My book, What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers, advocates for safety, health, happiness and well-being of children. Child discipline is an important aspect of raising well adjusted children. For that reason, I think it is important to address the controversy over spanking.
Spanking and verbal criticism have become, to many parents, more important tools of child rearing than approval." (Phil Donahue)
Spanking children is one form of corporal punishment, or the deliberate infliction of pain to deter misbehavior in children. Corporal punishment is a controversial issue. There are varied opinions as to the effectiveness of such discipline. As with most things in life, there are disadvantages and advantages.
One disadvantage is that spanking can get out of hand, even though parents often think their spanking is done in a controlled manner. In addition, some research shows a connection spanking children and aggressive behavior of those same children when they become adults.
Some psychologists and educators believe that spanking children prevents them from learning humane conflict resolution. They also believe that spanking children only produces cooperation in the short term, and not in the long run. They assert that spanking is based on fear and negatively affects parent - child bonding. They believe that it is more effective to promote good behavior by bonds of mutual respect and love.
There are those who believe that spanking has some advantages as an effective form of child discipline. One study found that children who remember being spanked displayed better school performance and were more charitable and optimistic than children who weren’t spanked as a disciplinary measure. This study, however, contradicts theories that children who are spanked are more aggressive than those who aren’t spanked.
Parents need to weigh the pros and cons of spanking children before deciding how they want to punish misbehavior in their own children.