You’ve requested nicely a thousand times. You’ve tried taking away privileges. You’ve tried bribing. You’ve tried grounding. You’ve even tried yelling at the top of your lungs. But, your kid just does not want to listen. So, as the last resort, you lift up your hand to spank them. Then the parent guilt begins. There are many reasons why spanking doesn’t work, which we will discuss today and what we can do instead of spanking- which will be far more effective – minus the stress and parent guilt.
Parenting is never easy. Sometimes, it becomes extra challenging and frustrating when our kids just don’t want to listen. We try everything and then finally out of desperation, we may resort to spanking our kids.
Spanking is using physical force such as hitting, slapping, smacking, grabbing etc. with the intention to change or control a child’s behaviour.
Although you may feel that you’ve turned out okay after being spanked as a child, spanking actually has many negative repercussions. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t spank your children:
- Children who are spanked show decreased compliance.
- Children who are spanked are more aggressive.
- Children who are spanked have worsened mental health.
- Children who are spanked show higher delinquent behaviours.
- Children who are spanked have increased chances of abuse and criminal behaviour as an adult.
- Children who are spanked have lower IQs.
- Children who are spanked think that violence in homes is okay.
When you frequently spank a child, you diminish their ability to decipher between right and wrong and make them comply only out of fear. And, you also teach them that it’s okay to hit when a person is angry or upset.
We know that spanking is definitely not the answer, so let’s talk about what we can do as parents to get our children to comply, without resorting to spanking.
5 alternatives to spanking
- Take a timeout. Sometimes, it’s the parent that’s burnt out who is using spanking as a release for the frustration they are feeling on the inside. So, whenever you feel that there is too much on your plate, that there is too much pressure on you or that you are simply exhausted, just step away from the situation and call a timeout for yourself and your child. Once you remove yourself entirely for some time, you will regain control of your emotions and you will be better able to handle the situation.
- Connection before correction. Parents have to realize that their kids are generally not acting out or misbehaving without a reason. So it’s very important to spend quality time with your kids. Get to know them and build a stronger relationship with them. By giving them positive attention, their attention-seeking misbehaviour will decrease on its own.
- Set limits and consequences. Many times, kids test their boundaries and in turn, end up crossing your limits. So, even before it reaches that level, set up what the limits are and what the consequences will be if those limits are crossed. For example, they can only go play outside if they do their chores. Once things are clearly outlined, it becomes easier for kids to know what is expected of them and what the consequences are for not complying.
- Teach new skills. Have you ever thought that your child may not be behaving the ‘right’ way is possibly because they don’t know what the right behaviour is? Set time aside and teach kids to problem-solve, manage their emotions or empathize and see how their behaviour starts improving.
- Reward good behavior. Instead of spanking your child, set up a reward system for when they behave well as an incentive. Kids who are acknowledged and rewarded for their good behaviour will most likely continue behaving better than those who are punished for misbehaving.
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About the Founder
Internationally Recognised Emotional Literacy & Mindfulness Expert Tenille Bentley is the founder of The Emotional Literacy and Mindfulness Academy and the author of the children’s emotional literacy books with Jazzy and Pinky and The Energy Ball. Giving children a wonderful introduction to understanding their emotions and what do with them.
Tenille has been featured on Channel 9 News and other major outlets. Her work has been recognised in the community by The Governor of Western Australia, The Prime Minister of Australia and Australian Financial Review.
As a child she experienced severe anxiety and emotional traumas as well as bullying which left her feeling isolated, and unable to understand why she was feeling the way she did. As an adult this impacted her ability to make healthy decisions because she didn’t have the tools to understand her emotions.
Which is why she is passionate about equipping parents with the tools to support their children to make better decisions in life and healthy ones to help support and create a balanced home life.