The use of physical physical discipline/corporal punishment by parents has alway been a controversial issue. I have been on both sides of the track in terms of understanding why a parent chooses to use discipline and why a parent shouldn’t use physical discipline. I’ve read several articles and attended many trainings on the negative effects of physical discipline and what happens to children when they are physically disciplined. There is no question that children who are physically disciplined will naturally use this method when solving their own problems or expressing their frustration and anger. There is no question that children who are physically disciplined tend to be more aggressive, express their anger inappropriately at times.
However, I’m sure others can and will use the argument that many of our successful, highly respected leaders were physically disciplined back in the day and they turned out fine. I love hearing this rational from a parent that has been referred to my office due to inappropriate discipline or “physical abuse“. They will often state “I was physically disciplined and I turned out fine”–yet they sit across from me with a sleuth of issues including their parenting.
But my biggest thoughts on physical discipline is not whether it is wrong or not. Not whether you’re a bad parent if you choose to use it. Is it necessary? Do you really have to use physical discipline to get your children to listen? Is it really teaching your child discipline or just another punishment? (there is a difference) Most of the times when “corporal punishment” is used the parent is angry or frustrated, not in control of their emotions and tend to use a force that is stronger than usual. I often hear parents express their frustration that they always have to spank the child because that’s the only thing that works. Well, if physical discipline is working then why do you still have to always use it?? Why hasn’t the child learned their lesson? Let me go out on a limb and say “it works for that moment to stop the behavior but it doesn’t teach them discipline to stop engaging in the negative behaviors in the future”.
So, is it really done to teach a lesson or because as a parent they haven’t found the proper way of handling their own anger or lack the skills to really teach discipline to their child and not just punish their child. The use of physical discipline will continue to be a controversial issue with studies for and against it. But with all of the violence involving children and the level of violence children are exposed to in the world today, as a parent I would think twice about consistently using physical discipline as a primary method in my home. There is always another way!
Coaching you through it all…