Whether to spank or not to spank your child will always remain your decision, what may work for one child may not work for another and you may be called upon to use different parenting techniques of which spanking may be one of them.
Whatever works as long as it brings out the best in your child. But there’s a point when correction becomes abuse, knowingly or unknowingly. How do you draw the line, how can you tell if the line has already been crossed, by you or worse someone else.
- Your child cringes when you come close: when a child has been spanked one too many times, he/she learns to expect it and defend against oncoming attacks. It becomes more like a defensive reflex action. When your child is covering her face or head when she sees you coming after she has done something wrong, its no longer spanking, its abuse. When even simple innocent sudden movements like an attempt to pat on the back or give a high five is met with flinching. That is one of the easiest way to tell when a child is being spanked too much
- Fear of speaking up: children make mistakes sometimes. We all do,but if your child is afraid of make a mistake,its because previous mistakes were met with harsh corrections and probably spanking. So even when he/she knows the answer, its inevitable that the child will be reluctant to speak up, for fear of being spanked. This will eventually lead to low self- esteem in later life
- Mimicry: There’s a philosophical school of thought that says children can be likened to a blank slate aka ‘tabular rasa‘. And that whatsoever they exhibit has been ‘written’ on them so to speak by others. It s a common characteristic of children to exhibit what they have learned formally or informally; through play or interaction with others. A parent told a story at a PTA meeting that she asked her 4 year old to assist her younger sister(2yrs) with her homework. As she observed, she noticed the older beating the younger one, saying “is this how to write umber 1?!! you’re a naughty (spank) , naughty (spank) , lazy (spank) girl you better write now before I lay my hands on you!!” and she was dismayed. She wondered if that was how her daughter was being treated at school. When an adult tries to get children to behave better by constantly spanking them, that adult is telling them hitting people that are smaller or weaker than you is an acceptable way of getting what you want from them. So if your child resorts to beating in order to get their way, it might just be a sign of expressiveness
- If you find yourself reassuring your child of their safety:if you call your child for some reason or the other and you notice that your child is hesitant , its because you spank your child too much. If you find yourself saying “I’m not going to beat you” before your child can be bold enough to do what has been asked of him, then you’re spanking your child too much.
- Threat of being spanked is no threat at all:When a child is being spanked for both minor and major reasons on a regular basis. It becomes so ‘normal’ that it no longer serves as a deterrent because the child is already desensitized to the beatings.When you spank your child for a behaviour and it doesn’t stop there is a tendency to spank harder ad harder to get the child to cooperate. That’s not spanking, that’s abuse. The child will most likely reason that he/she will get spanked anyway and do whatever he/she wants to.
- Scarring: if you have ever seen a mark of a cane, belt, ruler or another object on your child’s skin as a result of a spanking that was given to him for something he did wrong then its obvious that that child is being abused and spanking has become a beating. No child no matter the offence should ever be spanked to the point of injury. It shows lack of restraint and self control on the part of the adult and under the law, will be called an assault.
Parents with anger issues and or abusive tendencies should avoid physical discipline entirely.
Meta analysis study show that punishment must be used when appropriate and must be age-appropriate. Mild spanks may be acceptable for children aged 2-6, older children should be disciplined in non violent ways.If you’ve noticed any of the above scenarios, playing out in your home, then maybe we need to take a closer look at our interactions with our children. Are you spanking them over every little thing?
Are you spanking them in anger? These are the tough questions we need to ask and make amendments if and where necessary so we don’t raise low self esteem children scarred by physical abuse but bold yet morally sound kids who know that its better to act out of love than anger