Spanking: For it or Against it?
"I was spanked as a child and I turned out fine". I can't tell you how many times I've heard this statement. It is always used as a defense and an explanation to justify one's decision to spank their child. I wasn't spanked much as a child. I can count in my entire lifetime on one hand how many times I've been spanked, I remember 2 times between the ages of 5 and 7 and another at a later age. It wasn't something to fear or expect as punishment for my sisters and me. My brother might have a different story; I don't know much of his childhood punishments as I was only born 8 years after him and by the time I was able to understand what a spanking was, he was past the age of being spanked.
My parents raised us with love; a stern love when needed. To be honest in most cases (and I'm sure many of my African raised peers many will attest that) all it took was 'the look" and if that was not getting it done, the sound of your parent using your full first name to call you would be more than warning enough to let you know you have gone too far.
Many people are against physical punishment. I understand where they are coming from when they talk about the possible trauma one would be causing the child be it long / short term. I have heard other people of color speaking against spanking as it is just an act that has been passed on through generations but stems from slavery (I totally get where they are coming from).
Some would counter that argument and say people were spanking before slavery. Then we have those who quote the bible. Sparing the rod will spoil the child so they say "Proverbs 13:24 He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly." I get it, but my issue with quoting the bible is that, we pick and choose what we want to keep from the good book to suit our lifestyles. This book is found in the Old Testament where we have books like Leviticus and Deuteronomy that dictate stoning by death. I say this to make the point that the same person who will promote spanking will shun stoning. Then some would say oh that was the way of the olden days that's why there is a new testament. So should we not do away with using the so called rod?
I believe spanking is the easy and fastest way to get a child to act the way you want them to. This is why it opened my eyes when I heard someone relate it to slavery. The best way to make a person immediately submit without explanation or discussion is by inflicting pain. We are naturally wired to self-preserve so of course this will put a child in line! I hate it!!!
If you take spanking out of the equation, it forces us to make an effort to communicate. We constantly tell our children to use their words when they throw tantrums or cry. Why then should we not push ourselves to use our words when disciplining our children? It's easier to grab a belt and tap those legs in comparison to actually expressing your disappointment and frustration. Explaining, reasoning and listening takes too much time out of our days so we take the quickest route. How can we expect our children to effectively communicate when we ourselves don't practice it?
I am not saying I have never spanked my child. The image of my child's face looking up at me in disbelief is permanently engraved in my brain. After weeks of explaining why it's not safe to pull out the child socket protectors and stick random objects in the sockets, I became frustrated and scared of what could happen. I didn't want my child to be electrocuted while i'm in the kitchen doing dishes so I had to do something quickly. I felt I had tried it all so I spanked his little legs with my hand. The look he gave me broke my heart. I felt a layer of the trust he had for me peel away.
I hated it, so I decided I would never hit him again. This made me develop another terrible habit of raising my voice to get my point across when all else failed. That's awful so I am very watchful of that now.
Advice: At the moment my child is 4 years old and is terrified of timeouts so that's working for us. Explaining the wrong behavior and explaining why the punishment is being implemented is a must. My tip is to always send your child to timeout when you feel like you are angry or about to lose control. The worst thing you want to do is react out of anger. Your actions and words are almost impossible to control so send the child away for a few minutes to give you a chance to cool down and also as your child sits there they process what's happening.
Enjoy this comical video I posted below on how to never sank your child again: