Were you spanked as a child? In hindsight, do you feel resentment or even humiliation at being treated this way? The answer is likely yes. For these reasons, I am against spanking children. Spanking one’s children should not be used as a disciplinary method, as it is ineffective and can damage familial relationships.
Having grown up in Hong Kong, I was never spanked by my parents, though I’ve witnessed my uncle use force on my cousins when they would misbehave. The act of spanking has become a Western cultural norm, and this is why many caregivers see it as an appropriate parenting style, when in fact it is the opposite.
You may be surprised to hear of a Canadian ‘spanking law’ which allows parents and teachers to impose reasonable force to discipline children between the ages of two and 12. But how does one draw the line between what is reasonable and what is not? Inflicting pain on a child is simply unreasonable, no matter the severity.
Many research findings denounce spanking as an ineffective parenting style, as there are no observable long term benefits for children. According to Psychology Today, using this unnecessary force may “erode developmental growth in children and decrease a child’s IQ.” Spanking also teaches children to fear and disrespect their parents, and even to lie so that they may avoid punishment.
While raising a family, one should never have to resort to violence as a method of discipline.
While parents may intend to teach their children a lesson, sometimes a parent may use force on a child out of frustration, and lack of control over their own temper. In losing control, parents do not solve their problems, but create them by sending children the message that its okay to inflict pain on someone when upset.
Furthermore, its not only a parent’s duty to raise a child, but to teach that child how to be a parent in the process. Disciplinary spanking gives children the impression that this is the correct way to act with their future children, which may in turn make children more aggressive.
Finally, when children are spanked by the very people who protect them, both the child’s self-esteem and the child-parent relationship are damaged. My cousin later told me that these childhood experiences made her feel not only ashamed of herself, but of her parents as well. These thoughts shake the foundation of a relationship, and disrupt the important emotional connection that families are supposed to have.
Believe it or not, there are more effective and appropriate ways to discipline a child. A few of these methods include giving your child a timeout session, rewarding your child when he or she displays good behaviour, and always modeling good behaviour as a parent. These methods are painless, enforce positivity, and will lead parents to positive relationships with their kids.
I understand that it’s not always easy to raise children, but while raising a family, one should never have to resort to violence as a method of discipline. In the end, your child will thank you and I’m sure you’ll thank yourself too.