Myths and Facts on Spanking

Question: My preschooler gets out of control at times and my husband says that he needs to be spanked when he misbehaves. He says he was spanked and learned to behave. What do you say?

Answer: Marianne Vukas, Life Skills teacher at Parcells, Grosse Pointe North and Grosse Pointe South High Schools recently conducted a parenting party for The Family Center on the topic of discipline for preschool children. Part of her presentation focused on the myths and facts about spanking. A brief summary of that information maybe helpful to you. Here are some of the Myths and Facts on Spanking:

Myth: Children who are not spanked become spoiled.
Fact: Spoiled children are those who constantly want their own way. They choose not to listen to parents and are unaware of the needs of others. Children learn such behavior. It results from inconsistent parenting, failure to provide necessary structure, and neglect of children's needs.

Myth: It is O.K. to spank children as long as you are not angry.
Fact: This statement is made to prevent parents from becoming too severe with their spanking. Some parents cannot control their anger and feel that once they begin hitting their children they will not be able to stop. The thought here is that if children deserve to be punished, parents should wait until they have calmed down before spanking. But if parents are not angry, have calmed down and are in control, why spank at all? Other more effective forms of punishment will help children manage and take responsibility for their behavior.

Myth: An occasional spanking is good for children.
Fact: The word "good" indicates something pleasant is happening to children. An occasional spanking cannot help children learn desirable behaviors. Being hit never feels good. Hitting has no long-term value in teaching desirable behaviors.

Myth: Spanking children is the only way to let children know you are angry.
Fact: Parents often relieve their stress and frustration by hitting their children when they are angry with them. Although letting off steam is good for the parent, the spanking has no value for the children. In fact, children learn that violence is one way of expressing anger.

Most parenting consultants will tell you that there are 3 basic elements to success in parenting:

  1. Be specific in stating what is expected of the child. Make sure the rules are clearly defined.
  2. Monitor the child(ren) closely and follow through on the rules
  3. Be consistent with your follow through

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