The Psychological Effects of Spanking:
Although it may seem like spanking has been the oldest and most common form of discipline, it certainly is not the most effective. In fact, corporal punishment can be physically, emotionally, and cognitively damaging. Spanking can actually increase aggression in children as this form of coping becomes legitimized. Additionally, it has been noted that spanking can lead to an increase in a child’s acting out behaviors and challenges in school. The use of spanking provides a temporary release of anger for the parent and for the time being, terminates the undesired behavior. However, this “consequence” does not eliminate the undesired behavior long term, but instead installs a sense of fear, hostility, and lack of trust in the parental figure.
To better eliminate undesired behaviors while maintaining trust in the parent-child relationship, the parent should adopt a more communicative and calm approach to rectifying negative behavior.
The Most Effective Way to Discipline:
- Recognize your feelings about what is happening. If the parent is angry, the response will be angry. Engage in deep breathing and step away from the situation, if possible, to calm down. If you cannot step away, simply close your eyes and count backwards from 10 before approaching your child to resolve the conflict.
- Remove your child from the scene of the crime and discuss what was incorrect or non-preferred. Explain why the action was inappropriate, unsafe, etc.
- Have the child re-enter the situation and implement the discussed correct behavior in the triggering environment to learn how to effectively solve the presented problem.
- Depending on the nature of the situation, the use of a time out or loss of privilege can serve to cease the negative behavior.
- If there is continued implementation of negative behaviors, consider the use of a motivational incentive program to track progress with challenging behaviors. The use of positive reinforcement to reward good behaviors can more effectively eliminate undesired behaviors.
Teaching kids what was wrong and what is expected to be right does more for a child than spanking as it outlines for the child what they can do differently. Having them re-do behavior is the learned experience that can help the child translate the current experience to future similar situations to truly eradicate negative behavior.
NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!