Huge debates rage about spanking children in countries all over the world at present. Many people use as their evidence ‘for’ spanking, that they themselves were spanked as children and it did them no harm.
On the other hand, many can tell absolute horror stories of the punishments meted out to them by ‘loving’ parents. At my local supermarket there are two large mental bins that I pass by the door on my way out. They are receptacles for provisions for helping others.
One is for the local SPCA, the Society for the Protection of Animals, and one is for people for items of foodstuffs to be collected by helping societies for those in need. my observation is that the bin for animals is often near to overflowing with cans and packages of food for cats and dogs, while the bin for people rarely has more than one or two small tins lying on the bottom.
How is this connected to spanking children?
It seems to me a straightforward way of showing us what we feel is more important in our society. we help animals in need more readily than we do people. Recently, I was told of a family who were observed while playing at a local park. A little girl mistakenly ran headlong into her father, while chasing after a ball her brother had kicked to her.
Her father lashed out with his arm and knocked her to the ground with such force that the child just lay there. the father could be heard yelling at her, telling her to watch where she was going or he’d knock her stupid head off. the child appeared to be around six and was very slight. the father was in his thirties and a large man.
He responded when questioned, that as her father, he could do what he liked. Fortunately for the child, this is no longer true. the little girl actually required hospital treatment, but has made a good recovery and help has since been sought for this family.
This story illustrates the one above it.
I’m told that while the man was answering questions about his behaviour, he was affectionately fondling and petting his dog, while his child lay distressed and injured.
Discipline without spanking is completely possible. it requires consistent effort and takes more time than a spanking. There are just as many people who were raised without a spanking or belting as those who were.
Rather than being disciplined through fear, they are disciplined by love and respect. They learn quickly to have love and respect for themselves and those around them. They learn to do the right thing because they understand the reasons why and know it for themselves from the inside out.
Clear, firm and consistent patterns of discipline can be learned, even by those who tend to lash out first and think later. it is every child’s right to KNOW they can trust their parent’s boundaries. so firstly, become firm with your own boundaries and then apply this to your parenting discipline.
Parents who see their children as people, complete with their own personality and a sponge- like in their capacity for learning, are more able to see child discipline as a teaching tool rather than as punishment.
Why is it that people often have firm views about animal cruelty but appear ambivalent about spanking children? For some parents, rethinking their modes of behaviour takes great strength of character, but the rewards are priceless.