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Three Reasons to Stop Spanking Kids

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Spanking. The age-old, forever controversial topic.

The question is always the same: Is it ok to hit your kids? I guess that really depends on your definition of “ok.” If by “ok,” you mean legal, then yes, at least in the state of Colorado. According to Colorado Law, parents are permitted to use means of physical punishment when disciplining their children so long as they do not leave injuries.

If by “ok” you mean morally correct, that’s up to you and your personal values and beliefs… no judgment here. But perhaps most importantly, if by “ok” you mean effective, as in your child will stop the behavior you’re punishing him for, then the answer is no.

Absolutely and affirmatively no. Spanking does not work to “punish out” the behaviors you don’t want… which leads me to my first point of reasoning:

1. Spanking doesn’t work. Dr. Alan Kazdin, one of the gurus of parenting, stated the following regarding spanking: “There is no need for corporal punishment based on the research. We are not giving up an effective technique. We are saying this is a horrible thing that does not work.” In a nutshell, spanking may stop bad behavior in the moment because kids are afraid of being hit, but it doesn’t work as a long-term solution because it reinforces violence and doesn’t teach or model desirable behavior.

2: Spanking can increase aggresive behavior. According to a 2011 study in Child Abuse and Neglect, children who were physically punished were more likely to resort to hitting as a way of resolving conflict with siblings and peers. Additionally, parents who endured spanking during their childhood were more likely to endorse spanking as acceptable and thus, spanked their children. Consequently, their children also accepted spanking as an appropriate way of discipline. And so lives on the intergenerational cycle of aggression and violent behavior.

3: Spanking doesn’t make you feel like a good parent. Some will argue this point, especially if your child is acting out royally and a good spanking causes her to shape up in a matter of seconds. But really, if you look inside yourself, is that truly the example you want to set for your kids? Spanking and other forms of physical punishment are such slippery slopes… they can become dangerous in a hurry because parents often increase the severity of the punishment if their child continues to be noncompliant.

The truth is this: effective discipline isn’t easy and quick, and even the best, most well-intended parents don’t keep it together all the time.

What is your experience? What are some of your best methods for disciplining your child and changing their negative behaviors.

Harmony At Home is a blog designed to provide parents with easy access to professional advice on parenting and child mental health. It is also a chance for readers to get to know me, Dr. Luisa. Dr. Luisa works collaboratively with you and your children to achieve parenting confidence, family happiness, and peace of mind. She is a licensed clinical psychologist who has been helping children and families for over ten years. Her blog is the gateway for Harmony At Home, her business that offers convenient, professional parent and family coaching via phone and email. Harmony At Home also provides in-home therapeutic services for children and families in the Denver/Boulder metro area.

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