In the world of parenting there are very few topics that raise such diversity of opinions and emotions as the topic of corporal punishment or spanking does. Should you? How could you? Is it right? Should it be permitted? There have always been debates, discussions, researches and new findings on the pros and cons, and there will always be.
An article that I read recently got me thinking about childhood in my country. We grew up at a time when a parent spanking a child for any reason or no reason as well, was completely acceptable. Teachers did that on daily basis too. We all have to agree that no other discipline practice works as a smack or two. But does it work long term? Musa (not real name) was raised by a father who vented all his frustrations with life, job and family on this little boy. From what tales of beatings I have heard it was not spanking, it was just plain
I couldn’t help but wonder; does spanking actually work? Or is it just to make the parents feel better when the kids are behaving in a waythat they shouldn’t? Or do parents use it to vent out their own frustrations? Does it means to an end? Is there a result or lesson? According to a survey conducted by babycenter.com 85% of today’s children have been spanked by their parents and 69% are going to be spanked.
Musa says he didn’t learn what lesson his father was trying to teach him. He doesn’t even remember the reason for which he would be spanked. He just remembers the feelings he had: of fear, anger and the crying he did, his bruises and pain. The feeling of being abandoned, not loved enough, of being worthless and not wanted..
According to a study published in Pediatrics, Professor Catherine Taylor says, “The odds of a child being more aggressive at age 5increased by 50% if he had been spanked more than twice in the month”Corporal punishment instills fear rather understanding in children. They may stop their unacceptable behavior but they will never understand why they shouldn’t be behaving that way in the first place. We all know children learn through reason and examples. What example is spanking going to set?
Violent behavior is the solution to all the problems? It’s a form of punishment that becomes less effective with repeated use. According to American Association of Pediatrics (AAP); it also makes discipline more difficult as the child outgrows it.
Murray A. Straus; Professor of Sociology and Family Studies published an article “Spanking and the making of a violent society”. He says that most violent nations where crime and assault rate is high; have high rate of corporal punishment.
Elizabeth Gershoff, researcher at Columbia University says “Children become aggressive, delinquent, and have mental health problems, both in childhood and in adulthood,” she says parents who spank their children risk causing long-term harm that outweighs the short-term benefit of instant obedience. She contended that corporal punishment, on its own, does not teach children right from wrong and may not deter them from misbehaving when their parents are absent.
Musa says he grew up into an emotionally detached man. He doesn’t think he loves and trusts any one like normal people do, and is unable to share his feelings or understand other people’s feelings and emotions. He not only has memory loss issues, but also lacks confidence and self-esteem. For sometime, he also feared to be schizophrenic. He is trying hard not to be the kind of father he had, for his children.
It’s ultimately what our children live that mould them into the people they eventually become. Allah doesn’t give a human being any greater trust or responsibility than the shaping of a person He made in His image. Dr Haim Ginott, a child psychologist, psychotherapist and parent educator described children as, “wet cement.” What they experience with us daily is writing things in that cement that marks their lives forever. What they need is patience. What they need is role model; to teach them how to behave and handle a difficult situation appropriately, to explain why certain behaviors are wrong, what the consequences are and what they should do instead.
As Mr. J.F. Kennedy said “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future”