There has been a generational shift where today’s parents are much less likely to use traditional methods of disciplining their children. Most of our new generation parents who have kids aged 5 years and younger, don’t prefer spanking as a course to correct behaviour. However, there are a few who try to impose old-fashioned discipline techniques when kids frequently misbehave. But trust us, it is only a temporary resolution.
Why spanking doesn’t work?
- Activates fear centres in the brain
- Hitting triggers fight/flight/freeze response
- Makes children more aggressive. Normalizes aggression for problem-solving
- Promotes mental health issues from childhood to adulthood and they misbehave interferes with secure attachment
- Children cannot discriminate between spanking and physical abuse
- Confusing for the child as the parent is both comforting and causing fear
- The fear of punishment fosters lying in children. To avoid being spanked they hide/lie or resort to greater misconduct.
- They feel depressed and devalued
How to make it work without spanking?
- Practice regulating actions in everyday routines
- Build a positive, loving and supportive relationship with your child such that he/she is able to talk about feelings and emotions
- Learn anger management and don’t make spanking as an outcome of your frustration
- Be a positive role model. Use your words and not your body language to express when you’re unhappy with something
- Know that spanking doesn’t work as well as positive reinforcement to increase good behaviour
- Time outs work well for children. You can consider temporarily removing their favourite activities – playing outside with friends or watching a cartoon show
Having said all of the above, keep in mind that your goal is to teach the child to regulate his/her own behaviour. When you opt for spanking/hitting, you are teaching that conflict can be resolved with aggression. So, let’s just teach them better ways of resolution.