Disciplining a child is fine, but when has it gone too far?
To Spank Or Not To Spank? Part 2
This week’s newsletter is a continuation of my last newsletter, To Spank Or Not To Spank? Part 1 (http://deborahchelette-wilson.com/blog/to-spank-or-not-to-spank-part-1-2/) in which we discussed violence in society, how children’s thinking differs from adults and the physiological and neurological effects spanking has on our children. In this issue, we’ll take a look at how spanking affects our children’s behavior.
Spanking And Lying
Using spanking as a punishment leads to the repetition, escalation, or alteration of problematic behaviors. The child becomes accustomed to spankings, but is afraid and confused about what the adult is trying to teach about their behavior.
Why do children lie? To avoid punishment. They do this even when they have gotten in trouble before for lying. When we are stressed, our thinking becomes confused and distorted and our short-term memory is suppressed. After a few spankings, the child may be in such a fearful confused place, they cannot rationally remember that lying leads to spankings. So they lie again.
Repercussions Of Spanking
The 2011 article, "Plain Talk About Spanking," by Jordan Riak* offers some insights about spanking:
- Spanking can set children up to be easy prey for sexual predators because we are showing them that their bodies are not their own, they belong to their adult caregivers.
- Medical science documents that being struck on the bottom can stimulate sexual feelings. A child who is spanked on the buttocks can connect pain, humiliation and sexual arousal together.
- The sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in the body, is located deep in the buttocks. Spanking can cause bleeding in the muscle that surrounds this nerve which can result in damage to the leg on the side that was injured. The wave of the force exerted can travel up the spinal column and lead to nerve damage, compression, fractures, and/or soft tissue damage to the tailbone, scrum and vertebral bones.
- Spanking or slapping children’s hands can cause fractures or dislocations and lead to premature osteoarthritis.
- Shaking a child (shaken baby syndrome) can lead to severe brain and spinal cord damage, injury or death.
- The chicken and the egg. Which comes first? Problems at home or problems at school? Children who have problems at home have trouble staying still and focusing at school. They get in trouble at school. Their school calls the parents. The child gets in trouble at home. It’s a vicious circle where the child's needs are not met at home or at school.
- When parents rely on physical punishment, their children tend to be more aggressive and assaultive. Parents who were attentive, supportive and nonviolent, had children with the lowest incidence of antisocial behavior.
- Neuroscience research has proven that experience changes the brain. Spanking and its associated pain and fear, administered by those they love, is a stressful experience for children. Studies have shown that children are not consciously or willfully committing, as many of the behaviors for which they are punished as previously believed.
- Corporal punishment in schools has not shown to make schools better. Research shows that schools with the highest rates of corporal punishment are the worst-performing.
The article gives references as to where you can go to find the back-up documentation for the above claims as well as comments from other experts and questions and answers.
Meeting A child’s Needs
The belief has been that you either punish the child, or you let them run wild. This is all-or-nothing thinking. In between is a rich field of new understanding, regarding the power of the parent-child relationship.
Children have needs that only parents and primary caregivers can meet. Contrary to conventional thought, meeting a child’s needs does not make for a spoiled child and ultimately, a selfish adult. Meeting a child’s needs shows them a model of care, compassion and engagement. It teaches them the value of who they are, which will help them to grow up and live the same values. Through this modeling, they will pass care, compassion and engagement to others in their lives (the same as violence is passed on through modeling).
How a child is treated lays the template for their relationship with their self and others. Keep Reading...
More parenting advice from YourTango: