Spare the Rod

I don’t spank my child. I can’t do it.

You know that old proverb, “Spare the rod, spoil the child”? Am I spoiling the child by sparing the rod? Remember when our parents said, “this hurts me more than it hurts you”. I hurts me, it really does. So I just can’t do it.

Spanking seems to be a common practice. People do it as a form of disciplining their children. The idea behind spanking is that the child will flourish if chastised physically for misbehaving. Is this true?

My own discipline methods are based on positive reinforcement, time outs, bulging of the eyes when speaking in a harsh tone and counting to three.

What would happen when I reach three and my 6 year old won’t do what she is supposed to? Honestly, I don’t know. She has figured out that bulging eyes + flaring nostrils while gritting my teeth and counting is definitely not a good thing.

Spanking seems to work as a short-term fix to a behavior issue. But what about the long-term effects?

I understand that spanking is an extremely emotional subject for all parents. Some experts believe that time-outs are humiliating to the child and won’t do it.

If your young child makes a run for the street for no reason and without warning or if your young child turns on the stove just being inquisitive, is spanking in these situations ok? A short-term physical reminder for what could be a long-term painful outcome?

Maybe it is.

I asked this question on twitter and got some great responses.

@londonmodgirl said she “slapped her son’s hand when he snatched Ibuprofen pills off hubby’s night stand” she goes on to say, “when he’s blatantly disobedient, I will smack his (clothed) butt and put him in time out for 2-3 min. Then afterward, explain why.”

Is spanking the same as a slap on the hand?

@robynsworld says, “Yes, any form of hitting is spanking in my book, not saying I was perfect and didn’t do it myself though”

@biculturalmama says, “No, I don’t spank my child. I don’t want her to think it’s ok to hit others. Lead by example”

Children get the idea of the seriousness of the matter when they are spanked or in timeout or have things taken away from them but we should always follow up with a discussion about why that was the action of discipline.

So I ask you, do you spank your child? Why or why not? What is your form of discipline and how has your upbringing affected it?
*This article was originally posted on my parenting column ParentsTalk for AOL- PATCH*
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