Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why Spanking Isn't Good For Anyone

It's become all too clear to me lately that there are WAY too many moms that resort to spanking as a way to discipline their children.  It needs to stop.  Putting your hands on a child in an attempt to hurt them as a means of correcting their behaviour is just not acceptable. 

As much as I think Dr. Phil is kind of an ass, he has made some very valid points when it comes to disciplining children.  He said, anyone who hits someone who is 1/5 of their size, who can't fight back, is a bully.  A BULLY.  And I agree completely.  Our children look to us to guide and teach them.  Not hurt them.  The world is a scary enough place for children (never forget they're new here!), without their parents hitting them.  It's our JOB to protect our children.  It's NOT our job to hit them.  EVER.

After looking up the word "discipline" online, I've completely changed my view on the word.  It does NOT mean "teach". 


noun \ˈdi-sə-plən\

Definition of DISCIPLINE

obsolete: instruction
: a field of study
: training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character
a: control gained by enforcing obedience or order b: orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior c: self-control
: a rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity
dis·ci·plin·al \-plə-nəl\adjective

teach verb
Definition of TEACH
to cause to acquire knowledge or skill in some field <taught us about the basics of organic gardening>

From this day forward, I will refer to our way of parenting as "teaching", not "discipline".

There is a huge difference between teaching, and discipline/punishment.  And children do not need to be punished.  They need to be taught how to make their way in the world.  There are countless gentle ways to do this, and our children deserve that!  Even if your parents spanked you (mine sure did!), it doesn't make it right to do it to YOUR children.  Learn from your parents' mistakes.  Don't let the cycle of abuse continue.  Let it end with you.  Your children deserve better.

I have made a list of several resources that show very clearly that spanking a child is not harmless.  Your children do not learn to "behave" by being hit.  They learn that hitting is acceptable, and that when you don't get your way, someone is making you angry, or someone isn't listening to you, it's okay to hit them.  And it's SO not okay.  The world would be a better place if we treated our children the way WE wanted to be treated.
Studies of the effects of spanking:
"Spanking can be humiliating for children, can cause anger, aggression, and resentment, can cause physical harm, and often does not teach the lesson you're trying to convey. For these reasons, experts do not recommend spanking.
Other ways to discipline kids effectively include using timeouts, withholding privileges, modeling appropriate behavior, and helping kids understand the connection between actions and consequences."
"Spanking is a mild form of corporal punishment. The American Academy of Pediatrics (as well as many, many child development experts) strongly opposes ever striking a child. Whether or not parents believe in spanking their kids seems to be somewhat based on the time and place (in the Midwest in the '50s, spanking and much stronger physical abuse was simply an acceptable part of “child rearing”). It's also related to the education level of the parent (the more educated, the less likely they are to spank). Many parents occasionally hit their kids when they are frightened (the child has done something dangerous), or from sheer stress, frustration, or fear of having no other options."
"Spanking teaches children that violence is the solution to problems. It also teaches children that it is okay to use physical violence to control other people and situations. Spanking teaches kids that it is okay to hit the people you love. Spanking teaches them nothing that will be useful or helpful in their adult lives or that will help them to communicate with other people."

"Our children deserve the best ...they deserve parents that have learned creative ways to teach and discipline without resorting to corporal punishment. They deserve parents with a more peaceful approach to discipline."
Eight Dangerous Myths About Spanking
By Debra L. Stang, LCSW
Public Health Agency Of Canada  (Government site.)
"Spanking is not an effective form of discipline, even though some people may think it is.

"recommends that parents be encouraged and assisted in the development of methods other than spanking for managing undesired behavior.
Never spank! It simply doesn't work - for the child or the parent."
"Spanking is hitting. Spanking is meant to cause pain to control a child's behaviour. When you're stressed and angry, spanking may seem like a quick way to stop misbehaviour – but it doesn't work.

