Disciplining Children

638 words | 3 page(s)

Even before a child starts his formal education in a school environment, his informal education has already been started by his parent. Parents understand children lack the experience and the maturity to differentiate between harmful and beneficial behavior as well as desirable and undesirable behavior, thus, parents take it upon themselves to provide initial guidance to their children. But lack of experience and maturity also means children do not always understand the rationale behind their parents’ teachings, thus, parents may utilize certain tools such as use of force to increase the probability of children abiding by their parents’ teachings. Use of force may help parents achieve immediate results but it ends up doing more harm than good over time.

Parents should not use force to discipline children because it may lead to other non-desirable outcomes in the short-term and the long-term. Repeated spanking may make the child more aggressive and may even lead to episodes of physical altercation between the parent and the child. Spanking may also send the message to the children that use of force to solve conflicts is acceptable as Krisha McCoy explains, “Spanking models aggressive behavior as a solution to conflict” . Spanking may also increase the risk of harmful behaviors in the long-term such as mood disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, and personality disorders . It is clear that spanking has several potential side effects some of which could negatively alter the entire life course of the child down the road. Thus, parents should resort to other less aggressive tactics such as providing an incentive for a desirable behavior or cancelling an incentive for an undesirable behavior.

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Parents should also abstain from spanking to discipline children because voluntary cooperation is preferable to forced cooperation, even in parenting. Rob Water points out, “Spanking teaches your child to fear you” . Spanking negatively affects the respect a child may have for his parents and it also decreases the effectiveness of reasoning tactics in the future. Spanking negatively affects trust between parent and children and children may be less likely to communicate with parents regarding their issues and problems out of fear for physical punishment . Thus, spanking doesn’t only create negative feelings for parents in children’s mind at the instance of spanking but may also harm long-term relationship between parents and children.

Parents need to realize spanking is not the only tool available to them to discipline children. In fact, there are several strategies that parents can adopt to encourage desirable behavior and discourage desirable behavior without exposing children to physical and emotional harm that results from spanking. One may be education which involves pointing out not only when children do something wrong but also when they do something right. Another strategy is to ignore them if children may be misbehaving to get reaction or attention . Parents may also offer reward to their children to encourage or discourage a particular behavior. Similarly, parents can also attempt to explain the rationale behind their teachings in a language that the child can understand. It is also important to be consistent with the message and the follow-up actions so that the parent has credibility in the child’s eyes.

Spanking may apparently seem an effective tool to get immediate results but it may impose short-term and long-term physical and emotional scars on the child. Spanking influences children to comply through fear and may increase the communication gap as well as distrust between the parent and the child. A better alternative is to use non-physical discipline tools that attempt to influence children behavior without use of force and may do a better job of shaping children’s short-term and long-term behaviors. Even experts warn against spanking because of the dangerous nature of the punishment as well as its ineffectiveness in most cases.

  • McCoy, Krisha. Should You Spank Your Child? 17 July 2014
  • Waters, Rob. Spanking, Ages 3 to 6. 17 July 2014
  • White, Cassie. Why doctors are telling us not to smack our children. 17 July 2014

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