You might think corporal punishment is the only way to show your child you mean business, but there are better ways to make your point.
You first must define what you mean by “behind.” Is your child struggling to learn to read and write? Is she unable to sit still for long periods of time? Maybe she isn’t adapting well to being away from home all day. These are normal struggles many kindergarten children face.
Your Child Will Fear You
There are many times when a child says they hate you, and most of the time they don’t mean it. Angry, frustrated children will say the meanest thing they can think of to let you know how upset they are. In most cases, the feeling goes away quickly.
With corporal punishment, however, the anger and fear linger for a long time. They can build up over years if you continue doing it. You may think it’s working because your child obeys you, but they’re obeying out of fear instead of love. They’re waiting for a chance to rebel, and will take it when it occurs.
It Could Make Things Worse
Sometimes, that anger translates to even worse behavior. Your child will act out his rage in other ways. Children who are spanked, belted or otherwise physically punished are often the same children who indulge in risky behavior like drinking, drugs and criminal behavior.
It Doesn’t Work
Spanking and belting may work, but only in the short term. In the long term, they will make things worse for you and your children.
In 2012, researchers published the results of studies that followed hundreds of children from childhood into adulthood. They studied children who had been physically punished.
The results were sobering. They found that as adults, these children:
- Are more likely to abuse substances.
- Are easily overwhelmed by anxiety and stress.
- Are more prone to depression.
- Show impaired brain function.
It Can Make Your Children Abusive
Many people who experienced violence as children grow up using violence to control others. The cycle of violence can continue in their own families.
According to an article in Psychology Today, “The evidence shows that physical punishment is stunningly deleterious at every developmental level. Meta-analyses of hundreds of studies document that physical punishment is associated with verbal and physical aggression; delinquent, antisocial, and criminal behavior; poorer quality of parent-child relationships; impaired mental health; and later abuse of one’s own spouse and children.”
Is that really the legacy you want to give your children?
Other Methods Work Better
Some parents think they’ll never get their kids under control if they can’t spank or belt them. Other methods work well, however, and they don’t leave kids with lasting emotional and psychological damage.
Time out: In this method, you remove the child from the immediate area for a set amount of time. Explain to the child why you’re using time out. When the time is up, ask your child for an apology and allow her out. Be sure to give her a loving hug.
Take away privileges: Remove your child’s smartphone, tablet or laptop for a specific amount of time.
Cancel plans: Cancel an after-school activity for one night. You can also cancel a play date.
These and other punishments let your child know there will be consequences for their bad behavior. You can maintain control of your home without giving into tantrums, destructive acts or disobedience.
Don’t Reach for the Belt
Talk to your kid before you reach for a belt, strap, paddle or anything else. Learn new techniques for disciplining your child without resorting to physical punishment. You and your kid will both be happier.