As parenting coaches, we are often faced with difficult questions from the families we work with. How do I get my child out the door on time in the morning without an argument? What do I do when my child refuses to listen to me? Is it ok for me to spank my child?
Yes, we’ve heard that last question. And yes, even in 2015, people throughout the U.S. are still asking about spanking.
Unfortunately, spanking has been a ‘go-to’ solution for parents when they are trying to gain control of their children. From the Pope recently declaring that it’s ok to spank children as long as it’s done with dignity to Minnesota Vikings player Adrian Peterson being caught injuring his four-year old son, we have yet to decide as a whole whether parents should be allowed to physically touch their children in order to show authority.
When it comes to popular opinion in the United States, a national survey in 2012 clearly demonstrated that more than half of women and three-quarters of men believe that children sometimes need a “good hard spanking”.
Half of women and three-quarters of men. That’s a huge number.
And I’m sure you’ve heard the same argument as I have: “I was spanked and turned out just great”.
It’s true, many of us have been spanked as children and think we’ve done just fine as adults. However, when it comes to spanking, recent scientific findings beg to differ linking spanking with negative results from mental health to impaired cognitive development.
Let’s look at what the scientists have discovered that spanking can lead to the following issues in children:
- Lack of self-control and poor decision-making One study took a look at corporal punishment and found that children who were regularly spanked ( at least once a month for 3 years with either a belt or paddle) had less gray matter in some parts of the prefrontal cortex. Gray matter matters; it helps you make decisions and gives you self-control. When it is impaired it can remove those abilities as well as lead to various mental health disorders including depression and addiction.
- Anti-social and criminal behavior Another longitudinal study with more than 7,000 US families as well as 32 other nations, has even shown that spanking can lead to antisocial and criminal behavior.
- Mental health and drug abuses issues Another group of scientists studied 20,000 people in the US above the age of 20 and looked as to whether they had been pushed, grabbed, shoved, slapped or hit as a child. Those who were struck were more likely to experience mental health illness or to abuse drugs or alcohol.
So to answer our initial question: spanking is not ok and never acceptable. It does much more harm to your child than good. And there are highly effective alternative ways of setting limits with your child without the use of punishments or consequences.
As parenting coaches here at the Jai Institute, we’ve all had the opportunity to learn the magic of conscious parenting and how to deal with the most difficult situations with your child without using physical force.
A Peaceful Parenting Paradigm effectively removes the need for you to have control and replaces it with an opportunity to be in relationship with the amazing human being you are raising.
You can become someone who LOVES your child so much that you can let go of both your anger as well as your child’s tantrums and open the door to a new parenting style of LOVE and CONNECTION.
It can sometimes be tough to move away from spanking behavior.
However, going from punishment to peace is easier than you might think.
If you are eager to learn more about this and more, check out our breakthrough Parenting Coaching Course here.