Spanking may cause your child to fear you and stop trusting you. Anger, resentment and shame can build up in your child, and this can hurt your relationship. These bad feelings can also hurt your child's self-esteem and ability to have healthy relationships with others."
"Children who are spanked when they are three years old are more likely to have screaming tantrums, get into fights, hurt animals and refuse to share by the time they are five, a new study in the medical journal Pediatrics suggests.
The seven-year study followed nearly 2,500 parents. More than half reported spanking their children, and 26.5 per cent spanked their children more than twice a month.
Those who used corporal punishment more than doubled the risk their children would become aggressive, according to social work and public health researchers at Tulane University in New Orleans, the State University of New York at Albany and Wayne State University in Detroit.
Even children who were spanked fewer than two times a month had a 40 per cent chance of becoming aggressive by the time they turned five."

How Spanking Feels: Images and Words from Children

Ten Reasons Not To Hit Your Child
Children who get spanked have lower IQs
(study researcher Murray Straus of the University of New Hampshire.)
"Straus and his colleague Mallie Paschall of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in Maryland studied nationally representative samples of two age groups: 806 children ages 2 to 4, and 704 ages 5 to 9. The researchers tested the kids' IQs initially and then four years later.
Both groups of kids got smarter after four years. But the 2- to 4-year-olds who were spanked scored 5 points lower on the IQ test than those not spanked. For children ages 5 to 9, the spanked ones scored on average 2.8 points lower than their unspanked counterparts.
The results, he said, were statistically significant. And they held even after accounting for parental education, income, cognitive stimulation by parents and other factors that could affect children's mental abilities."
The 13 Ways Spanking Harms Children
By Michael J. Marshall, P.h.D.

"Think a little spanking won't do much harm to kids? New research says the effects can be long-lasting.
Experts say "popping" kids can do more harm than good. A new study of more than 2,500 toddlers from low-income families found that spanking may have detrimental effects on behavior and mental development.
"We're talking about infants and toddlers, and I think that just, cognitively, they just don't understand enough about right or wrong or punishment to benefit from being spanked," said Lisa Berlin, the study's lead author and research scientist at the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University.

Berlin and colleagues found that children who were spanked as 1-year-olds tended to behave more aggressively at age 2, and did not perform as well as other children on a test measuring thinking skills at age 3. The study is published in the journal Child Development."

Make spanking kids illegal: Corporal punishment leads to problems later in life
"Moreover, research clearly shows that spanking has a serious cost. It tends to weaken the tie between children and parents and increase the probability that the child will hit other children - and the probability that the child, when grown, will hit a dating or marital partner. There is more than 90% agreement on these and other side effects, which have been found in more than 100 studies. There is probably no other aspect of parenting and child behavior in which results are so consistent."

"Even the researchers in favor of spanking admitted that noncorporal punishment methods of discipline have been shown to be effective with children of all ages, and that prevention of misbehavior should be stressed, that excessive spanking is one of many risk factors for poor outcomes in the lives of children, and that parents should never spank in anger. This may be an oxymoron, since studies of spankers and spankees indicate that some level of anger is almost always associated with spankings. Finally, the group rejected spanking and paddling in schools. "
"Frequent and harsh spanking is consistently found to be present in the lives of boys who are aggressive and disobedient, who lie, cheat, are destructive with their own and others' belongings, and who associate with friends prone to delinquency."
"Frequent and harsh spankings can cause young children to bottle up their feelings of fear, anger, and hostility. In later life these children are unusually prone to suicidal thoughts, suicide, and depression."
"Despite the age or gender of the child, the family's social class or ethnicity, whether the child was hit frequently or rarely, severely or mildly, whether there were high or low levels of interaction and affection in the home, and regardless of the degree to which specific situational variables may have mitigated the effects of the punishment, spanking consistently contributes to lowered self-esteem."
Read more HERE.

I could post for hours about this.  There are so many studies out there that have shown that spanking is detrimental to children.  I think a pretty good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn't do it to an adult, don't do it to a child.  Just because you're bigger than they are, it doesn't give you the right to hurt them.  (Even if you don't think it hurt you.)  We know more now.  We know better.  So DO BETTER.

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