We totally get it. When your kids don't stop playing with the ball in the living room, refuse to take the time-out, and talk back to you, it might take a great deal of self-control from you to stop yourself from spanking them.
While many parents in the US accept spanking as punishment for children, research shows that any form of corporal punishment (including spanking) can have a long-lasting negative effect on your child.
Here, we take a close look at the dangers of spanking and alternative ways to discipline them in a positive, healthy way.
The Experts Say NO
Almost every major health organization has come out against this way of disciplining. And several international organizations have issued a call to criminalize physical punishment.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly opposes hitting a child for whatever reason. According to AAP, spanking isn't a recommended option to discipline your child.
All the experts agree that spanking is much more harmful than it is beneficial.
Mental Health Problems
A study found that spanking your children can lead to a higher risk of mental health problems when they become adults—anxiety, depression, suicide attempts, alcohol, and drug abuse, to name a few.
Spanking kids is also linked to adult aggression, engaging in risky behaviors, and PTSD, in addition to many physical health issues such as a shorter life expectancy.
When Spanking Can Be Used
If you're going to use spanking, experts in this field stand firm that it should only be used in very narrow and rare cases.
That is, for preschool-age children that have shown truly willful disobedience—not some unintentional, small acts of defiance.
Another study, according to the Journal of Pediatrics, shows that kids who experience corporal punishment are more likely to act aggressively in their relationships.
You should never use it for infants and rarely for kids with good communication skills. It should only be used to send a strong message, not as a daily punishment for anything wrong.
But imagine if spanking is a totally acceptable way of punishment in your home. That'd mean that whenever you get angry, the chances you might lapse and resort to spanking are high.
In fact, you might even be more aggressive when you shouldn't be. These are very limited and controlled moments when spanking might be appropriate.
Better Forms Of Discipline
Instead of using corporal punishment methods like spanking your children, there are some alternative ways to discipline them that are a lot more effective and positive.
You should focus on rewarding good behavior with, for example, a movie night, a small gift, or even just praise.
Consistency, however, is crucial, whether from the parents, the grandparents, or any caregiver. None of this will work if the child keeps getting mixed messages.
This way, you're gradually training your child to get used to certain behaviors until they become habits.
You're raising them in a positive environment full of positive responses, which will make them feel good about themselves and be rewarded for their hard work.
Instead of showing this form of aggression in front of your child, you should alternatively try issuing time-outs, taking some privileges away from them, and sending them to their room.
When they do something wrong, it's your role to show them the right way to behave.
In the end, spanking is the decision of the parents, but be careful and do research and talk to an expert before approaching anything that you don't fully understand in raising your child.
Finally, if you choose this way of punishment, ensure that you're doing that according to the positive measures research suggests.
Beyond that, give your children the love they need and provide a warm and caring home for them. All kids deserve that.