Smacking, spanking, giving a good hiding, whatever you want to call it is not something we use now or will ever use in our parenting. The number one reason why is because we treat our child as we would like to be treated, with respect and without the threat of pain.
It is a fact that violence breeds violence. If you smack your child, what are you really teaching them? That they must bend to your will or they will experience pain and humiliation. That they too can solve their problems and get others to bend to their will by hitting.
That you as a parent can not be trusted to meet their needs. How scary it is for a child to loose trust in the person who is supposed to protect them. By damaging this parent child relationship, you are in fact damaging your future relationship, causing more problems relating to discipline over the coming years.
Imagine your husband or wife returns from a hard days work upset because they were hit by their boss for talking during a meeting. Imagine the humiliation they would have felt, being hit in front of a room of coworkers, having to sit shame faced and stinging and expected to get back to their work. How would you deal with that? No doubt the police would be called, the boss would be sacked and everyone would be outraged. I imagine it would be on the news. But every day this is happening to children. How can that be justified?
When your child displays a behaviour that you find undesirable, a simple “Stop it or you will get a smack” does nothing to teach them WHY they can not do something. As such, the behaviour will no doubt be repeated at some point, causing frustration to both parties. A far better solution is to recognise the need in your child.
Ask yourself why they doing what they are doing? Do they really need to stop or is it a need within yourself that should be addressed. If the setting is inappropriate for them to continue their behaviour, can you go somewhere else? And if the behaviour would be unacceptable anywhere, get down to your child’s level, look them in the eye and explain in an appropriate manner that they cant do ……….. because it hurts/is dangerous/whatever the reason and you understand that they feel angry/sad/frustrated/fill in the blank. Help them to work through these feelings. Offer them something else to do. It is ok to say no, just make sure you have a reason and that your child knows it. This will enable them to voice their own emotions and trust that you are on their side.
Another vital thing to remember is that as the most important adult in your child’s life, you are their role model for everything they do. You want them to use their manners, well use yours and they will copy. Table manners? Model that behaviour and in time, they will follow. Children are innately social beings and are constantly watching their elders to learn how to act. It is totally hypocritical of a parent to expect their child not to hit their siblings to get their own way when they have been using smacking to get the very same result.
By working with your child through these issues rather than against them, you are creating a strong respectful relationship that will serve you both well in the years to come. Your partnership with your children will flourish and your home will be filled with love, respect and fairness.