I've blogged about hitting kids before but the subject has been in the media lately and I have been surprised and saddened by the number of people who still think that hitting (and I won't downgrade the word to smacking or spanking-I'm calling a spade a spade) a child is OK. I'm even more disappointed that there are so many advocates of hitting kids as a regular way of control.
I'm still hopeful that hitting kids will go the way of husbands hitting their wives as a form of punishment. Very frowned upon and illegal. And marriage has gone on without husbands having their "right to punish and teach" taken away.
Here are my top 5 reasons why I don't hit my kids
1-using fear of physical pain to get someone to comply is not my idea of how people should be treated. It's not something that we do to adults and it's not something I do to my kids
2-the word "discipline" actually means "to teach" so I take every opportunity to talk to my kids about issues that come up or fears for their safety I might have rather than making arbitrary lines in the sand and using punishment when they are crossed. We have had the "running onto the road" situation and my genuine fear and discussion about why you need to stay close when there are cars got the point across.
3-It hurts. I don't want the trust and love in our relationship to be undermined by me hurting them when I don't get my way or when I am angry. I try to model appropriate ways of showing that I'm angry or frustrated or feel overwhelmed. I don't always succeed but then I feel no shame in apologizing and having a "do-over" of the situation.
4-I don't know what the magic age is when hitting becomes not acceptable. Adults don't hit each other and I'm pretty sure parents are frowned upon when they hit their teenagers so what age to stop? 5? 10? I find it sad that kids are never "too small" to be hit.
5-I don't demand or value compliance. Sure, some days I would like to just say "because I sad so" and have stuff happen. But the truth is that I want my kids to think for themselves and to do things that are age appropriate without fear. Of course boundaries and no-win situations come up-they will naturally even if there is not a list of "smackable offenses"- but we deal with these one at a time, talking and teaching and being respectful all the way.
Here are a couple of good articles if you want to read more
Ten Reasons never To Hit Your Kids by The Natural Child Project
Spanking- A Shortcut To Nowhere by Penelope Leach
How Can You Look Me In The Eye at Demand Euphoria
I know this post might open a bit of a can of worms and I ask that we all be respectful. I WILL NOT get into specific "what if?" scenarios because I don;t have a pre planned dogma of dealing with situations.