Many of us grew up hearing the words, “Spare the rod and spoil the child”—a Biblical reference that was particularly popular in the Deep South Bible Belt where I grew up.
It was usually followed by something like, “I was spanked, and I turned out just fine.” However, as a mindful parent raising children of my own, I have a responsibility to do the best I can for my kids—even if that best looks different from the way that I was raised.
I’ve never been comfortable with spanking. So, my kid hits someone, and I’m supposed to hit him to teach him that hitting is wrong? It’s not remotely logical. It also seems like an adult temper tantrum.
Sure, it does something to express our frustration—but I remember being the child on the other end of the scenario. Do I want my children to do what is right out of fear or out of understanding that it’s the right thing to do?
I’m not sure that spanking for blind obedience is helpful, and I’ve had my doubts that the people who turned out “just fine” actually did. After all, aren’t they continuing to perpetuate violence with our children, however well-meaning they may be?
We have a responsibility to learn from the past and to do better however we can. It doesn’t mean that we have to vilify our caregivers or act like victims. Instead, we can research better ways of maintaining discipline in our families without the threat of violence. We can advocate gentle parenting.
But, for those of us who don’t feel that it’s wrong—why would we change what we’re doing?
Mayim Bialik explains, from a scientific perspective, why spanking is ineffective and even harmful. The proof is out there, and we need to pay attention.
And, if you want to dismiss her as “just another opinionated actress,” you should know that she is a neuroscientist with a Ph.D. from the University of California. She knows what she’s talking about and could cite studies to back it up. Still have doubts? Perform a scholarly Google search for research related to spanking.
In the meantime, check out this vlog:
Author: Crystal Jackson
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