Here’s what happens every time a peaceful parenting advocate shares an anti-spanking article on social media. A bunch of people will say they were spanked as a child and turned out alright. Several will say that “we”, as in people who don’t think it’s acceptable to hit children, are what’s wrong with the world and why kids these days have no respect. And some will say that their kids are perfectly well behaved because, you guessed it, they spank them.
You know what? Thinking that children behave because they get spanked does not make any sense.
Think about it. These parents don’t say they spanked their child once, and he or she has been behaving ever since. What they are saying is that at some point, their kid misbehaved, and he got spanked. And then later, he misbehaved again, and got spanked again. Where in this whole scenario did spanking get the child to behave?
And what do these parents think is going on with our own children? They are no different. Sometimes, our children behave wonderfully well. Sometimes, they don’t. It’s the exact same thing. What differs is our reaction after the facts.
Children who get spanked behave well sometimes, just like children who don’t get spanked.
Children who get spanked misbehave sometimes too, just like our own. That’s why they end up getting spanked, in the hopes of teaching them right from wrong.
I’m sure that spanking leads to better behavior in the short term. No one likes to get hit!
But peaceful parenting leads to better behavior as well, also in the short term. The difference is that with spanking, the child makes a difference between what is acceptable and not acceptable based on whether he is going to get caught. In contrast, a child who is taught right from wrong doesn’t behave well because he might get hit (by the parent who is his whole world). He or she behaves because it’s what we do.
For example, it’s not acceptable to hit your brother. I think we can all agree on that.
If you get spanked for hitting your brother, you will learn that your parents don’t think it’s acceptable to hit him, but not the real reasons behind it. You won’t learn empathy, and might actually resent your brother for crying and getting you in trouble, thus making you want to hit him more. And you will think that sometimes, violence is necessary to prove a point (after all, you were just hit yourself to teach you a lesson).
But if instead you are shown that your brother got hurt, that he is crying, and that deep inside, you feel bad you hurt someone you love, you will understand why hitting is not something you should do. You might hit again, especially if you are a little toddler whose emotions are sometimes too
strong to handle, but the likelihood of it will decrease.
Despite what pro-spanking advocate want to believe, corporal punishment leads to many psychological issues, and it’s just not worth it. Children don’t behave because they get spanked. Children behave because they understand the difference between right or wrong.
It’s as simple as that.