I recall growing up. Nope. I’m not damaged. I’m not maladjusted or angry. But more importantly, I don’t use that as an excuse to be a lazy parent to my child.
Also, to paraphrase Louis C.K. “People who abuse dogs get arrested. People who hit other adults get arrested. Yet people brag about hitting their children! Kids, tiny, innocent little kids who are helpless are the only people we’re allowed to hit. And the people who do defend and are proud of it.”
The above is mostly common sense, or what should be. Here are the numbers based on the same study I referenced above.
Effects on Children
- There’s a 93% agreement in scientific studies that spanking children is harmful
- Spanking leads to more antisocial behavior in childhood, and increased aggression and spousal abuse and child abuse in adulthood.
- Chronic defiance
- Children who are spanked are twice as likely to develop alcohol addiction or drug abuse issues.
The list goes on, but I’m sure you get the idea by now. In summation, altering your child’s behavior by spanking is not only morally wrong, but is the scientifically incorrect method of parenting. The problem also with spanking is that once you start punishing your child that way, it’s extremely difficult to get your child to listen by any other means since they don’t think you’ve reached your breaking point yet (which was spanking) so they think they can keep misbehaving and pushing the boundaries. Best way to solve this problem? Never start. Raise your child with reason and logic not fear and pain.