I recently read an article from Australia’s Herald Sun about “smacking” (known commonly here as ‘spanking’). It prompted me to think about trust and respect in parent/child relationships. Our parents’ generation seemed to insist upon respect and tended to practice a philosophy of instilling fear. Ultimately a child was meant to respect her parents simply becasue they were the paretns. Perhaps you as a child obeyed your parents because you feared the consequences of doing otherwise. Physical violence was considered to be acceptable and meant to be used as “teaching”; however the ironic resluts were often resentment, mistrust sheer lack of respect from the child toward the parents.
The next generation, ours, seems to be trying to become a friend and equal partner of our children. These days, parents indulge any request and treat it like a command; and subsequently flooding the children with materialistic gifts as compensation for diminished time spent together. This generation of parents for the most part does not practice the use violence as discipline and if they do it is generally as a last resort. This approach doesn’t work well either as the children grow up again with minimal sense of respect for their parents and a vague sense of limits and boundaries.
In my opinion these two approaches are two extremes and as we all know it is better to find a more mellow approach, which will combine the best of these two opposites paradigms.
However, irrespective of the specific approach each parent adopts, personally I would like to stress that in no way hitting (I don’t like using the euphemism smacking) your child is ok in any circumstances.
When you hit your child you give her/him the following messages:
1) I don’t respect you or your body, yet you have to respect me.
2) I am more powerful then you and power wins.
3) I am role modeling you that I can’t control myself.
4) Every time in the future that you displease me I might exercise my power over you.
Next time, before you hit your child remember those messages and see if that what you want to bring to your relationship with your child.
Whether or not Mother Sue Edgerley says: “Bring back the smack”, I urge you to never hit your child or anyone else; never!