Should I spank my child because I was spanked?
By Lauren Floyd, Honeycomb Moms
So the American Academy of Pediatrics strengthened its stance against spanking children last month.
More specifically, the organization concluded that spanking, yelling at and shaming children are simply ineffective discipline strategies in the long run.
I get that. We all know that one demon child. No matter how many spankings he got, he still terrorized the neighborhood without pause.
Any expert worth her salt will say instead of focusing on discipline, a better approach to behavior intervention is to first establish the desired behaviors by rewarding and acknowledging them.
I get that too. I tend to repeat actions because I’ve been rewarded or praised in some way not because I’ve been scolded for doing the opposite.
Here’s where I have to sign off in the anti-spanking conversation:
when spanking and shaming children are considered equally deplorable,
when all spankings are considered abuse, and
when people with unruly kids recommend against spankings.
The last point is obvious. If your kids don’t know how to act, let’s focus on that, not on judging other parenting strategies.
The other two points may need a bit more explanation depending on your background.
Both my parents are black, and both of them are educators.
We called spankings woopings, and I don’t think I’ve gotten more than five of them my whole life.
That’s because my mom and her village never relied on spankings as teaching tools.
I got spanked because I willfully and blatantly defied something I was told.
I mouthed off or had a water fight outside with my cousin when my mom told me very clearly not to leave the house.
Spankings were physical reminders that I was not going to disrespect the people who loved and raised me.
My mom was never that mother who came up to the school to spank me in front of all my friends or the one who threw whatever was lying around at me. She wasn’t cruel or abusive.
None of my village was. In fact, the main reason I don’t want to spank my son is because the people who spanked me never seemed completely sold on the concept themselves.
Some of them just didn’t know of a better way, and others were riddled with guilt after the fact.
I remember one spanking in particular.
I cursed at my great grandma, who watched me each week while my mom and dad worked.
I remember saying something like this to my cousin:
“I bet I can say the F word to granny.”
Welp, I was right. I said it, and she kindly gathered a small switch and got me together as a result.
The spanking was hardly memorable, but it’s hard to forget the look in my granny’s eyes after she spanked me. I didn’t know what it was until she sat me down and explained.
I couldn’t tell, but she admitted that she spanked me out of anger.
The look in her eyes was guilt.
She apologized and gave me a lollipop.
I would love to say that at that moment I knew I would never spank my children, but the truth of the matter is the spanking itself didn’t have much of an effect on me at all. I just remember my granny was hurt because she hurt me.
It’s only now that I have a son that I know how devastating that must have felt. I don’t want to feel that, and I don’t want to have to hurt my child to teach him.