For as long as anyone can remember, disciplining children has been a hot parenting topic. I think that we can all agree that we need to instill discipline and values in our children. The question lies in the method. How do we discipline our children? What is the right way? Is there even a right and wrong way?
For some, the Biblical principles of not sparing the rod apply. I have to admit that I see value in this principle. It has been tried and tested over the ages, and as long as certain guidelines are followed, it is quite effective in showing children that actions have consequences, and that they will have to face those consequences.
Spanking, however, has its detractors. Indeed, recent studies have shown that spanking just might prove to be harmful under certain circumstances. An article published in Pediatrics (the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) earlier this week states that spanking young children might increase their risk for aggressive behavior in their later years. Here are the official results of the study:
Frequent use of CP (ie, mother’s use of spanking more than twice in the previous month) when the child was 3 years of age was associated with increased risk for higher levels of child aggression when the child was 5 years of age (adjusted odds ratio: 1.49 [95% confidence interval: 1.2–1.8]; P < .0001), even with controlling for the child's level of aggression at age 3 and the aforementioned potential confounding factors and key demographic features.
Bottom line: the study provides huge support to the followers of the no spanking principle.
My question is this: should we throw away the idea of spanking because of the study?
We are all still entitled to our own opinions. I am sure that there are those of you who are nodding their heads right now, agreeing with the study. I have to say, however, that I do not think that we should do away with spanking. It has a purpose, and done the right way, teaches children a lot of things.
I believe that in order for spanking to serve its purpose, we have to take note of these things:
1. There should be no sense of anger involved. We are disciplining our children to teach them a lesson, not to vent.
2. The child being disciplined should understand why he is being spanked. This is another reason parents should not spank their kids when they’re angry. The idea of cause and effect, actions and consequences, should be explained to the child being disciplined.
3. The parent should not fail to show the child being disciplined that he/she is loved despite the fact that he is being spanked. Again, this is part of the whole process. The child should understand that he is being taught a lesson, not in anger or hatred, but because it is part of growing up.
That’s my take on the spanking issue. What about you?