Apparently, the word is out that spanking your kids is bad. One doctor quoted in the linked article went so far as to say, ‘there is no benefit to spanking.’ This statement goes against all the anecdotal evidence I have of spanking being a helpful deterrent to bad behavior. Granted, I’m not a pediatrician and don’t have the background to speak on the developmental effects of corporal punishment, but I do read and can talk about the effects this article had on me.
#1: “Within a few minutes, children are often back to their original behavior. It certainly doesn’t teach children self-regulation,”
Spanking is not known to cure ‘childish tendencies’. Children often have to have lessons repeated to them over the course of the day, week, year and, in general, childhood for them to sink in. Making it even more challenging is that they will ignore verbal commands and demands and instead, pay close attention to, and follow, the examples around them.
#2: “Parents who hit their children often have serious problems of their own.”
Yes, most adults, whether they hit or not, will have to deal with serious problems. What exactly is meant by ‘serious problems’? Unemployment or depression? Stress of being the sole wage earner or a drinking problem? Does it follow that having problems mean you will spank your child? The implication in the statement is not only aggravating, but barely supported. The individual quoted went on to reference a small report (no details given) that suggested parents who had a history of trauma are more likely to spank. Which means that the 70% of parents (from a poll in the article) who agreed with the statement that ‘spanking is necessary to discipline a child’ have all kinds of major mental health issues and what of those of us raised by the 84% who agreed with the statement in 1986?
#3: ‘The American Psychological Association says positive reinforcement is more effective than spanking.’
Ok, so where are the studies to back up that claim? Can we get numbers on the percentage of children that grow up well-balanced after the sole use of these techniques? How quickly are children able to self regulate after the use of positive reinforcement? ‘
All the studies done on spanking, I would have thought they would have done some on the suggested alternatives and maybe they have, but none were mentioned. In general, there’s a reason why the vast majority of Americans still spank…because it works.