“If we truly believe that our kids should not hit each other, we must really look at the hypocrisy of using corporal punishment as a form of deterrent or as a consequence of wrong action.”
We teach our kids that hitting and violence is wrong. We reprimand them when they do it and yet, there is still great debate as to whether spanking is still an acceptable method of punishment.
If we truly believe that our kids should not hit each other, we must really look at the hypocrisy of using corporal punishment as a form of deterrent or as a consequence of wrong action. As a mommy and me class teacher once told my group of mommies, if we do it just because we are bigger than the child and we can overpower them, we are just being bullies.
Spanking or any kind of physical punishment usually happens in two main ways. The first is a knee jerk reaction. Where the child does something that causes us to momentarily lose it and react physically. This is always regrettable because it is a sign that we are losing our patience and need to step back. When we feel like this as parents, it is better to step away and collect ourselves and assess how we can handle it better if we react in anger this way. A child psychologist once explained that the only time a quick spanking is really justified in the moment is if the child did something extremely dangerous like ran into traffic. She explained, in this instance a firm swat on the tush can give the child the shock of the seriousness of their action. In this way, the muscle memory of that shock will help them understand the danger and prevent them from doing it again.
The other second way physical punishment can manifest is the intentional spanking. This comes with a warning and a whole psychological head game to it that can make it seem far more scary and shameful than the actual spanking. In this case, the parent is making a very conscious choice. The old saying, “This hurts me more than it hurts you,” falls under this category as if the parent had no choice but to spank the child. I would argue this is a very outdated form of giving a consequence in that it involves shaming the child like a dog along with physically hurting them.
Another point to consider is that at some point, your child will stand up to you. If they have spirit and in defense of their sense of self they might come back with, “That didn’t hurt me!” What will you do then, get more violent and forceful until you really do? Or will you inevitably have to stand down and make the whole point of a spanking moot. I’ve heard the argument that a good whupping teaches a child respect and the old adage of spare the rod, spoil the child. Really? Can’t we be more conscious and more creative than resorting to physical violence to teach a lesson? These outdated philosophies of our grandparents era date back to a time before women could vote, before we understood so much about psychology and human rights.I believe when we know better we do better, and to this point as mothers, we must remember there are wiser ways than hurting our children to teach a point.