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Is Spanking Bad For Kids?

I Don't Spank My Kids, and Neither Should You

Whether you're for or against it, spanking has historically been a big part of parenting and disciplining unruly children. While it was once the norm for teachers and authority figures to spank children or use things likes spoons and rulers to send a message, it's now mostly become something between a parent and a child (although 19 states still allow it in schools). Your parents probably did it to you, and when your kids are going through their maniacally defiant/tyrant phase, it's hard not to impose some type of consequence to try to rein them in. But is spanking really effective? And, more importantly, do you really want to traumatize your child like that? I don't.

How can I expect my own children to refrain from hitting when I'm teaching them otherwise?

Can you imagine how confusing it must be for a child to be hit by a teacher or caregiver? And then have that same bewildered pain amplified when it comes from someone they trust even more — their own parents and in their own home? The main reason I don't spank my children is because it simply doesn't work. An avalanche of studies have shown the adverse effects of spanking in children, including more antisocial behavior and a higher chance of mental health problems. Using physical punishment will definitely give parents results in the immediate future, but rarely does spanking provide long-term solutions to the offending behavior.

Aside from all the relevant research, my decision is also based on common sense. How can I expect my own children to refrain from hitting when I'm teaching them otherwise? How can they learn to manage strong emotions in a healthy way when I'm showing them it's OK to "get physical" when things aren't going your way? Because when we start looking at things from a child's perspective, it's so obvious that we have to model the behaviors we want to see in our children.

The practice of spanking children has also seen some erosion in public support. Over the last 30 years, the percentage of American women who agreed that it was pertinent to use corporal punishment decreased from 82 percent to 65 percent. Men also saw a decrease of seven percent in favorable attitude towards physical punishment of children.

When you spank a child, it's hard for them to distinguish between the fact that they're getting punished for doing something naughty and the fact that Mom got annoyed with them for not listening and then hit them. Plus, how can we teach our children about the importance of consent when we ourselves are putting our hands on them for the purpose of doing harm? There's no good reason to spank or hit a child, and as I'm waiting for legislature to catch up to all the research, I hope more parents and caregivers are able to see the futility of corporal punishment.

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