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Spanking Should We Or Shouldn’t We?
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Spanking Should We Or Shouldn’t We?

There has always been a debate on the pros and cons of spanking or smacking your child. It is one that really never has any real conclusion for some as they are certain that their way is correct.

Older generations say that they got a “whopping” when they were young and it never did them any harm. Maybe it didn’t , but may it did. Now I’m not talking about real physical hitting that is classified as abuse as that in any forms is never acceptable. I’m talking about the smack on the legs, the bottom or the arm when a child misbehaves. I’m talking about when a parent says, “do you want a smack?” when their child misbehaves. They are asking as if it was synonymous to “do you want a snack?”.

Some people who believe in spanking or smacking say that it is the only way for a child to learn what is right and wrong. To know what is acceptable behaviour and what is not and to know the meaning of respect. They say that if you don’t smack your child, you are pampering to them and they will in the end walk all over and turn out to be adults who really don’t care about anything else but their own needs. Well I say, you are wrong..so very wrong.

We assume that our children from the time they are born have no real intelligence and are not aware of what goes on around them. They know nothing, the perceive nothing and they understand nothing. What they get is what we as their care givers pass on to them, good or bad. But if you believe that, then again, I say , you are so very wrong.

Children notice more and understand more than their minds can rationalise into a verbal communication. They can see us for what we are and can see when we contradict ourselves. They can see when we lie, when we hide things from them and when we make them out to be less intelligent when they know they are not.

Can you remember when you were a young child, the first time you realised your parents were not the “gods” they were deemed to be? Can you remember the first time they did or said something that made you realise that they continually mistake you for being stupid and lacking any knowledge or care?

Take for instance that great thing that happens when a child turns 2, the” terrible twos” as they are known. They are not terrible if you understand why they are throwing themselves on the floor or acting in a certain way that makes them scream and cry at the top of their lungs and usually in a very public place. Smacking them will not solve the issue. It may make you feel better for embarrassing you in that very public way, but it won’t make them understand why their behaviour is not acceptable.

My eldest child at the tender age of just over two, threw himself on the floor in a shopping centre in a fit of rage and screams, because I would not let him touch a fountain that he had been touching for a while. Heavily pregnant with my second child, I sat on the floor, took hold of him and holding him close to me, told him calmly to stop crying, that it was ok, that I understood. I said this over and over again and eventually he stopped and through his teary gasps, said he wanted to play with the fountain again. I calmly told him that we had an agreement that he could touch it for another five minutes, even though he did not understand the concept of time. I showed him my watch and together I explained what five minutes meant. He looked up at me and nodded, he understood. I then asked him if we could go home now. He said yes and holding my hand, he skipped all the way to the car, as if nothing had happened.

A lady came up to me as I was walking and said that she would have given him a good spanking for behaving like that. How sad is that? That she thought that this child deserved a smack because he could not express what he wanted to say and do and didn't understand why I wouldn't let him. By me explaining it to him in a way he could understand and on his level, in a calm and rational way, he understood and simply forgot all about it. He left feeling that his needs were understood and met and without the need to resort to hitting. I didn’t mind that people were watching me or judging me. I didn’t care. This was my child and his welfare was far more important that my feeling of embrassement or the judgemental opinions of complete strangers.

What would have smacking achieved? Well it may have made me feel better but the child would have walked through that centre crying not really understanding why they got smacked only that he wanted to do something that he enjoyed and wanted to keep doing it, but he wasn't allowed to and he didn't know why. It does take a lot more effort not smacking as it is so easy to just hit and be done with, but what does it achieve?

I mean if your child misbehaves and you smack them, do they then understand what they did was wrong? No? They understand that what they did you didn’t approve or like, but they don’t understand why. By telling them that what they did was naughty or that you told them before not to do that means nothing if followed by a smack. By getting down to their level that is both physically and mentally; by bending down so that you are eye to eye with your child and then explain to them in a way they can understand will achieve so much more than just smacking them. Sure it takes effort and restraint, but the rewards far outweigh anything else.

By talking and explaining to the child, the child then sees you as someone who has the time and patience to actually explain to them what they have done wrong. They don’t feel confused or angry because you smacked them, instead they are more than likely to understand you more and accept your requests on what to do and what not to do more readily. Of course kids being kids will test you and try the inappropriate behaviour again just to see your reaction. That is normal. But there are far more meaningful discipline remedies than smacking them.

Now I am sure that there will be a lot of you who don’t agree, but just try for a while not smacking and do what even the Dog Whisperer says, “be calm and assertive”. Aggression, which smacking is classified under, does nothing for the child’s opinion of you as a parent in a positive sense, infact it is the other way around, the child will look at you in a more negative and untrustworthy way. Try to see things from their point of view and understand why they do the things they do and not judge them from your point of view, and try not to retaliate by hitting them.

Don’t let your feelings of embarrassment or frustration cloud your judgement because in the end none of that matters in the eyes of your child. All that matters to them is that they look at you and know that they trust you. That no matter what they do, you will treat them in such a way that make them realise that you understand them and that aggression is no way to solve a problem or issue. It never is unless you want them to fear you and be intimated by you. But that’s not how a child should be raised is it?


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