Parenting can sometimes be a very strenuous job. It is a blessing to have a child, yet raising a well brought up kid carries a lot of responsibility. There are so many dilemmas that parents face during this demanding road and still, there are so many different opinions about proper nurture. Should a parent be strict or easy going? Should parents spank their kids or not? The latter is the question that is being discussed in this essay. While there are many parents who are against spanking, there are also a lot of parents who think that spanking is the most effective way to teach a child lesson. Every parent is a role model for their own child, thus spanking promotes aggression in younger children. From the time babies develop their abilities to mimic, they imitate everyone they are around. If you hit the table, even eight months old baby will imitate and hit the table back.
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My one-year-old son repeats my every action and every word. Mostly children spend all their time around their parents and adopt their values and behaviors. Due to this, parents should be very careful around their children because without being aware of the situation, parents can promote certain undesirable actions. Spanking promotes aggression in children and by displaying such actions; parents are acting as bad role models since children think that their parents act the right way. A recent study was carried out and it showed that kids who were spanked as five year olds turned out to be more aggressive later on and break more rules.1 Spanking teaches them that the stronger one can hit the weaker one and get what he wants.
This can be displayed when children fight over toys. It is true that children can frustrate their parents very frequently and parents search in desperation for ways whichever come to hand. Evidently, spanking is one of the ways many parents use to teach their children. Spanking is not an effective method of teaching a lesson to the kid, but rather a short-term solution. Spanking can only be
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used by parents who don’t think about long-term psychological effects and are illiterate. Spanking makes it more memorable for the child to remember the pain, so that he doesn’t do it again. However, the child does not properly understand why he shouldn’t act in a certain way but rather behaves out of fear. He continues to behave properly till the time he remembers the physical pain and sometimes he even doesn’t stop making the same mistakes.
The child just tries to act more carefully, so that he doesn’t get caught this time. It would be much more effective if children were explained what’s right and what’s wrong. Instead of being a long-term solution to bad behavior, spanking leaves a long-term effect in aggression. There are many varying opinions about how children should be disciplined and even much more books. However, even the books will not guide you properly in this path.
Every child is unique and he/she reacts differently. While one child can get very quiet and accept the punishment given by his/her parents, another child can get very frustrated and become rebellious. I was a child from the second group and if my parents spanked me, I would get very frustrated and actually would start to hate them. Instead of behaving like they say, I would do the exact opposite because of the resentment that was growing inside me.
Children do not only need discipline when they act out. They need to be disciplined even the times when they behave properly. Spanking might destroy the friendly relationship that many parents strive to achieve with their children. Parents need to create a supportive aura for their offspring and children need to be praised for their good behavior because that means that they get the attention from their parents.
If the children are not praised, then they try to act out because they need some kind of attention from their parents. This is the only way they can attract their parents. Spanking could also lead to weakened conscience. Children feel that by getting spanked they pay off for their bad behavior, thus they don’t have remorse following the spanking. According to AAP spanking becomes less effective by time and they don’t approve it.
The American Academy of Pediatrics approves time-outs instead of spanking because then children will have some time to think about their actions. The goal of punishment is not to hurt the children, but make them understand what they did wrong and how they can improve it. There should be certain amount of motivation included. The APA also encourages “positive reinforcement and effusive praise to reward children for good behavior”.3 Discipline requires a lot of time and patience; it is not something that happens within one day.
Even a ‘harmless’ spanking can turn into child abuse. There is a fine line between spanking and child abuse, which cannot be distinguished in the moment of anger. Parents can get angry with others and take their anger from their children while spanking them. Greg Sagan, a freelance writer who also used spanking as a form of teaching said, “I realized that I was doing it out of rage, which was my own problem to confront and not something they caused.”4 He stopped spanking his children after realizing it.
Last but not least, spanking might cause low self- esteem and lost self-confidence. Children feel ashamed and humiliated especially if the spanking was done in public. Spanking makes the child believe that he/she is a bad child and his/her self-esteem will never be to the highest even when he grows up. Children from every age group need different ways of explaining. For instance, a baby or a toddler will not understand if you try to give a rational explanation for their actions. A baby won’t understand if you try to explain why he shouldn’t poke his finger into the electricity plug. Instead, I try to distract my boy from that action. From the moment children can clearly communicate and understand everything they are told, then parents can start explaining them why they shouldn’t act in a certain way.
Spanking is illegal in most European countries while it is legal in United States and Canada. However, legality doesn’t mean that parents should spank their children. Even though sometimes it might seem as the only solution because children can be very frustrating. It is the easiest solution because parents prefer just to give several spanks instead of looking for a real problem and its cause. Parents should build a loving and trusting relationship with their offspring. We cannot expect from them not to display aggression if we ourselves are serving as role models by spanking them as punishment.
Children should not be exposed to any kind of physical mistreat and from early childhood they should be regarded as individuals. Instead of spanking them as a form of punishment, parents should search for alternate ways such as explaining them what is wrong with their actions. If needed then time-outs, grounding and not buying items they want might be another solution.See More on Childhood