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Is It Right to Spank a Child?

It seems that for a very long time now, to spank a child was equal to disciplining a child. The reason the parents who spank their children do so is that they want to show them that it hurts when they hit or they want to make them calm down, or they think it’s the only way children can understand they did something wrong.

What I think, and what many parenting experts think, is that it’s wrong to spank a child. Yes, even a light spank.

Here are the reasons why:

  • Spanking, in a child’s mind, means that it’s OK to hit others. Parents who spank are surprised to see their child hit them. But it’s pretty logical that they imitate your own behavior. Spanking a child because he hits is perfectly absurd.
  • Spanking can have very bad consequences. To spank a child makes him be afraid of you and he will start hiding the little bad things he does to avoid being spanked. Yes, it can make your child lie to you on purpose.
  • Hitting is the contrary of loving. Your child needs to feel your unconditional love and it’s important to make clear the difference between your child and his behaviour. When you don’t accept his tantrums, you still love him. Spanking hurts him directly and doesn’t respect his physical integrity, doesn’t explain anything and doesn’t show your love at all whereas an explained punishment can be an expression of love.
  • To spank a child is an egoistic way of relieving your anger and frustration. I’m sorry to be that harsh but I do think it’s an unacceptable behaviour and can lead to abuse. Spanking is really easy but no one said parenting was easy. Spanking isn’t part of the job. Communication is.

I’m not here to tell you you’re a bad parent. I honestly don’t think bad parents exist. It’s just that you don’t know how to react differently and think you already tried different techniques but, no, yelling is a bad option, saying “no” in a loud voice is a bad option too.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid spanking your child:

  • When you feel like you want to spank your child because he pushes your buttons, go to another room for a moment and cool down. Remember spanking is the worst option. Yes, building communication takes time but it’s the right way. Breathe slowly, feel the love you have for your child and remember you can change his behaviour with the right words, not at all with a “good” spank. There are no good reasons to spank a child.
  • Rethink your own way of communicating with your child. Do you give him enough attention? Are you listening to him? Do you often give in when he screams? Do you explain things?
  • Remember that spanking a child can make him hit and if he starts and you don’t know how to stop him, he might become a teenager who thinks it’s okay to it. You don’t want that to happen so don’t start the vicious circle.

I clearly say no. It’s not right to spank a child. But you probably think that these advices are easy to write but harder to apply. Indeed, if you’ve always spanked your child, the transition can be difficult but believe me, it’s worth it.

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