Should I Spank My Kids?

By in Parenting on 28 April 2011

Spanking is a subject that many parents prefer to be discreet about. With many opposing views on this discipline method, debates are common when the topic is brought up in friendly social circles or even in intimate family gatherings. With kids equipped with extraordinary manipulative talents even at a young age, how do you deal with the constant pressure of finding a discipline method that works without even utilizing corporal punishment?

Some parents believe that spanking is an effective discipline method because it quickly delivers results. But if you are on the crossroads on whether spanking should be utilized in correcting a child’s negative behavior, it may help if you first examine what the repercussions are, especially when it goes out of hand.

According to research, long term repercussions of spanking include aggressive behavior, delinquency and anti-social behavior. The mere act of physically punishing a child can easily convey the wrong message and it can in turn make a child believe that aggressive behavior is acceptable because it can get you what you want. Though rare, spanking has also been linked to teens or adults who engage in criminal behavior because they have difficulty deciphering what’s right from wrong. Furthermore, spanking has been associated with strained parent and child relationships because it can break trust thereby making a child less attached to their parents. For these reasons, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend spanking as a method of discipline. The AAP also believes that with repeated use, spanking as a method of discipline will no longer be as effective.

But despite of the many disadvantages, the percentage of parents who admittedly resorted to spanking at some point remains high. These parents consider spanking as reliable discipline method because they have seen how quick it can get a child to give up a particular behavior. But if you decide to utilize corporal punishment in disciplining your kids, you need to use it in conjunction with milder methods of discipline such as giving time outs and setting logical consequences so that it will become more effective. Studies show that spanking is more effective in instilling discipline when it is not the sole method of correcting a child’s improper behavior.

However, spanking is not for everyone because kids from all age groups may not respond well from this method of discipline. Kids who are younger than 18 months old are too young to know the connection between a wrong deed and a punishment so it may not be too useful in getting a child to realize his mistakes. Studies show that it most effective in kids aged 2 to 6 years old, but if it goes on beyond that point, it may already result to a child having emotional issues that he can carry through life.

When you choose to spank your kids, you need to be in full control of your emotions because if not, a teaching moment may inevitably escalate to abuse. This is a primary concern among health professionals and concerned groups, and it should also be something that you need to carefully think about. Ultimately, you know what’s good for your kids so find strategies that can bring out the best and not the worst in them.

Do you spank your kids when they misbehave? Do you have any regrets with the disciplinary actions that you have used in the past? In your point of view, when is spanking acceptable?

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