Should you spank your child?

May 15, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Is spanking your child right or wrong? Is it an effective tool in disciplining your children? Nurse Rona Renner of the radio talk show "Childhood Matters" on 98.1 KISS-FM shares her advice for parents struggling with whether or not to spank their children.

To spank or not to spank?

Do you and your spouse agree on how to discipline your children? Do you spank out of frustration and anger or is it that you feel children need to be hurt in order to listen and follow parents rules? Others say that physical punishment gives the harmful message that "might makes right", that it's ok to hurt someone smaller and less powerful. That's it fine to hit someone when you are unhappy about their actions. When a person is raised being spanked, they are more likely to feel it's the correct way to discipline a child.

Some people will say:

"I was raised being spanked and turned out ok, why is it such a bit deal these days?"

"Kids need to be taught right from wrong...let's not raise kids who think they're the boss!"

"If we spare the rod we'll spoil the child"

Potential consequences of physical punishment on a regular basis:

Children learn that might makes right.

Encourages revenge.

Teaches children to be sneaky and devious, to hide their actions.

They will be motivated by fear.

Creates shame.

Children may feel that there is something wrong with them, not the behavior.

They forget what they did wrong; attention is on feeling angry or hurt.

Spanking a child is quick, and often feels like the lesson has been learned. It takes more time and thought to discipline without using physical punishment. It's essential that parents learn ways to communicate the rules and socially acceptable behavior to their children.

Some examples of respectful discipline:

Assertive communication
"Stop hitting your brother now."

Positive reinforcement
"I really like the way you're helping your sister with her work."

Natural consequence and encouragement
"I'm sorry you had to share your friend's lunch today, I'm sure you'll remember your lunch tomorrow."

Logical consequence
If a child doesn't stop banging his spoon after being told to, the spoon gets taken away.

Negative consequence
"Since you didn't stop fighting as I asked, the TV goes off and you'll each go to your own room to cool off."

Involvement
A parent volunteers in the child's class. She learns about the teacher's style, and can see where child may be having trouble.

Patience and consistency
In a calm voice, "You can have a story after you brush your teeth. I know you don't want to brush your teeth, but that's the rule in this house."

Setting an example
Let your child see you and another adult work out your differences without hitting or name calling.

Plan ahead, back up your words with actions
You've decided ahead of time that if he keeps banging after you asked once to stop, you'll take the cup away.

Experiment
Maybe your child doesn't really need you to fall asleep in her room with her. Try a new bedtime routine. Make a plan you can live with.

Have routines and structure
When are you having the most trouble? If there is chaos in the morning, perhaps you don't have a routine. Does your child know what to expect and do you stick to what you say?

Express clear expectations-say what you mean and mean what you say
"Please stop banging your glass now."

Make eye contact instead of calling from another room.

Practice staying calm

Count to 10. Walk away and say that you will talk with your child after you calm down. Talk to someone about the stress in your life.

For more information, visit: www.childhoodmatters.org

About Rona Renner:

Rona Renner, RN has been a nurse for over 40 years, and is temperament specialist and parent educator. She is the Executive Director of Interactive Parenting Media, and the host of the Childhood Matters radio show which airs Sundays at 9 a.m. on 98.1 KISS FM.


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