What are YOUR thoughts about the spanking research that has emerged? As you may have guessed, I’ve given this a lot of thought. This is a long, but important post.
Being a child who was spanked, I’d like to shift the spanking conversation away from “should you” or “shouldn’t you” spank, and move it to the effect spanking has on a child. As I said, I have real, personal experience with this one.
So no one thinks I’m trashing my mother, especially before Mother’s Day, I want you to know that Mom and I spoke about this early this morning.
Let me begin by clarifying a few things. Generations ago, or as my 4 yr. old self used to say, when referring to older people, “you mean the people who had horses, and wagons, and jeeps,” (kids say the cutest things!) parents spanked.
My great-grandparents used a switch on my grandfather.
My grandfather used a belt and his hand on my mom and aunt.
My mom spanked and smacked us.
And as I have said, I swatted my 3 yr. old on the diaper until the day he recoiled from me, and I never did it again.
Here’s what I want to say today, now that the research has emerged.
Parenting methods have changed over time, but one thing has never changed, the feelings a child has when (s)he is spanked.
What does spanking do to a child? Here’s my personal experience, not just my knowledge and wisdom as a parent educator.
Spanking causes fear and distrust. It does not cause learning. Spanking causes a child to stop doing what they are doing because they’re afraid they can no longer trust the most important person in their life—their parent. Spanking causes a child to wonder, using immature thinking, whether or not things will get worse from here. The child wonders, is there something worse than spanking?
In no way, at any time, does a child “really” think about their behavior. They’re too busy intuitively and instinctively focusing on their safety, and the lack of trust they feel. They aren’t thinking about their behavior; they’re wondering where the love went?
For me, spanking caused me to live on edge every time my mom was around. I never knew what she was going to do next. I never knew if I was safe. Those feelings stood in the way of my feeling the love she sent me, and she did love me. The problem was, I rarely, if ever, felt the love she gave me. I always wanted to know if I could trust her? I was not able to trust her until I had kids of my own. As a child, I always wanted to know how could some who loved me, hit me.
When I was a teen, I was disrespectful. I unconsciously acted out in order to get her back. And when she reacted to my bad behavior, I found even more proof, that she didn’t love me.
I know you don’t want any of that for your child.
I know you love your child.
And I want you to know, there are other ways to handle corrections, disrespect and misbehavior.
I want you to hear these things from me—not from your child when he/she is finally old enough to share the damage done by spanking.
The thing that healed my mother and my relationship was her beautiful honesty. She shared, that she too felt unsafe around her father. We eliminated the trauma bond as we shared our experiences of being spanked.
Please don’t spank. There is no need to do so. Here’s the spanking research article I referred to in the beginning of this post.
As I always say at the end of my posts—
Now, go hug your kids!