Should You Spank Your Child?
Eight Reasons Why You Should Not Discipline Your Child In This Manner
The recent charges against Adrian Petersen have generated some media attention on the issue of spanking, disciplining children and domestic violence.
Based on the facts reported thus far, it appears that Adrian Petersen was somewhat out of control when he disciplined his four year old youngster by striking him with a piece of wood.
Some states have passed laws which make spanking illegal.
While some people may disagree with this law, I believe that this law is a good idea.
First, there is an abundance of research that indicates that this kind of
physical punishment has little value in terms of shaping children’s behavior in
a positive manner. And in many instances, it causes kids to behave quite poorly.
Second, for many parents with anger management issues allowing spanking
opens the floodgates for more severe and dangerous acts of violence and abuse
Third, when a youngster is spanked he or she can get the idea that conflicts can
best be resolved through physical control. This is a dangerous message to pass on
to children since some youngsters will model this behavior and act violently with
peers and with other authority figures.
Fourth, spanking does not do anything to improve the communication between
parents and their children. There is always a better way to manage your kid than to
strike him or her when they misbehave. Parents need to find positive ways to discipline
their kids and to resolve conflicts.
Fifth, we already have enough rage, violence and out of control people and
out of control behavior in our society. Take a look at the nightly news and the amount of violence depicted in movies and television. Home should be a place where kindness
and reasonableness are emphasized and modeled by parents.
Sixth, making spanking illegal may help to curb other kinds of violence against
children. This law can serve as a wake up call for abusive parents.
Seventh, adults and children usually don’t even remember what they were spanked
for. To some extent, this proves that spanking does not provide any useful lesson.
Last, over the years, I have had many adults cry in my office because they were
traumatized by a spanking that they received when they were growing up. Not long ago a
man his seventies cried like a baby during his session with me when he recalled a beating
his father administered to him when he was just five years old.
Now, I realize and believe that children need rules, limitations and structure. They also need an understanding of consequences for their actions. I spend a lot of time in my practice coaching parents on these mattes and on finding ways to add and to communicate the idea of communicating both love and limits to their kids.
Having said this I can see no reason to afflict additional trauma on the young members of our society.
Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a Psychotherapist in River Edge, New Jersey and the Founder of