Why Spanking is an appropriate Form of Discipline

Why spanking is an appropriate form of discipline

Spanking a child for misbehaving is one of the most widely debated subjects in the realm of parenting. Some believe that it is a form of child abuse and that hitting the child will teach him or her that it is okay to hit people when they do something wrong. On the opposite side of the coin, some claim that spanking is appropriate in that it teaches the child that the act of misbehaving sometimes comes with serious consequences.

My opinion is that each child is different and responds differently to forms of punishment. I consider spanking an appropriate form of punishment when used in an effective way, and not merely as an angry reaction to behavior. I am the father of three young girls, and only the oldest two are of the age which I consider appropriate for spanking. The oldest is more strong willed than the middle child, and as a result of her head-strong attitude, she is on the receiving end of more punishment than her sister. They both are spanked when they do certain things that they are not supposed to do, however. The reason that I use this form of punishment is because many times, situations occur when an immediate consequence is necessary. This is not the only form of punishment I use, but it is one of many techniques that my wife and I use in order to attempt to teach our children the connection between actions and consequence.

There are certain criteria that we incorporate when using spanking. They are most of the criteria accepted by proponents of corporal punishment. They are as follows:

Establish boundaries which warrant spanking – A child should be told beforehand that if an action is performed, it WILL result in a spanking. This will let the child begin to form reasoning and cause and effect skills in that they will begin to learn that if they do A, then B will happen.

Do not spank out of anger – One of the main arguments against spanking is that it teaches the child that it is okay to hit if someone does something that he or she doesn’t like. However, in my opinion, it depends on how the situation is handled by the parent. If the child misbehaves and the parent simply screams at the child, “You are not supposed to do that!”, and whacks the child, he or she may associate the consequence (whack) with the anger of the parent. On the other hand, if the parent explains to the child that it has been established what warrants a spanking, and the child has chosen to engage in that activity regardless, the consequence will then be dealt. If the parent explains in a calm, rational tone I feel that this will remove the anger aspect from the child’s perception.

Do not use it as the sole punishment – There are some things that I feel warrant spanking, but other forms of punishment that are successful as well. We use all forms of punishment with our children including time-out, removal of toys and privileges, and writing sentences (our oldest gets this often). There are times when each is appropriate.

Always explain why the child is being spanked – The child must learn what is causing them to receive punishment. If this is not explained to them, they will not learn the association. Relate to the child the action that was performed, remind that this is not acceptable behavior, and deliver the punishment.

Be sure to give the child love and rewards on a regular basis- I feel one of the biggest problems with all forms of punishment is that there is an imbalance in rewards and punishments. Children are going to test their boundaries and see what they are capable of doing. Many times this causes the parents to feel they are constantly saying NO! NO! NO! Make sure that you praise the child for things that are acceptable and appropriate behaviors. Praise is a very powerful tool in shaping a child’s behavior, so use it liberally.

So I feel that spanking, when used appropriately and correctly, is a very valuable tool for parents to teach their children right from wrong. I don’t feel that one form of punishment is going to emotionally scar a child, as long as the parents are responsible and loving, and have the child’s best interest at heart. If they use proper parenting techniques for rewards and punishments, I believe the child will be much better off in the end.