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Spanking: should I or shouldn't I?

Excerpts from a booklet written by Dr. Linda Rose-Krasnor of Brock University and Dr. Joan E. Durrant of the University of Manitoba

What is discipline?

Through discipline, parents teach their children what they should and should not do to grow up to be happy and competent people. Parents use many different methods of discipline. These include showing, explaining, and encouraging behaviours they want the child to perform and punishing behaviours they want the child to stop doing. Spanking is one form of punishment that some parents use to try to change their children's behaviour.

Is spanking good for kids?

This question has been studied for many years. Again and again, researchers have found that spanking is not a good way for parents to teach their children how to behave. Contrary to what many people believe, children who receive physical punishment tend to have more behaviour problems than those who aren't spanked. Children who are spanked grow up to believe that hitting other people is okay. As children, they are more likely to be aggressive with other children. As adults, they are more likely to resolve conflicts with their spouses and their own children with violence.

Spanking also teaches children to be good out of fear of being hit. They learn that bad behaviour is okay as long as they aren't caught doing it. It is far preferable for children t be good because they have learned the reasons for being good. We need to help children to develop self-discipline, understanding of other's feelings, and good judgement. It takes much more than the threat of being hurt to guide good behaviour.

What can I do instead?

There are many effective alternatives to spanking. It is always preferable to prevent misbehaviour rather than punishing it afterwards. But when it happens, you need to control your anger and then respond in a way that will teach your child what you want her to do.

For copies of "Spanking: should I or shouldn't I?"

contact:The Authors or FACS-Elgin at 519-631-1492