Does spanking my child affects him when he grows up?

My 5 year old boy, Jones, has been testing my patience over and over again. I used to think that spanking my child should not even be in my mind at all. I remember the little face when i first held him in my arms and ‘vowed’ never to lay a hand on him. Guess this is one ‘vow’ that i could not keep.

Jones is pushing me to my limits now. He would look at me when i say no and attempts to do that very one thing that i just said no too (seemingly trying to see whats my reaction would be). I just came back from a parenting seminar very recently and was adviced by many parents that spanking is a “neccessary evil” – not that i believe that its evil but to a certain extent, i kinda disagree to this thought initially. However, I am not so sure about that now.

I just used the stick yesterday! He was playing with his drinking cup and spilling water all over. It shocked me at first to know that i just did it. But after a while, it doesn’t feels too bad.

Does spanking have any negative effect on a child when he grows up? Things like hating their parents, being scared of authoritative figures, lack of self esteem or anything that may affect their development?

Mary Jon

Comments for
Does spanking my child affects him when he grows up?

Feb 14, 2008 Instead of spanking…
by: Gary

Frustrated parents of young children are yelling and spanking because they do not know other ways to get their children to mind their words. Research shows however, that yelling and spanking often creates new problems. Children who are continually shouted at or spanked tend to be more aggressive in the playground, have less developed problem-solving skills and lower self-esteem.

However, when parents use other skills for gaining compliance and co-operation, children tend to be better adjusted, play more co-operatively and respond to their parents’ words.

Here’s how it works:

Imagine there are two dogs inside of you – one good and the other bad. Now imagine they are fighting constantly. Which one will win the fight? The one you feed! Why, because you are strengthening it.

Children’s behaviour works the same way. Feed the negative and you will increase this behaviour. Feed the positive and you will see more positive behaviour. And the food of behaviour is your attention.

Unfortunately however, many parents focus on catching children when they are misbehaving. They feed the wrong dog. They yell stop this and stop that! This has to change. The main focus must not be on catching misbehaviour. The focus must be on catching children doing things right.

We cannot assume that children will automatically know what to do, when we tell them what not to do. Tell your child directly what you expect and follow it up with feedback when they do it. Feedback is how you give attention to feed behaviour.

For feedback, all you have to do is mention the very behaviour the child is doing. You are playing quietly… You ate your broccoli… You shared your toy. If you forget to mention it as the behaviour is occurring, mention it later, like at bedtime. You put the crayons away this afternoon, all by yourself!

The key is not to withhold feedback, but to provide it for appropriate behaviour. Whenever you see your child doing something you would like to see repeated, provide feedback.

Remember: Catch a kid doing good… and tell them! You’ll both be glad you did.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
(905) 628-4847

Gary Direnfeld is a child-behaviour expert, a social worker, and the author of Raising Kids Without Raising Cane. Gary not only helps people get along or feel better about themselves, but also enjoys an extensive career in public speaking. He provides insight on issues ranging from child behaviour management and development; to family life; to socially responsible business development. Courts in Ontario, Canada consider Gary an expert on matters pertaining to child development, custody and access, family/marital therapy and social work.

Dec 03, 2007 Spanking hurts in more ways than one.
by: Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

When parents spank as a means of discipline, it usually comes at the end of an escalation of behaviour, at the point when the parent is finally fed up. As it is administered, it gives at least two messages to the child.

The first message is to stop the misbehaviour. The second message is that hitting or violence is permissible when frustrated with someone else.

Apart from the messages spanking delivers, the receiver of the spanking, the child, usually feels angry and resentful for having received the spank. In view of the resentment, children seek retaliation. The retaliation may not be immediate or direct. It may occur at a later time and through another misdeed. Hence while the parent thought that the spanking ended a behaviour, in fact, it creates others.

TO manage children’s behaviour more effectively, parents must intervene earlier in the chain of escalating behaviours. When a parent intervenes earlier, simple redirection may be enough to address the issues of concern. If redirection is not enough, parents can remove a favourite toy or object for a few minutes, or alternately have the child sit out for a few minutes until calm.

Parents must remember that these kinds of consequences must be brief and immediate and consistent and never harsher and harsher.

If a parent is truly losing his or her cool, rather than spanking or shouting at the child, the parent should take a breather to return when calm even if this means a delay in the consequence to the child. It is better NOT to act in anger and frustration, than to be harsh or abusive in one’s discipline.

If a parent is having any difficulty what-so-ever with these management techniques, they are advised to print out and take to a counsellor for discussion. In the end, reasonable effective parenting is what your son or daughter needs most. So don’t be afraid yourself to seek guidance if you are struggling. You would always tell your child to ask the teacher when they need help, so it is reasonable to model this behaviour too!

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW