Is it time out for smacking?
To smack or not to smack your child is oft-times a heated debate with psychologists publishing their findings stating anything from smacking leads to mental health and substance-misuse issues in later life, to smacking causes children who are smacked to react by lying to avoid punishment and smack other children as it is a learnt behaviour.
There could be something in all of this despite the usual justification of I used to get smacked and I turned out alright! By whose estimation I ask! Lol!! This blog isn’t a beatdown (excuse the pun!) on parents who smack their children rather an attempt to lay on their minds the possibility that it’s time to explore whether using other methods of discipline could be highly beneficial for all concerned.
It’s a good idea to read up on parenting and discuss with your partner or spouse the parenting style you are comfortable with before having children, as the majority of us just have children and do our best to work things out as we go along.
In coming from Caribbean parentage smacking was and still pretty much is the norm. But in a time where the world and people in it are growing increasingly stressed physical punishment may be more of a slippery road than it was considered to be in the past. When a parent is stressed after a long day at work or upset after an argument with a partner or spouse the level of physical punishment i.e. a hard slap may not fit the mis-behaviour of the child and could easily veer into an act of abuse. How you might ask?
Well when a parent disciplines it shouldn’t be out of anger, easily said than done I hear you say but lashing out at a child who is smaller than you and cannot defend themselves can be considered a form of abuse. This would explain the guilt some parents feel after physically disciplining their children whilst angry.
If a parent has no other known or practiced form of disciplining their child the repeated acts of smacking could eventually become less effective as a form of discipline, the question I ask is what’s comes next?
Strong willed children who have a high level of determinism will quickly leave parents who smack faced with the reality that they have to step up their parenting skills as slapping simply won’t work.So What are the Alternatives to Smacking?
We have heard of the infamous “Time Out” often laughed at and not taken seriously by many as it’s largely considered a western idea that is reserved for the white middle class but some parents I know use this method and swear it’s an effective form of discipline that you have to be consistent with.
The taking away of privileges i.e. No TV or Internet for a day or none of their favourite snack that day depending on their age. I can say this works well in my experience when followed through. Following through with what you say you will do builds a strong understanding that there is a consequence for bad behaviour. Children will test their parents again and again just to make sure they really mean what they say. Consistency is key with this form of discipline.
Good communication between parent and child is key in disciplining with love without the use of physical punishment. Children are little people trapped in an child sized body, they deserve respect, our patience and love as we do our best to nurture them and bring out their God given talents for the service of humanity.
As parents we have a responsibility not to break the spirit or cause harm to our children who God has blessed us with.
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So tell me is it time out for smacking?
What other methods of discipline did/do you use with your child?
Do you think there is a need for support groups to help parents learn non-physical ways of disciplining their children?
Let’s discuss, leave a comment!