No Spank Day
No Spank Day
By Lala Fogerty
Leading up to NO SPANK DAY on April 30th, and maybe before we decide to take that challenge( or not), maybe we could just pay attention for the next couple of weeks or even the next couple of days, to how often we smack, pop, hit, spank our children. People say to me, all the time that spanking teaches valuable lessons, and you know what? I agree to part of that statement. Spanking does teach lessons, but I’m quite certain these lessons are not valuable.
Spanking teaches that violence and love are inextricably connected. It teaches that the bigger, stronger person gets his way. It teaches that the people who love you are allowed to hit you. It teaches that sometimes, the people you trust will hurt you.
People also like to share with me that spanking works. True, it does work – in the short term. Most of us will stop doing what we are doing if someone hits us. So, yes, in that regard, spanking works. But what about the long term? To better understand the effects of spanking we should consider the long term and short term effects of giving into a tantrum. When we yield to the screaming, flailing, tantrum throwing child in the grocery checkout line and give her the candy, it works. The screaming stops. The crying stops and the tantrum is over. Until the next time. We all know, the more we give into tantrums, the more they recur. In the same way, when we spank our children, it does work, for the moment, but what doesn’t work about spanking is long term success. Spanking puts an end to the undesirable behavior, but only in the here and now. Children who stop the undesirable behavior when spanked outgrow this method of “discipline” in time and haven’t really learned how to control behavior as much as they have learned to avoid punishment.
Researchers have found that children who are spanked show higher rates of aggression and delinquency in childhood than those who were not spanked. As adults, they are more prone to depression, feelings of alienation, use of violence toward a spouse, and lower economic and professional achievement. By spanking our children, we put them at higher risk for a host of psychological, physical and societal issues. Ninety percent of American parents spank, and as a nation we have the highest incidence of incarceration per capita in the world. Norway, on the other hand, abolished spanking in 1987 and has the lowest crime rate in the world.
So, just pay attention until April 30th, to how many times a day you spank your children and think about how much harder you are actually making your own future so that maybe, just maybe, by the time April 30th gets here, you won’t just take the challenge of NO SPANK DAY, you will live it!
Help Us Help Kids
Editor, Ask Lala
Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!
Laura has an ACE score of 6.