For many the answer to that would be an unequivocal No, because we all know that there are many, many downsides to hitting children, it can be counter-productive and can lead to all sorts of problems for the child later.
Yet we have an entire generation of parents preceding the current one that swear by the old adage, Spare the Rod Spoil the Child.
So is there really a middle ground to this spanking issue? Keep these in mind if you are somewhat in agreement with the older forms of discipline:
- Never hit in anger
- Don’t make spanking a way to relieve your frustration, anger or a bad mood.
- Don’t spank to hurt, only to draw the child’s attention. Sometimes, a spank can concentrate the mind wonderfully. Sometimes it may be the only way to draw your child’s attention, when words tend to roll off without having any effect.
- Use it as a last resort when all else has failed; do not make it a first response. This leads to it spanking becoming a habit. This is definitely unhealthy, and tends towards abuse. It can also desensitize a child to violence and that is certainly counter-productive.
- Spank only when you have to, if you do it routinely it will cease to have any effect.
- Remember little children are fragile. If you must spank, do so on the bottom, it will hurt enough for the child to remember but won’t cause any damage.
- Explain to the child why he or she was hit and explain that violence is never a solution, that it is still not OK to use in other situations.
- Even if you are otherwise against spanking, think about delivering a small but telling smack if the child does anything dangerous. If a child runs out on to the middle of the road, a smack may be in order to demonstrate to junior that being run over is going to hurt a lot, lot more!
So it is possible that you may need something stronger than just words when they have failed utterly to get the message across to your child, but be very aware of the pitfalls if you do make spanking part of your discipline tactics.
So while there is such a thing as being lax in disciplining your child, it is important to make sure not to cross that fine line into abuse.