It seems like every parent has a very solid belief when it comes to the debate over whether to spank or not to spank. Some will throw out the saying, “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” Others will simply say, “I was spanked (or was never spanked) as a child, I turned out just fine.” Some say spanking is abusive or just plain mean, but others say that kids who are not spanked end up taking advantage of their parents and rule the coop.
The fact is that there are some really well-behaved kids who are spanked, and some kids who are spanked often are not well-behaved at all. The same could also be said about kids who are rarely or who are never spanked. Some are good, and some are entirely unruly. So what should you do?
When It’s Most Effective
Spanking is most often done by parents to provide a rapid response to bad behavior. It is designed to show kids immediately that there is a “bad” result for a certain action. For instance, many people have seen parents swat their kids on the behind after they have run out into the street without looking. This is a behavior that you certainly don’t want your child to ever do again. The effects of this bad behavior can be disastrous. A swat on the behind may be a painful response that kids will remember, and the rapid response helps kids to relate the effect with the cause. The fact is, however, that if you have time to say, “You’ll get a spanking for that,” you likely also have time to think of a different punishment. The behavior that you are trying to correct in this case may be corrected in a better fashion by taking away a privilege or by grounding a child rather than by spanking.
Never Spank Out of Anger
One cardinal rule that every parent needs to remember is never to spank out of anger. When you are feeling emotional and upset, you are much more likely to lose control of yourself and spank too hard or add an extra few swats. There is indeed a line between spanking for punishment and just being mean and cruel to your child. You absolutely must have a level head when you dole out this punishment. If necessary, take some time to cool your jets and think through a more effective punishment. Spanking is more effective when it is done as an immediate response to an action, but sometimes the best punishment to certain actions is not an immediate, emotionally-charged response.
If You Don’t Spank
Spanking is effective for many parents because it lets kids know that there will be immediate results for certain actions. Kids behave because they don’t want to deal with the consequences associated with behaving badly. However, spanking is certainly not the only way to teach your kids how to behave properly. If you don’t spank, you must have some other immediate form of punishment available to use. Some parents have made their kids stick their noses in a corner in a public location, such as a restaurant. Others have stripped them of their electronics devices in public, immediately left a public venue despite just getting there and more. Your child must know that when you speak, you mean business. A child needs to know that there will be consequences for bad behavior. The consequence doesn’t have to be a spanking, but you need to be able to effectively dole out a punishment immediately in some cases.
Here are a few other articles written by this author:
How Positive is Your Parenting?
Helping Your Kids Through Fights with Friends
Kids and Friend Drama: When to Step In