Recently I read this post: http://prenticefamily.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/not-spanking-jail-time-for-child/.
And it has been on my mind ever since that many parents simply lack alternative tools and indeed sometimes lack awareness of the reasons violence is not only unnecessary, but directly contrary to what the parent is actually trying to achieve. Hence this post to be followed with alternatives to violence.
Firstly though my qualifications to speak to this. I was a severely abused child until being made a State Ward for my own protection at twelve. From twelve to eighteen I saw so many different types of violence I was able to clearly determine for myself that violence of any sort only begets violence. And a life of violence, anger, bitterness and rage were not what I wanted.
Secondly I have studied psychiatry, psychology, and a trillion other ‘ologies’ for over twenty-twenty-seven years now and practiced in psychiatry for twenty-four years. Every single experience I shared with my clients proved yet again (if it required anymore proving) that any sort of violence creates only itself.
And I have a fourteen year old lad that I’ve been single parenting since he was two. So…
Why do we hit our kids? Well…seen as you asked 🙂 ;
A long time ago man discovered if he hit another man over the head with a club that man was more likely to do what he wanted. It was much quicker than using rationale argument or negotiation. He just had to make sure the other bloke wasn’t bigger.
Kids were automatic losers here. Adults are always bigger!
So many times I hear parents say “But it works!” Well of course it does!
Anyone bigger can scare the living crap out of a child and make them comply. But is that why you are striking your child?
Do you want to teach them that bullying works, that physical violence is the way to get what you want, that causing pain to another is justified, that the end justifies the means?
Of course one cannot ignore the impact of religion on our justification of using violence on our children.
‘Spare the rod spoil the child’, (a piece of advice still up on the Roman Catholic Church website now in 2010) is so integral to our views of raising children whether we are religious or not. It is one of those underlying cultural attitudes that deeply influence us whether we are aware of it or not.
At the end of the day I believe we adults resort to inflicting violence on our children (spanking seems to me to be one of those terms we use to minimize what we are actually doing) to either vent our own frustration or because we are unaware of more effective teaching tools.
Please note I am not judging here. There are many times, particularly of late when my urge has been to ‘knock some sense’ into my son. But as an adult it is my job to acknowledge the frustration as mine alone and that my job is to teach so that the lessons learnt are of benefit to my son and to the society he lives in. Violence will not achieve this desired result.
As an adult I must overcome my own desire for instant fixes, my own flaring knee-jerk responses to challenging behaviour, and seek to teach in a way that encourages my son to do the same.
The next post under parenting will be an examination of effective techniques that can achieve what we parents want from our children without adding to the problem of violent coercion all across our world, from hitting our kids to hitting other countries we don’t like.
Your opinions are welcome!