“What a well brought up child”! Don't all parents love to hear that about their children? To find ways to effectively discipline a child is each parent's personal challenge.
Parenting is a tough job and nevertheless immensely gratifying. When somebody refers to our kids as well brought up, we feel on top of the world. Parents all over the world debate different ways of disciplining kids. On one side are the permissive parents and on the other side are the ones who believe in the age-old saying, “Spare the rod and spoil the child”.
Spanking is a much controversial option. In some countries spanking is banned, while in some other it is considered an essential disciplinary action. A universal model may never be possible because each parent-child relationship is significantly different.
Though all educated parents know that spanking has a lot of harmful psychological effects, sometimes we find ourselves resorting to it as a tool of last resort. Parents are also humans and under a lot of stress from different corners and we may not always be able to be the perfect parent. In most cases parents choose spanking as a viable option when kids refuse to acknowledge time outs and all the other disciplinary tactics have failed.
Sometimes and with some children words don't get through and action is necessary to show the child how serious the offense is. Spanking doesn't need to be abusive. Most of the time it is not even beating or anything close to it. It does not need to be hurting either. In most cases a slight swat on the palm of the hand would work better than a sound spanking of the bottom. While resorting to spanking, it is important to note that though we maybe at our wits end with our kid's misbehavior we should never spank him in front of others. Discipline is always effective when it between the child and the parent.
Kids develop over time and what is appropriate for a 3 year old is different for a 10 year old. There may be room for a physical consequence for a toddler who hasn't fully developed verbal communication, while time outs or taking away privileges could work well for older kids. On the other hand denying privileges, as a mode of punishment and other forms of emotional manipulation is also sometimes a form of over-zealous punishment and it often never involves a raised hand or a raised voice. The most important aspect of disciplining our children, whatever way we choose to do it is that they always know that we love them.
And it is double a challenge for parents to solve fights among siblings without appearing to take sides. Discussing the cause of the fight and always sticking to what is right probably helps us through. Good parenting, clear and consistent expectations and lots of love at home reduce the need for use of punishment of any kind.
Punishment becomes necessary as part of the teaching process when the child does something wrong on purpose. Children should be aware that there are consequences of bad behavior. It could include spanking as long as it is not a spur of the moment impulse to lash out in anger. If we resort to spanking it should be the result of progressively bad behavior and the kids would have received ample warning of the impending consequence.
Being consistent in our disciplining is a golden rule that most parents tend to break. Whatever punishment we threaten our children with; we should follow through, even if we are at the supermarket. Don't threaten if you aren't willing to actually do it.
Children are very different as are the ways they react to punishment. There are kids who are never bothered by time outs, but consider them as rewards and not punishments. Different kids have different ways of connecting things. For example an exceptionally bright five year old whom started reading when she was four believes that she can run through parking lots safely. She is sure she is going to get it right. No amount of talking gets through to her on that point. A swat and an explanation as to why she was spanked could maybe help this little girl. All children are not the same, and it takes vastly different approaches depending on the kid.