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Parents Should Not Spank Their Children

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    Spanking has been the way of discipline for many years, but in reality it is child abuse. Spanking, also known as corporal punishment, to me is any kind of negative physical contact to a child with the intention to cause pain as a way of discipline. Anything from a pat on the butt, to the use of a belt or paddle on a child, or a smack on the hand or mouth can be considered spanking.

    Child abuse is violence, and “violence is an act carried out with the intention, or perceived intention, of causing physical pain or injury to another person” (Straus 7).The intentions of both spanking and violence are to cause pain and the only difference is that violence also covers acts of injury. So, are parents actually teaching their children violence? When a parent spanks a child, whether they are aware of it or not, they are teaching that child violence. They are teaching them that hitting someone else is okay.

    In his article “The 13 Ways Spanking Harms Children,” Michael J. Marshall, PhD, says that “children who are spanked engage in more hitting and fighting than those who are not physically punished by their parents. Relying on spanking when parents think its needed could cause them to take it further than they should.This could raise the chances of acting out a form of child abuse.

    Some people say that spanking is acceptable as long as parents set boundaries, such as only use your hand, limit the number of swats to just a few, and always leave their clothes on, but not all children are the same. Some children can be a little more strong willed than others. Parents of these children may find themselves in a position where they have to hit harder than usual to get the child’s attention and have a disciplinary effect.So, clearly boundaries do not work either.

    No matter how hard or soft a parent spanks a child, they are still going to show some sort of violence. Even if parents don’t think that they push the limits where they think that they are abusive, the child could still mimic the parents’ behavior and relieve their frustrations by hitting others. When a child does hit someone else, what is the parent suppose to do? They can’t hit the child for hitting the other person as a way of correcting them and tell them that hitting is wrong, because the parent taught them the act of hitting.Approval of physical punishment for a child who has hit a playmate appears to include a confusing and contradictory message” (Flynn 33).

    They may learn from this that violence is acceptable. For example, one day when I smacked my child on the hand for doing something wrong he smacked me right back. So, I smacked him and said, “you don’t hit mommy,” and he smacked me again. I then realized that this was very confusing to him.

    So, coming from someone with experience on the issue, I have resorted to spanking in the past and it was not effective.Spanking also effects a child emotionally. Think of a child looking up at this huge person hitting them. This could cause the child to feel inferior.

    In the long run, the child could develop insecurities. Spanking could also teach a child to lie. Why would a child confess to something if they knew that their punishment would be something that will cause them pain? A child’s self esteem could be lowered by spanking as well.They may feel that when they are being spanked that the parent is telling them that they are a bad person and this can stay with them throughout their life.

    Kids who receive a lot of physical punishment are less spontaneous, more reserved, and afraid to try new things out of fear that it will result in more punishment,” according to Michael J. Marshall, PhD in his list of “The 13 Ways Spanking Harms Children. “This could keep the child from progressing through life in a healthy way. They may also develop fear of the person that is spanking them, and be confused when they are hurt by someone they love.

    This may also make the child not want to be around that person. Children are more likely to do what the parents want if there is a strong bond between parent and child and each spanking chips away at that bond” (Straus 153).Spanking may seem to fix the situation, but really it only fixes it temporarily. An alternative punishment could produce a long term effect.

    When a child is spanked after doing something wrong, they may be caught off guard and directly focus their attention on the pain that they have just received. The pain from a spanking only lasts for a short period of time and they may not realize why they received that pain because they were only thinking of the pain.As an alternative, if parents take something away or put them in time out for something that they did wrong, they will have time to think about what they have done. This will also teach them that the next time that they are going to do something wrong that there will be consequences.

    Sometimes a child will try to get their parents attention by behaving in a bad way, even if it will result in a spanking. That’s why a child repeats the behavior, because they know that they will get attention from their parents even if it is negative attention.According to Elaine M. Gibson in her article “To Spank or Not to Spank,” “kids will often look straight at a parent to make sure the parent is watching when they commit a spanking offense.

    ” When a parent resorts to time-out, it is not attention that they are giving them because they are isolated by themselves. Children will realize that they are not getting attention when they are isolated so they are more likely not going to repeat the behavior. Although spanking may be a quicker way to discipline a child, this is ineffective because the parent is trying to control the child.Children need to learn to control themselves.

    They need to learn not to do the things that they are not allowed to do. The better they understand this, the better self control they will have over themselves in the future when bigger decisions come along. The best way to do this is to discipline them with a long term effect punishment rather than a short term one like spanking. Some people think that spanking is the best thing to do when a child is in a dangerous position, such as running into the street or reaching for a hot stove.

    They say the best approach is to give the child a few swats accompanied by an explanation of how dangerous the situation is. The goal is for the sound of the swat and the parent’s angry voice to correspond danger to fear (Sonna 158). Parents can get the same result though, without having to give the child pain, by taking the child away from the dangerous situation while explaining to them what could happen. This way they have a better understanding of the reasoning and didn’t have to experience any pain.

    There are many alternative ways of disciplining a child than spanking.Time-outs are a great way to teach a child important rules, and it gives them time to think about their behavior. A child will often be upset with this punishment, but the time that they are sitting in time-out will give them time to regain self control. This teaches them that important rules must be followed, or else there will be consequences.

    Another good way is to take something of value to them away for a certain period of time. When they realize how much they miss the privilege they once had, they will also then learn the consequences of their bad behavior.For an older child, grounding can be a great way to discipline. If a parent grounds a child from something that they really enjoy or don’t let them go anywhere for a certain period of time, they will also learn from this.

    They will probably be upset about this punishment, but they will remember the consequences the next time that they think about having bad behavior. There are many other alternatives, but the best thing is to provide a child with plenty of positive attention. Children crave attention, and they will do everything that they can to get it, even if it is negative attention.So, if parents provide as much positive attention to a child possible the child won’t have time to think about attempting bad behavior.

    There are many other healthy alternatives to spanking. Should parents spank their children? Only a parent can answer that question. When parents find themselves in the situation of wondering whether or not they should spank their child, they should think about the future outcomes of their decisions. I personally do not believe that spanking is a good way of discipline.

    It produces violence, emotional abuse, and only a short term effect. It can also too often be an outlet for parental anger.

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    Parents Should Not Spank Their Children. (2018, Feb 21). Retrieved from

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