Recently, I was told of a family who were observed while playing at a local park. A little girl mistakenly ran headlong into her father, while chasing after a ball her brother had kicked to her.
Her father lashed out with his arm and knocked her to the ground with such force that the child just lay there. The father could be heard yelling at her, telling her to watch where she was going or he'd knock her stupid head off. The child appeared to be around six and was very slight, while the father was a large man in his thirties.
He responded when questioned, that as her father, he could do what he liked. He regularly spanked his children "if they played up" he said. Fortunately for the child, this is no longer true. The little girl actually required hospital treatment, but has made a good recovery and help has since been sought for this family.
I believe this story illustrates the point about the supermarket bins, as I'm told that while the man was answering questions about his behavior to his child, he was affectionately fondling and petting his dog, while his child lay on the ground distressed and injured.
Why is it that people often have firm views about animal cruelty and welfare, but appear ambivalent about spanking or hitting children?
For some parents, rethinking their modes of behaviour takes great strength of character, but the rewards are priceless.
Spanking Children - Child Discipline
I believe that if that father hadn't regularly been in the habit of spanking children, he would not have been so quick to hit out at his daughter when he felt cross because she bumped into him.
Discipline without spanking is completely possible. It requires consistent effort and takes more time than a spanking. There are just as many people who were raised without a spanking or belting as those who were.
Rather than being disciplined through fear, they are disciplined by love and respect. They learn quickly to have love and respect for themselves and those around them. They learn to do the right thing because they understand the reasons why and know it for themselves from the inside out.
Clear, firm and consistent patterns of discipline can be learned, even by those who tend to lash out first and think later. It is every child's right to KNOW they can trust their parent's boundaries. So firstly, become firm with your own boundaries and then apply this to your parenting discipline.
Parents who see their children as people, complete with their own personality and a sponge - like capacity for learning, are more able to see child discipline as a teaching tool rather than as punishment.
I encourage you to read these 21 Practical Alternatives to Spanking Children which have been written up for Barnardoes, a social support service for families in New Zealand.
More Help With Spanking Children and Discipline:I have been really interested in all your feedback about parenting and discipline.
This is a subject that many parents feel very passionate about. Some feel the word should never be used in conjunction with children as it conjures up harsh images of punishment.
For other parents,however, discipline speaks of limits and consequences and they feel strongly that setting boundaries and routines is a sound principle of discipline.
What is your opinion?
Do contact me and share your ideas
How to Discipline Children
How to Express Emotions