Although I do not personally spank my kids, I am not here to judge those who do. I believe that parents who do their research and make informed choices know what is best for their children and their families. Even when those choices are different than mine.
Spanking is one of the most polarizing issues between moms. It is a very controversial topic, and it brings up a lot of emotions.
I choose not to spank in my home because it does not line up with my personal philosophy of raising children. My goal is to raise kids who are gentle to all and who know how to control their emotions. I also view discipline as a method of teaching, rather than a way to coerce children into compliance. To me, spanking does not model for my children how I would like them to live, and it is not truly a teaching tool.
Even though I don't spank, I don't pass judgment on those who do. There are a few reasons for this. First, I have unwavering faith that almost all parents of sound mind want what is best for their kids. I also trust others to make the right decisions for their families.
Next, my children will grow up with quite a bit of privilege. I am not faced with the pressures of teaching my kids to obey me so that they don't run into trouble with gangs or law enforcement in the future. Sadly, this fear is behind many moms' discipline methods, and in that way, they are really doing what is best for their kids over the long term. These moms may save their kids' lives with their tough love and I'm in no position to judge.
Spanking is not equivalent to child abuse, although some who are opposed claim that it is. Spanking is a form of punishment, just like time out or imposing extra chores on your child. Yelling at your kids can actually more damaging than spanking.
Particularly for those parents who make an educated decision to spank, yelling is much worse. That is because spanking "done right" is not done in anger or on a whim. Parents who follow a discipline model that includes spanking do so while they are calm and collected. Often they follow up with a didactic chat and end with a loving hug.
Spanking impulsively and in anger is quite damaging to children, but it is not the spanking itself. It is the emotional trauma of being attacked.
A spank does not leave a mark or inflict lasting pain on a child. A parent who attempts to spank while feeling out of control is more likely to actually hurt the child--that is hitting. Yelling and intimidating while spanking also makes the child fearful and is a form of emotional abuse.
When parents who do not spank hear about those who do, they usually do not realize what it really looks like. I have read all the books on gentle parenting and all the books that promote physical discipline. Ultimately, spanking does not fit into my personal parenting philosophy. For some moms, it does, and I believe that they can exercise their freedom of choice just as I have. I also trust that each mom knows what is right for her own family.
PREVIOUSLY: How Do I Discipline My Toddler?