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Discipline – When Is it OK to Spank Your Child?
Many of us grew up in families where parents were not afraid to spank their children. Today, however, the political climate has changed and it has become politically correct to spank. But I can tell you as a mother and clinical psychologist there are times when a good spanking can work like a charm.
But what does a “good spanking” mean? For an effective spanking, parents need to follow certain rules. First, keep in mind that disciplining your child should be done to change the child’s behavior – not to cause pain. Therefore, when you spank your child, you should never hit him with your hand; to do this, reduce your reaction time and turn your hand into a weapon. Instead, use a harmless object like a plastic spoon, which you could call “Mr. Persuasion.”
While you don’t want to spank a child who has a bad temper because that will only make the problem worse, a spanking can be perfectly appropriate when a young child persists in doing something dangerous after your attempts to reason with him have failed. Negotiating with a child and giving him time out have their place, but a child who runs out into the street after repeated warnings not to, or a five-year-old who continues to hit his little sister after being told to stop, can. only “get the message” after being spanked.
A good spanking will cause your child to think about his behavior and give him ownership of his actions.
Of course, no two children are the same and each child has a different temperament. Some children will “get the message” and never need more persuasion from a little “pate love,” as I affectionately called it with my own children.
You should choose to spank, use it sparingly and thoughtfully; never treat it as an empty threat and never spank in public where the child may experience humiliation. If you warn your child that he will be spanked if he continues to break a rule and you have explained the consequences for breaking that rule, it is okay to say, “If you keep hitting your sister, you will be spanked.”
In my practice, I see many parents who have spoiled their children because they never spanked or disciplined them in any way. You can learn from failure by not letting your children walk on you starting at a young age.
Parents must expect that they will need to discipline their children for many years. It’s true, disciplining your child is a difficult role to play, but it’s a necessary role because good children misbehave. It’s natural to test your limits as you grow apart. Smart, confident parents will remember that spanking can be an important tool in their discipline arsenal. They must also remember that the purpose of discipline is to teach your child responsibility and that they always have a choice.
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