Spanking your child is not discipline, it’s abuse
Published: Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 15:11
Should you spank your children? No. Should you spank your children to exert authority? Still no! Imagine a world where your teacher smacks you in the face for getting a bad grade. A place where your boss punches you in the face for not filing a report, maybe a server throwing a plate at your head for a bad tip. Sounds bad, right? So why would you hit your child?
It is not harmless, and it is abuse — abuse that happens too often. National Child Abuse Statistics show that a report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds and more than five children die every day as a result of child abuse.
Preacher Michael Pearl thinks of abuse as a principle to teach toddlers to submit to authority. Pearl wrote a book called To Train Up a Child. To add insult to injury, it ended up in a crime scene. On Sept. 29, a child's parents were charged with homicide by abuse after the death of a third child. Pearl's book was found in their home. More than 670,000 copies are in circulation and are especially popular among Christians who home school their children.
Forgive me for not supporting the book that provides instructions on using a switch on babies as young as six months. According to Administration of Children and Family in 2009, four-fifths of all child fatalities were younger than 4 years old. Out of those, 46.2 percent of child fatalities were younger than 1 year old, 17.8 percent were 1 year old, 10.3 percent were 2 years old and 6.5 percent were 3 years old.
Further cases range from parents beating children with 15-inch plastic tubes, recommended by Pearl, to children starving because "a little fasting is good training." National child abuse statistics on childhelp.com show that about 30 percent of abused and neglected children will continue the horrible cycle and later abuse their own children. About 80 percent of 21 year olds who were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder. Abused children are 25 percent more likely to experience teen pregnancy. This is just some of the information you won't find in Pearl's book.
Hitting a child does not help the child and does not make a better parent, whether it's hitting, punching, slapping, pushing or spanking. The effects are not just physical, but they can mentally scar a child. According to Child Welfare Information Gateway, 80 percent of young adults who were abused have at least one psychiatric disorder at age 21. They develop antisocial traits and cases of depression.
The more you hit a child, the easier and worse it gets. It will escalate, and your children will suffer. Sadly, Texas Judge William Adams is a prime example. He viciously beat his 16-year-old daughter with a belt for more than seven minutes for using the Internet.
"No, in my mind I haven't done anything wrong other than discipline my child after she was caught stealing," Adams told KZTV, a Texas news station. "And I did lose my temper, but I've since apologized."
A parent's authority doesn't work when the child is dead or hospitalized.
There is an alternative to spanking your children, as hitting your children only teaches more violence. Persuasion and reasoning, on the other hand, teach the lesson without the mental and physical scars to prove it. If your child yells or breaks toys for attention, don't give the toys back to them or don't replace what they break. Make family or house rules with them. Give those options or choices – not the belt every time. If you want to exert your authority, do it like responsible parent. Don't exert your hand on your child. And if you can't handle that, then you don't deserve respect from your child or anyone else.