There are some parents who defend spanking their children as their "right" to discipline. But I am not one of them and although I firmly believe in discipline, I know that there are better, and healthier methods of teaching your children right from wrong. How do I know this for sure? In my preschool class, I am called upon constantly to correct children's behavior and keep them focused, on task and learning in a positive and nurturing environment. And I never have felt the need to use my physical power to accomplish any of this.
Now I must admit, in raising my own four children there were a few times I sent a slap their way. And in my younger days, I know I did use the threat of spanking as a deterrent. But as the years passed, my husband and I were determined to refrain from using any form of physical punishment as a method of discipline. "Why?" you ask. "What is so harmful about a spanking?", "It is the only thing that works!", "My parents spanked me and I turned out alright!" Let me spell it out simply and clearly for you...
THERE ARE BETTER WAYS TO DISCIPLINE YOUR CHILD! And if you use the other ways effectively, they eliminate the need for spanking altogether. First, you must admit that most of your spanking is done out of anger. This is UNACCEPTABLE! YOU are the adult in the situation and you are not behaving as an adult! You are controlling a smaller human being through fear. This results in your own children thinking that is okay to control another person through physical threat and violence. I know that is not a lesson you want to teach your kid, right?
Discipline should be coming from a place of wisdom. You want to teach your child that what he/she is doing is not okay and cannot continue. Also, you want to reinforce to your child that you love and care about them unconditionally, but you are also the authority in their lives until they are grown and no longer in your care. To do this, you must earn the respect of your child...and spanking doesn't result in your child respecting you...only your power over him/her.
There are many techniques that can be effectively used for discipline issues. Discipline should be targeted at the age and development of your child and also the severity of the action you wish to stop. Discipline is especially effective when it teaches something. Chores can be used as punishment. So can taking away a favorite activity or toy of your child. The duration of the punishment also needs to be realistic and something that you will stick to, but difficult enough on your child to be memorable. This blog contains a earlier post about other discipline strategies which you may find helpful:
6 Steps to Better Parenting
But the bottom line is, don't hit your kids. There are better ways to accomplish your goals. Don't raise a hand to them. They are precious little people, who deserve your very best. If you are having issues with their behavior, educate yourself. Don't take it out on them. They love you and don't want to fear you. You can learn new ways of dealing with them that will benefit your entire family.