To Spank Or Not To Spank
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September 21st, 2010, 10:01 AM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Nov 2009
Great article, I think.
Personally, I would never spank another person's child (including my nephew -- that's my sister's decision), and I only would go with a spanking method of punishment between the ages of 1 and about 10/11. I do think there is a point to be made so far as how young a child will understand what a spanking is for, and how much their small bodies can really handle. Smacking a little one on the hand because they hit someone else might not get the message across the way it was meant! But I would give a light swat on a diapered bottom for a kid younger than 2 if they were clearly able to understand that, and if the situation was appropriate.
The reason for my personal limit with top age might seem a little low for some parents who do spank. There is a reason for it, though. Children start hitting an emotional change at pre-adolescence around 10-11 years, even though a physical change usually is not developing yet.
Boys become more physical -- whether this is more violent, more demonstrative, or just more energetic. Giving them a physical discipline might well be just what they respond to best...but I can think of many other ways of utilizing that young energy than being the receiving end of a spanking. Maybe pulling weeds, hammering a nail in a board for each unkind word, cleaning toilets, even digging a useless hole army-style might do the trick better than a swat. The loss of free time earned on the PS3 works quite well for most boys this age!
Girls are becoming more aware of sexual differences between men and women at this age more than boys are, and many girls are starting their periods younger today than they did 2 generations ago. Girls on the whole are less straightforward than boys, and so their behavior tends to lean more naturally towards manipulation. The combination of young sexual awareness, the area the spanking is usually given (on the bottom), and the emotional immaturity and vulnerability of a pre-adolescent girl is not a good one... I personally think that the best punishments at this age, even more for girls than boys, are ones that deliberately engage their reason more than their emotion. This can really help their later life responses to be healthier in times of stress, emotional frustration, and their relationships with teenage boys and men.
Having said all this, I have seen some parents who stand by spanking regardless, and some who would never go there, and kids who have responded both very well and very poorly in each camp. (For example, my aunt refused to spank my cousins because she was abused as a child. They were very unpleasant, spoiled children, and make quite ill-mannered adults.) Ultimately, the parent is the one responsible for raising a child to be a healthy, independent, capable individual. Other people can offer opinions, but it comes down to the parent in the end.
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