March 17, 2007
Is spanking necessary or beneficial in "danger" situations?
I started writing this awhile back and never finished. I'm going to go ahead and post it anyway.
Protecting our little ones from dangerous situation can be quite a big job. They don't understand the dangers, and, encouraged by their natural curiosity, they love to explore and experiment.
Helping our children learn to be safe is one of the most important things we have as a parent. It can be difficult to know how best to respond when our children do, or want to do, something dangerous. Some people our of desperation or obligation feel they need to spank their children to help teach them to be safe.
Spanking is unneccessary, though, and furthermore is it not beneficial in danger situations -- there is nothing good that it teaches that can not be taught better by using gentle discipline.
Here are some links to helpful threads on the GCM message board:
excerpted from the article To Spank or Not to Spank? by Elizabeth Pantley
". . . I’ve read several articles that address the issue of spanking where the writer says it’s okay to spank if the child is in danger - for instance, if a toddler is running into the street, or reaching out to touch a hot burner on the stove. They suggest that at these times a few pops on the rear end are okay. I must admit this naïve mindset baffles me. Why in the world would we want to teach our children about safety by hurting them? Does you ski instructor jab you with his ski pole to teach you not to jump off the chairlift?
"A parent who believes that spanking is the only effective way to teach a young child about safety issues is not giving the child enough credit. Children - even little ones - can indeed learn about safety through our teaching them. As a matter of fact, through teaching they will learn much more, as they can absorb the reason for the rule, and over time, can learn to make good decisions on their own. I watched two friends one summer teach their toddlers not to run in the street Mom A give her toddler a swat on the rear every time he went in to the street. Mom B picked up her toddler, looked him in the eye, and said, 'NO street! Dangerous. Stay by Mommy.' By the end of the summer, both children learned to stay out of the street. Which child understood why? And which child has better communication with his mother?"
Excerpted from DANGER DISCIPLINE on the askdrsears.com website
". . . as we learned more about discipline, we realized there are better ways than spanking to handle even danger discipline. We realized toddlers don't remember from one time to the next, even with the 'physical impression.'"
"Any 'danger' situation still requires constant adult supervision—no amount of spanking will danger-proof a child when the adult is not there to administer the blows. Any after-the-fact hitting will just be confusing—he won't know why he's being hit. Your job as a disciplinarian is to keep your child away from situations in which his ignorance or impulsiveness could get him into real danger."