Aid! to whip or not to whip

There are many good reasons NOT to hit a child. The current thinking is:

1) Spanking only teaches violence. Spanking is, in essence, hitting your child. If it’s okay for a parent to hit his child, then it’s okay for the child to hit another child, and to hit his child when he grows up.

2) Any behavior that could be considered spanking is more likely a child’s way of expressing anger at not having their needs met. As such, any punishment for such behavior would be unfair. Children are not very good at expressing their needs.

3) Spanking does not teach the correct desired behavior

4) Spanking causes a break in the bond between parents and children. How can a child be expected to trust a parent who hits them?

5) Spanking is a release of parental frustration; it is in no way a corrective measure for children’s behavior.

6) In a child’s mind, spanking is associated only with pain, not the antecedent behavior that caused the pain. The physical pain of spanking can turn into sexualized behavior problems.

7) Children are fragile, even a light spanking can cause physical harm. What parents call a light spanking can be severe abuse for a child.

Basically, there is no good reason to spank or hit a child. What are some alternatives?

1) You can raise your voice; in fact, you can raise it very high to express your anger and frustration at a behavior. However, even that can be unfair if the child’s misbehavior stems from an unmet need or simply not knowing.

2) You can do everything you can to avoid the need for reprimands. Make sure you are attentive to your child’s needs. Read my series of articles You need to know parts 1 to 5 in the article library at

3) Use words instead of fists or palms. Anger management often insists that children use their words to express their feelings instead of hitting. Parents must do the same.

4) Use reason to explain to a child why a particular behavior is unacceptable. Only after the child has learned that a behavior is inappropriate and continues to engage in that behavior is it a problem. Before that, it is simply not knowing and there is no need for punishment.

5) Recognize and reward appropriate behavior. Frowns at bad behavior, even imposes some negative consequences (no TV, no dessert, no toys, etc.), but DON’T HIT YOUR CHILD!

6) Hug your child often. Let your child learn to associate human contact with something pleasurable.

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