Why I Can’t Bring Myself to Spank My Kids

kidsSpanking. Uh oh. That word alone just ruffled feathers! Let's ruffle some more: I don't support spanking. Okay, feathers? Smooth out now. Let me explain why.

Yes, there are many studies and recommendations from organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics showing that spanking is temporarily effective in stopping the immediate behavior but actually has no long-term benefits. Not to mention the fact spanking (and other physical punishments) is just really bad for kids, according to these credible sources.

But I'm getting off-track. What I really wanted to focus on is why I don't spank. Me. Personally.

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I firmly believe that spanking is incredibly detrimental to children; especially with so many other discipline options available, I never intend to spank. Here's the thing, though: I've done it a couple times. But the only times I've done it or ever had the urge to is when I am scared -- like when my toddler ran into the street -- or when I'm very frustrated or angry.

But that's not how spanking is supposed to work, right? According to the weird rules made up for spanking, you're "not supposed to" ever spank when you're upset. Rather, you're supposed to calm down and then "administer spankings" in a calm fashion. Except, um, when I'm calm and rational, I can think of a million better ways to deal with the situation than hitting my kid's butt. (And, yes, no matter what you call it, it's hitting. Even if it's "gentle" or "just on the butt," it's still hitting another human.)

Another reason I don't spank is this: Knowing that I am most inclined to hit when I'm freaked out, I also know that's when I'm most inclined to be out of control -- to hit too hard, or too many times, or step over that line to abuse. And if I spank when I'm calm, then what will my "out of control" spanking be like? Yeah, abuse. Therefore, it's must easier to avoid losing control and hitting too hard/too much if I just never allow myself to hit in the first place. At least then if I do lose control and find my hand raising up as punishment for running in the road and almost getting creamed by a truck, I will be appalled that I did it at all, pull back quick, and NOT hit. That makes a lot more sense to me than trying to gauge whether or not my hitting is "appropriate hitting."

When I'm calm, I can never, ever see a reason to hit my child because there are so many better, more constructive, more emotionally supportive ways to handle issues -- ways that are so much more related to the actual infraction. If I'm upset and want to spank, then I need to step away, put my kid somewhere safe, and say, "Mommy is incredibly upset with you right now. I need to calm down, and then we're going to talk."

Do you spank when you're mad?

 

Image via 2Eklectik/Flickr

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