Friday, June 25, 2010

Thoughts on Corporal Punishment

Disclosure: This note is not directly or indirectly addressed to anyone. I have not seen anyone spank his/her child recently. I decided to write this after reading a blog post on corporal punishment.

Lengthy article talking about the negative effects of spanking:

A mom's thoughts on corporal punishment:
The entry needs a bit of editing, but if you can get past that, you might find it to be thought-provoking.

I must say that if a teacher or school officer ever dares spank my child, I don’t care what state I live in, my Ari is not going to that school ever again!

Yes, I am extremely biased. I will not hide it, will not sugar-code it. I don't believe in corporal punishment, ever, no matter what my child does or says.

I believe it is my job to figure out how to communicate with and teach my child with love and respect. If I feel my child is behaving terribly and I am at a loss, then I ought to reach out and get help. There are many resources out there. Start by talking to other parents. Have a chat with Mr. Google; he will help you out! Search for message boards. Find out if there are local parenting groups. Read parenting blogs. I have learned so much from parenting blogs! Last, but certainly not least, prioritize getting some you time. Your emotional/mental health is important.

As a mother, I know there are hard days, days when you wonder “Why the hell doesn’t she listen to me? Just how many times must I call her name before she responds?”

I try to remind myself that the way I respond does not only impact our lives today, right now, right this second. The way I respond and handle everyday situations will impact my Ari in so many levels: her relationship with me, her self-esteem/self concept, the way she will interact with peers, the way she will interact with her future children, among other things.

Back to corporal punishment, I grew up hearing all about how "one must respect" her/his parents. I strongly believe that respect and trust are earned. I don't believe corporal punishment earns respect. I do believe that it induces feelings of shame, fear and the child’s desire to be dishonest to avoid awkward situations.

It seems to me that, in *many, not all* cases, parents spank because they are desperate, they don't know what else to try, what else to do, how to set boundaries and communicate effectively with their kids. They feel at a loss.

However you parent and discipline your child, I urge you to periodically stop, think and ask yourself the following questions:

Children do lots of modeling; they tend to behave the way we behave, that is. That being said, what am I teaching my child?

Am I treating my child the way I want her/him to treat others, including myself?

Are my actions telling my child that I am trust-worthy and emotionally available to her/him?

Am I treating my child with love and respect? I love her/him to pieces, but am I showing it?

How am I doing when it comes to lovingly teaching my child about boundaries?

How consistent am I?

How will I feel in the future if I see my child treating my grandchild the way I am treating her/him today? Will I feel happy, proud, that I did right by my child? Will I feel sad for my child and grandchild?

Woe, I did not mean for the list of questions to be that long! Just gave myself lots to think about! Yikes, parenting really is the most important, intense and rewarding job I will ever have!

I would love to read about your thoughts, on here or privately.

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