BY SOFO ARCHON
This is the transcript of a video published here.
If you’re a parent, please don’t spank your kids.
Sadly, to this day, a significant portion of parents choose to do so. For example, in the United States, nearly one third of parents report spanking their kids every week.
So, why would a parent spank his or her kids?
Well, there are several reasons, but this is the most frequent one: To discipline them.
When a kid does something that a parent considers bad or wrong, the parent punishes it through the use of spanking in order to teach it not to do that thing again. That could be pretty much anything, such as screaming or using curse words, not performing well at school, talking back to their elders or simply not obeying their parents.
In the minds of such parents, spanking kids is a great thing:
It’s one of those important tools that help kids grow into mature, responsible, decent human beings. Yet the truth about the effects of spanking on children couldn’t be further from that. Numerous studies have revealed what those are:
Psychological trauma as well as emotional pain, shame, resentment, anger, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues resulting from it.
Which makes total sense, if you think about it: To the kid who is spanked, spanking doesn’t feel like a good thing at all. Rather, it feels like abuse, for spanking hurts, both physically and emotionally, inflicting wounds on the kid’s psyche. Wounds that often last for a lifetime.
Research has revealed that spanking can alter kids’ brain function in similar ways to severe forms of maltreatment. So detrimental it can be to a kid’s health. In addition, research shows that kids who are spanked frequently tend to become aggressive, and try to resolve their interpersonal problems through violence.
If a kid hits its sibling, and his parent spanks it for that, what is the message sent to the kid? That violence is the way of dealing with conflict.
Now, in that example, the kid might stop hitting its sibling, scared that he could be caught and punished by its parent – but it won’t understand what’s wrong with hitting its sibling nor what’s a better way of behaving. And if it finds a way to avoid getting caught, nothing will stop it from hitting its sibling again.
Kids who are regularly spanked also tend to experience shame and low self-esteem. They see themselves as bad, unworthy of love, and undeserving of being treated with kindness and respect. As a result, they tend to believe that they are helpless cases who can’t do any better, and hence they don’t feel motivated to correct or improve their behavior.
Add to that that the feeling of shame is one of the root causes of behavioral violence, and it becomes clear how toxic spanking can be – not only to the individual, but also to society. For behavioral violence is usually a desperate attempt of people to undo the feelings of shame they’re suffering from.
As you can understand, spanking kids to “discipline” them is both ineffective and counterproductive. And it’s also ruining the relationship of parents and kids, for kids stop trusting and feeling love toward anyone – including their parents – who is purposefully and repeatedly abusing them.
So, if you are a parent, please don’t spank your kids. Instead, educate yourself about nonviolent methods of teaching your kids healthy patterns of behavior, and try your best to implement them. There are many such methods, and are quite effective.
Above all, live by example, for that’s what teaches kids more than anything else. To kids, parents are their role models, and if their role models embody hatred, meanness and violence, then those are the very attributes kids will most likely adopt. On the contrary, if their role models embody love, kindness and compassion, then kids will most likely become loving, kind and compassionate themselves.