Did she just say that in an outside voice?
I may have.
I’ll bet I got your attention though!
Spanking is an emotive, controversial subject for sure.
I know. I know.
And I’m going there anyway.
Maybe I’m going there because it’s controversial.
People who were raised with spanking or other forms of violence as a part of their early lives will often argue that ‘they turned out alright.’
This may or may not be true. I can’t really delve into individual issues in a blog.
If this rings a bell for you, feel free to reach out for a session or few though!
Now, if you are reading this at all, chances are you aren’t the parent that will be comfortable with the idea (or reality) of hitting their child.
Hey, I have to let you know I’m so psyched you’re still here with me!
So why would you keep reading if this isn’t about you?
Perhaps you know someone who says you should smack your child – and that person is a relative – so you’re really not sure how to respond? An all-out dispute might seem disrespectful, or you’re afraid they’ll be angry with you (see what that ‘don’t spare the rod’ upbringing did there?).
Or maybe you just want to know if I have anything to say that you haven’t thought of.
I don’t know if I do, but hey, I’m always ready for feedback.
So, really, who is this for? Well, as I said earlier, there’s oftentimes someone around who ‘helpfully’ suggests, “There’s nothing wrong with that kid that a good smack wouldn’t put right.” Or maybe it’s, “You spoil that kid. He needs a good smacking to show him who’s boss.” Or possibly, “My dad would have whooped me if I did that, and I turned out alright.”
So says the guy who wants you to beat a child.
That’s the person this is for. I present to you some ready responses for the next time that helpful soul with their own trauma gives you some wonderful (probably unsolicited) parenting advice. I’ve even heard this type of advice from kindergarten teachers, for crying out loud.
Let’s set the record straight.
– Spanking doesn’t teach your child what you want him to do. It doesn’t teach anything useful at all actually.
Instead, it teaches him to be sneaky, so you don’t see him do ‘that thing’ again. After all, it won’t hurt him if he doesn’t get caught.
But the spanked child is so well behaved, right? They know better than to do ‘that’ again.
A spanking showed him!
Well, No. It really didn’t. Not even close.
What did he learn? He learned the importance of hiding things from you! Hiding things, especially when those things may mean trouble at some point, is a skill you might prefer your child not to learn to be so good at.
– Spanking doesn’t teach your child to respect you.
It teaches him to fear you.
Do you really want that? Not if you are reading this, I’ll bet.
Your child already knows you have the power in the relationship, so there really is no need to prove a point.
– Spanking shows your child that they aren’t safe with you. When the child is hit for doing one thing, the question becomes what else might they get hit for? They don’t know.
You might think it’s obvious, but then you are an adult, with a lifetime of experience, and these are your rules.
– Spanking slams closed the door to communication and understanding. Shuts it airtight. Sealed. Hidden.
Think about it. A child is not going to tell you their thoughts, hopes, and fears, if their experience tells them that they might get a nasty reaction. No way!
If they have learned their parent can’t be trusted (violence does that to a person). what is left to say?
Nothing of importance anyway.
– Spanking teaches the child that you can hit people when you are angry with them. You hit people to get your own way. Think that might be an exaggeration? I think many of us met with bullies at school. The bane of every non-bully’s existence.
But why did that kid feel the need to threaten and punch you? Probably because that is what they learned at home. Hitting kids as ‘discipline’ teaches the child that the person with the power gets their way.
It soon translates to “Smack ’em until they cry or at least give you their lunch money”.
Yup, spanked kids are where bullies come from.
Let’s dip our toes into some science for a minute. Just a minute, I promise.
Deep breath…. GO!
Stress and anxiety produce fight or flight hormones, and those hormones fire up the body, get it ready to take action, either escape from the Sabre tooth tiger or kill it for food. Those hormones also flood the brain and make clear thinking a very hard thing to do, if not impossible. After all, you don’t need to think about it when something wants to eat you. You either run away or kill it.
So, if the child lives in a stressful environment (aka likely to get smacked), how well are their brains going to function at school? They can probably fight (as we have already established), but they are probably not going to do well in classes when they can’t think straight. Hmmm. Sound familiar?
You remember that kid, yeah you do.
That wasn’t so bad.
As ever, I really do want your feedback.
Ask questions, leave a comment. It’s all good.
You’ve got this, and I’ve got your back.