Stop Spanking Your Children

Joy has:

But here’s the problem. I thought that in order to respect authority and understand right and wrong, my children needed to experience the smart of a spank. And on days when I was worn down or short-fused, I defaulted to spanking to keep control. I used negative motivation and the threat of physical pain to bolster a position of power. I was trying to impose external conformity from above and from fear, the very thing I hate about controlling churches and the very thing Jesus spoke against throughout the gospels.

When I defaulted to authoritarian control, enforced via spanking, I couldn’t come alongside my children as their partner and equal before God. I couldn’t help them examine their hearts, face their fears, and identify their desires. They were afraid of me! They would hide, and they would say what they thought I wanted to hear instead of what was really true. I began to see how using the fear of a spanking to change my children’s behavior failed to actually change their hearts or teach how and why to make better choices. Their fear of spankings became fear of me and was destroying the honesty and trust in our relationship.

Read the rest: Why I Don’t Spank My Children Anymore | Joy in this Journey.

  • Keith Rowley

    Overall I agree. I do think with very young children who can’t analyze their actions the way she talks about there is a place for spanking as a last resort. But only as a last resort for strong defiance.

    Also we smack our toddlers hand when he hits or bites us so he gets immediate feedback that those actions are connected with pain. But we stop doing this with our kids once they have the ability to understand a timeout as a punishment.

    • http://www.winter60.blogspot.com Lausten North

      You don’t think the toddler knows they are causing pain with a hit or bite? And causing them pain will teach them that? There’s no logic here.

      • Peter

        And no immediate negative feedback EVER to an undesirable action? I have seen the effects of such an enlightened passivity with other people’s kids and I am not impressed. I do not want my kids acting out in such a way. Let’s try to be more nuanced here with our approaches, okay?

        • http://http://winter60.blogspot.com/ Lausten North

          No, no “immediate feedback”. We’re not talking about “undesirable actions” in general, we’re talking about physical violence. If you can’t handle being hit by a toddler, don’t have children.

      • LoneWolf

        I would think that learning that attempting to inflict harm on someone else would result in reciprocal action is very equitable.

  • http://derekouellette.com Derek Ouellette

    “I used negative motivation and the threat of physical pain to bolster a position of power” OR, you were teaching them that there are consequences for their actions.

    “When I defaulted to authoritarian control, enforced via spanking… They were afraid of me! They would hide.” Because spanking for you was a matter of anger, control, enforcement and authority rather than for the purpose of loving discipline and for the betterment of the child. You spanked the child for your sake, not theirs.

    It’s interesting that the quote connects the authoritarian abuse of spanking with the kind of authoritarian abuse found in churches (an abuse I’ve experienced first hand). Both scenarios miss the point of discipline entirely. It’s reacting to abuses in churches and homes that cause this kind of pendulum swinging.

    • nate shoemaker

      exactly! well said, and sound logic.

      plus, Biblically speaking (and I’ll stick in the NT just so people don’t flip out about eye for eye crap) Jesus both staid Peter and his sword and healed the man’s ear after Peter attacked him, and chased people away from the Temple with a whip… which, i will go ahead and mention, hurts people.

  • Marshall

    Spanking is already bad and probably counterproductive, but dislocating their shoulder takes it to a much higher level. IMO.

  • Pax

    I wish I could say that when I use fear and imposition of external conformity in my parenting it’s because of some kind of deliberate strategy that I can just turn off when I realize it’s not a good strategy.

  • Max

    No.

  • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

    Verbal redirection must come first above all. But you can bet that if my son blatantly and rebelliously defies my direction and discipline, then he will feel a firm rebuke in the form of the flat of my palm on his rear-end. And it will be accompanied by a firm verbal rebuke in a tone of voice he will likely never want to encounter again.

    To leave a child undisciplined is to cast them upon a dangerous sea of life like a ship without a rudder. It could not only bring harm to them, but also potentially to others as a result.

    The occasional necessary spanking in a child’s earlier years — and I should emphasize ONLY when and IF necessary — is about loving your child for their future betterment. Of course, it is problematic when such spanking is only used as an outlet for a parent’s anger. That isn’t discipline or love.

  • Solomon

    I think all of you who “used negative motivation and the threat of physical pain to bolster a position of power” or those of you who “defaulted to authoritarian control” should stop spanking.

    The rest of us, however, will raise our kids as we see fit, and will meet childish defiance, foolish tantrums and willful disrespect with appropriate levels of discomfort…

  • Chuck

    A large number of parents learned to late the end result of spanking as they died alone in nursing homes wondering why their children never visted them, or wondered why they never were allowed to see their grandchildren. Decent people do not spank children. It is as simple as that.

    And the people who spank their children will live with the knowledge that they are regarded as people who are not welcome among decent people.

    • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

      Decent people do spank their children.

      My mother is a remarkably decent woman. At times she spanked me when I was a child. As an adult, I do not look back with resentment. Nor do I hold any ill feelings toward her. Because I get it. I understand why she did it at the times I very likely needed it.

      Her name is Jean Lillian Pearson. She is in the final stages of cancer, and is terminal. I have been living here at home in Pennsylvania caring for her in what are her final days. She is not alone. I have not abandoned her. And she will not die alone.

      The lesson she taught me was love. And I love her.

      It is as simple as that.

  • Boz

    That sounds a lot like hell. Did anyone else notice the similarity?

    But here’s the problem. I thought that in order to respect authority and understand right and wrong, my children needed to experience the threat of hell. And on days when I was worn down or short-fused, I defaulted to sending people to hell to keep control. I used negative motivation and the threat of hell to bolster a position of power. I was trying to impose external conformity from above and from fear, the very thing I hate about controlling churches and the very thing Jesus spoke against throughout the gospels.

    When I defaulted to authoritarian control, enforced via hell, I couldn’t come alongside my children as their partner and equal before God. I couldn’t help them examine their hearts, face their fears, and identify their desires. They were afraid of me! They would hide, and they would say what they thought I wanted to hear instead of what was really true. I began to see how using the fear of hell to change my children’s behavior failed to actually change their hearts or teach how and why to make better choices. Their fear of hell became fear of me and was destroying the honesty and trust in our relationship

  • http://www.stopspanking.org Robbyn Peters Bennett

    Spanking is clearly destructive, but most dangerous with toddlers and preschoolers. The developing brain of a child is vulnerable and any form of violence increases risk of long-term problems.

    I wanted to share with you an incredibly important project for children and mothers.

    Whether you are for or against spanking, would you please “like” our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/protectchildrenfromviolence?ref=hl

    We are trying to produce a documentary to help start a meaningful dialogue about the negative effects of spanking and the common cultural acceptance of its practice. Our website is http://stopspanking.org

    Thank you!
    Robbyn Peters Bennett


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