Mom: "Kaden, you have two choices, go sit in time out for 3 minutes or get a swat on your butt...which do you choose?"
Child: crying and kicking his feet "Noooo, mommy!!!! I don't want to. No, no, no!!!"
Mom: *SWAT* Now SIT THERE FOR 3 MINUTES!!!
This is a scene that is all too familiar in many households across America. No matter how many studies come out, no matter how many classes are taken on the negative affects of spanking parents continue to hit their kids.
Is it abuse? Not if it doesn't leave a mark....That seems to be the general rule of thumb among social workers investigating child abuse across the country. No only that, but you may be hard pressed to find a social worker who doesn't swat his or her child on occasion if the situation seems appropriate.
But what are the appropriate situations for a smack? Are there really any at all?
I will go against the masses and take a firm stand suggesting there are not!
Harsh punishment (swatting or spanking) models aggression. You are essentially telling a child not to do something that you are, yourself, doing. It seems counterproductive. (Kinda like the death penalty: Do NOT kill...or we will kill you?!?! Does that baffle anyone else?)
We know that one of the most prominent ways that children learn what to do is through what the adults around them do: modeling. Adults show children how to behave.
What, then, are we showing our children when we swat or spank them when they have done something wrong? We are showing them that is ok, yet telling them it is wrong. I am pretty sure we are confusing the heck out of them in the process.
I will not argue that a swift swat on the butt will extinguish the unwanted behavior at the moment, but is it really gone for good? Chances are it isn't. Chances are (and studies show) that your child is still going to do that thing you don't want him to, he just won't do it where you can see it.
I, too, am guilty of once getting so frustrated, so overwhelmed, that I gave my son a quick swat on his butt to end his inappropriate behavior immediately (I also felt INSANELY guilty afterward). But was this really what was best for him? Or was it my own selfishness and need for an immediate end to the behavior that was literally driving me insane that provoked such an act?
I would like to challenge all of you to make a change and take the road that may be a little more difficult for us as parents, but more beneficial for our children. Just give it a try! A one week challenge...Instead of spanking your child, instead find every reason to praise your son or daughter. Every tiny little thing from going to the bathroom on the potty to eating all his or her peas. Be consistent for one week and I guarantee the results will astound you!
By Tina Parker