The controversial question: should you spank your child gets some more input. Recent research, reported by the LA Times, shows a correlation between childhood spanking and an increase of mental health issues as an adult.
Alright, this isn't exactly groundbreaking research, and perhaps is just logical. And then there is the other side...the "I was spanked, and I turned out OK." How many of you who were spanked as children continue the habit to the next generation?
What good does it do? What does spanking actually teach? I would suggest that one thing spanking teaches is that it's OK to hit. What a confusing message to a toddler who learns constantly at school that it is NOT, in fact, OK to hit. But it's alright for mommy and daddy to do it when they are angry? How does that get explained?
My husband likes to say, "They are a third of your size: if you can't figure out a way to get what you want without hitting them [your child] then you don't deserve to win the argument." Point to him (and that really chagrins me to admit that.)
So why do parents continue to spank? What is the rationale? For some it is about control, or lack of it. In a fit of emotion, it is the only way they feel they can convey the message to their child. In terms of modeling, what is modeled is that spanking is an acceptable response to intense emotion. For others, it's a lack of other kinds of parenting tools in their toolbox. They go from asking their child to do something, the child refusing, to spanking. I've worked with kids who get spanked in these circumstances, and they tend to be angry with short fuses. Imagine what happens when their fuses are lit...yes, they act out physically.
Fortunately, you don't have to be a spanker. There are wonderful parenting courses and workshops out there available to help manage your emotions. Often times, these workshops are very reasonably priced (Under $40, depending on location). In the Washington area, I recommend PEP (Parenting Encouragement Program) to parents that I work with.
What are your thoughts on spanking?