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What Spanking Really Teaches

by Darlene Barriere - Webmaster
(Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada)

<center>[ADOPTED from August 2007 issue Barriere Bits E-zine]</center>

[ADOPTED from August 2007 issue Barriere Bits E-zine]

The vast majority believe it is their right to spank their child as a form of discipline. Some quote the Bible, arguing that it is their parental duty to spank when their child misbehaves.


All too often, parents interchange the word spanking with discipline, believing that without spanking, there is no discipline. This just isn't so. The term "discipline" should not be confused with physical punishment. Discipline is about teaching a child right and wrong and imposing appropriate consequences for inappropriate behaviour. Discipline is about teaching the child how to get along in the world.

Many would argue that a spanking is a consequence. But I have to ask, is it an appropriate consequence?

Child psychologists agree that spanking has extremely negative long-term consequences that far outweigh any short-term gains. While a parent may well stop a child from doing whatever was done wrong a second time, the harmful effects are numerous.
    What children really learn from being spanked:

  • They learn that violence is an acceptable way to handle situations.

  • They learn that the people charged with protecting them can and will hurt them.

  • They learn that love = pain.

  • They learn fear.

  • They learn to lie to avoid painful punishment.

  • They learn what it's like to be humiliated.

  • They learn anger and hostility, resentment and hatred.

  • They learn size is might.

  • They learn that they are "bad".
When parents spank, the child believes he or she is bad rather than understanding that it's the behaviour that was bad.

The Abuse and Discipline page on this site offers a comparison between abuse and discipline, and what it is that parents are trying to achieve in each case.

There are countries in the world who have outlawed spanking, but most countries leave it to the parents to make the decision. The more we can educate parents on effective, non-violent methods of discipline, the healthier our future generations will be.

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