Community Psychiatric Centers
Monroeville, Greensburg, Monessen, and Wilkinsburg Pittsburgh

September 23, 2014

To Spank or Not to Spank?

Given all the recent news regarding spanking and using a 'switch' to "teach children a lesson", I thought it would be a good time to revisit one of my earlier posts on this subject. Please pass it along:

Does Spanking Work?

Okay, as a professional I'm supposed to tell you that corporal punishment (spanking) is a no-no and you shouldn’t do it. I’m supposed to tell you that it’s ineffective and simply does not work. Well, I’m not going to tell you that; or at least not that it doesn’t work. Think of it this way, I imagine most of you men (If any men actually read this blog) would think twice before crossing a guy three times your size. Well, likewise, your kiddo isn’t stupid and realizes when he’s been out-gunned; which is why spanking "works".

Sure, it can make your kid's obey, but....

Of course, many of us have our own experience with being spanked, and recognize first-hand the potential effectiveness of the back-hand. However, once we move past the recognition of spanking being effective in getting kids to obey, we are left with some potential problems. I hear you saying ‘I knew you were going to say that…” Well, ignorance can be bliss, but maybe not so blissful for your kids, especially if you rely on spanking as your primary form of discipline.

Problems?

What are the problems? First, do you really want to hit your kids? Is there not something inherently wrong with hitting anyone, let alone somebody you love? Also, are we not trying to send appropriate messages to our kids. Do you like the message of ‘when somebody frustrates you, hit them.’ If your child is prone to be aggressive, e.g. hits his sister when angry, then does it help to tell him “no hitting” and then hit him?

Going too far?

How does a parent feel while spanking? Obviously, they’re angry and frustrated; is it a stretch that an angry parent, in the heat of the moment, might hit too hard, or too many times?

Teachable moment lost

Does spanking teach the child more appropriate ways of behaving? Is time-out, loss of privilege, the softer and closer approach, or behavior charts more effective? Does spanking create good or bad feelings; does it promote a positive, or negative, tone in the family? Is spanking consistent with Jesus’ command to do unto others as you’d have done to you? These are questions to ask yourself; the answers will lead you in the right direction. Oh, by the way, since I brought-up Jesus, you may be thinking about that ‘spare the rod, spoil the child' Bible verse. However, God’s “rod” provides comfort (24th Psalm: “Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me”); rods were used in Biblical days to guide sheep, not beat them.

Let's teach, guide, and love our kids

We want to guide our children; love them, teach and comfort them. The manner in which you carry out those duties, in a consistent, loving, and firm way, maybe even with a sense of humor, will serve you well in raising your kids. Now, go get softer and closer with your kids. God bless you and yours.

Dr. John Carosso

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