Maybe you are one of those parents who believe that spanking boys builds their character and teaches them respect. I am with the experts here and believe that, instead, it teaches boys that violence is the way to solve problems.
Spanking is a form of corporal punishment. The American Academy of Pediatrics and many child development experts are strongly against ever hitting a child.
OK, if you have occasionally lost your temper and spanked your son, your relationship is not ruined forever. But, that is not an effective approach to discipline. If you repeatedly spank your son, then you have a more serious problem.
If you have spanked your son out of anger an later feel guilty, I think it's a good idea to bring it up to your son and apologize. It's a good way to explain to him that everybody makes mistakes and learns from them. You can tell him that it was wrong of you to hit him.
Now, I have told you that spanking boys is wrong, you are probably wondering what I base this asumption on.
Why is spanking boys wrong?
It teaches that hitting others is acceptable, therefore teaching that violence is an acceptable way to express anger and to deal with life's conflicts.
It is painful. It is a deliberate attempt to hurt your son and is cruel.
It is emotionally harmful. For you and for the child. It probably leaves you feeling guilty and remorseful or doubting your parenting skills. It is traumatic for your son, it makes him feel as though there is something wrong with him (when you want to teach him that his behavior is wrong, not him). It creates resentment and anger and can cause your son to lose trust in you for invading his sense of security. It can lead to him having self image and body image issues later in life. It can result in fear, not respect. If your son fears you, he may learn to hide his behavior and lie rather than trust you to guide and teach him.
Children who are spanked are more likely to become aggressive. This can lead to other issues, such as bullying.
The message it sends to your son is that he is powerless. This will probably cause him to act out, therefore leading to more problems.
It is disrespectful to your son and does not teach him to be respectful.
It puts a stop to effective communication.
It's an escalation to even "tougher" physical discipline. Next time you may end up hitting him harder, it’s easy to injure your son. Basically, where do you go from there? The best is to not even start!
Last but not least, IT DOES NOT WORK! Maybe in the short term your son will stop the undesirable behavior, but, in the long run it will make his behavior worse, not better.
How do I know that spanking boys is wrong?
There have been a lot of studies on spanking. Dr. Murray Strauss based his book "Beating the Devil Out of Them, Corporal Punishment in American Families" on studies of over 9,000 families in the USA. He concluded: "Children who are spanked quickly learn that love and violence can go hand in hand." His book compiles 20 years of research. His findings show that children who are spanked are 2 to 6 times more likely to become physically aggressive, juvenile delinquents and, later in life, to use physical violence against their spouse, feel alienated, suffer from depression, have sadomasochistic tendencies and lower economic and professional achievements. I just want to make it clear that he is not talking about children who are physically abused but about children who are spanked. Want to check out his book, use the search window below to find the best deal!
Research has also shown a link between spanking and rates of child abuse. The example of Sweden can be cited. In Sweden, spanking has been illegal since 1971. The family violence-related child death rate in Sweden was 18% in 1970 and dropped to 0 in recent years.
There have been studies with both animals and children that show that physical punishment is actually less effective than positive reinforcement and other forms of discipline in correcting and changing behavior. It shows that, over time, children who are spanked are actually more likely to increase their bad behavior. Why is that? In some children, spanking does little to develop a sense of conscience, but instead promotes the idea that they must only be good if someone will find out. Behaving well for fear of getting caught doing the wrong thing is very different from learning to behave because it's the right thing to do.