Do you run the risk of your child remembering being smacked only once – more than the 100 hugs?

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Posted by: Sue Atkins

Why You Shouldn’t Smack Your Kids…..

Here are 10 Reasons To ‘Pause To Ponder’ ……

My view on smacking….

Another recent study reveals a connection between spanking/ smacking in childhood and mental health diagnoses later in life.

Whether or not you agree with the findings, here are 10 reasons smacking is never a good idea.

  1. Smacking shows that “bigger & stronger” is right. When you use physical punishment to show a child they did something wrong, you are sending the unintended message that whomever is bigger and stronger decides what’s right and what’s wrong. When do you start when they are babies, toddlers? When do you stop when they are bigger than you and say ‘that didn’t hurt?’ Does this mean your child can determine what’s right or fair when they become stronger than you?
  2. Smacking demonstrates that older people have a right to hit younger people. You’re sending the message that older, bigger people have the right to hit younger, smaller people. This breaks the trust, love and security a child is supposed to feel from their parent or caregiver. This is especially confusing when you’re disciplining a child for hitting someone else. What’s the message they are learning? ‘Don’t do as I do but do as I say?’ Children model the behaviour they learn from you. What are they learning from you when you don’t get your own way, or feel angry or frustrated it’s OK to lash out?
  3. Smacking sends the message that violence solves problems. It also shows children that violence is an appropriate way to solve life’s problems. “If I don’t like what you do, then I’m going to hit you.” Physically punishing your child can be perceived as a form of bullying, sending the message to your child that this is an effective way to get others to do things your way.
  4. Smacking damages self-esteem. When children are hit by the very people who are supposed to protect them, it causes a child to question, “What’s wrong with me?” Self-esteem is a critically important and fragile thing. If you want your child to succeed in life, the level of his or her self-esteem will be a major determining factor – smacking damages your child’s self esteem as your harsh outer voice becomes their harsh inner voice. They feel that they are not good enough & constantly ask themselves ‘What’s wrong with me?’
  5. Smacking can increase the likelihood of developing mental health symptoms. Children who are smacked regularly develop low self esteem depression & anxiety in later life according to a Canadian study of 160,000 children.
  6. Smacking damages your relationship and trust with your child. It builds barriers not bridges between you. Do you remember being hit as a child? Do you ever remember thinking afterwards, “I’m so thankful my parent loves me enough to hit me?” Of course, you didn’t! You were probably thinking, “I hate you” – smacking damages love.

Smacking can shake the very foundation of trust between you and your child. Your child trusts you to always have his or her best interests in mind and at heart. Smacking can greatly cause your child to question that.

  1. No one can learn when they’re afraid. The work of Dr. Bruce Lipton has shown that it is biologically impossible to learn and implement higher-order thinking when we are afraid. The fear response triggers the fight or flight instinct and adrenaline and cortisol flood our bloodstreams and brains. Our blood is diverted to our extremities and higher order frontal lobe thinking is basically shut down. If you want your child to learn something, it’s critical to reduce fear rather than increase it. ‘Talk & Teach’ them with patience, love and kindness.
  2. Smacking reduces the influence you have with your children. When you think of those people you listen to, trust and seek out for advice, it’s those people who support and encourage you, not generally those who “smack you down,” either literally or physically. Do you want to have a positive, healthy influence with your child? Then you might want to stop hitting him or her, even if it’s for “their own good.” The old premise of ‘It never did me any harm’ is not true if you really ‘Pause to Ponder’ & remember how humiliating it is to be smacked.
  3. Smacking also teaches children to lie to avoid detection or to avoid you. When you think about punishment, studies have shown that it doesn’t deter behaviour unless the punisher is present. Punishment teaches children to avoid detection by avoiding his or her parents. Better to teach your child about choices and consequences.
  4. Smacking models smacking. Children who are smacked go on to smack their children. Is it time to break the generational pattern?

There was a time in history when we “cured” headaches by drilling holes in people’s heads to let evil spirits out. There was also a time when we sent messages on horseback. But times change as we evolve, gather more information and learn more about the detrimental side to smacking.

People often say ‘I don’t smack my child that often or that hard. Most of the time I show her lots of love and gentleness. An occasional tap on the bottom won’t bother her.” This rationalisation holds true for some children, but other children remember smacking messages more than nurturing ones.

You may have a hug-hit ratio of 100:1 in your home, but you run the risk of your child remembering and being influenced more by the one hit than the 100 hugs, especially if that hit was delivered in anger or unjustly, which happens all too often.

This is 2019. We no longer have to smack children to have them understand the “error” of their ways. We have made advances in parenting. We now know how to communicate in a way that actually teaches, rather than punishes. Doing something because it’s always been done that way isn’t a good enough reason for continuing to do it. We’ve learnt about the damage of smoking and sugar – perhaps it’s time to learn about the damage of smacking.

The Latin root of discipline means “to teach,” while the Latin root of punishment means, “to inflict pain.”

Let’s try and practice more humane ways of teaching our children our version of “right” and “wrong” — instead of trying to “inflict pain.”

They will thank you.

Their children will thank you.

And their children’s children will thank you.

#IWILLNOT

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