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Saturday, February 2, 2013

No more beating

Since Aiden started school, we have heard of incidents of him beating and kicking. I started reflecting if it was my own doing as I occasionally spank him when he misbehaves.

I never thought thrice about beating. Everytime he does something really naughty, like spilling water from a cup on purpose, jumping on the bed despite warnings - I have the urge to discipline him through beating. This is after I tried to explain to him the consequence and not to repeat the act. If he doesn't listen once, I will try explaining to him again and when he repeats the act, I will ask for his hands or spank his thigh/ butt. I made sure I told him why I am doing this. I regret it almost everytime I do so.

So I looked online on why hitting your child is bad, and how to stop your child from hitting. These top 5 reasons against hitting, is sufficient to make me swear off beating him ever again.

Reason 1: Your child models your action
A very classic story about a mum who believed that spanking is a necessary part of disciplining her child. One day, she observed her 3 year old hitting her 1 year old son. When confronted, her daughter told her 'I was just playing mummy.' That's really shocking and this mum never spanked another child. As children love to imitate especially people they love, they perceive that it is okay for them to do whatever you do. After 2 weeks of attending school, Aiden expressed great resentment towards school, and us. It was really hurting. He chased us out of my parent's place and started to hit us as well.

Reason 2: Hitting solves all problems
Spanking demonstrates that it is alright for people to hit people, especially for bigger people to hit smaller people and for stronger people to hit weaker people. Children learn that they can solve problems through beating. I feel that Aiden's beating could be due to a lack of words as he is unable to communicate what he wants. Hopefully he will be encouraged to speak more.

Reason 3:  Hit-hug ratio
Most people think that 'But so many of us are brought up this way (through spanking)', 'I don't spank my child that much or hard, most of the time I shower him with love. The occasional spank on the butt will not bother him.' It's frightening to learn that this rationalization does not hold true for all children. Despite us thinking that our hit-hug ratio is 1:100, there's still risk of your child remembering that 1 hit than all the 100 hugs you gave him - especially when the hit was delivered in anger or unjustly which is most often the case. This is so true, it scares me.

Reason 4: Hand slapping = delayed exploratory development
It is indeed tempting to slap those little hands. I have often asked Aiden for his hands to slap when he repeatedly committed naughty acts. I read that children's hands are tools for exploring, an extension of their curiosity. Slapping them sends a powerful negative message. Research by psychologists showed that children who were punished with a slap on the hand when they did something forbidden, were found less skilled at exploring their environment. So it is definitely better to separate the child from the forbidden object or supervise his exploration and leave little hands unhurt.

Reason 5: Hitting brings back bad memories
It is amazing how unpleasant memories from your childhood can block out all the positive loving memories and this is one big reason I am swearing off beating.

There's so much more reasons against hitting and hundreds of studies all come to the same conclusions:
1. The more physical punishment a child receives, the more aggressive he or she will become & he/she will be abusive towards their own children.

2.  Spanking plants seeds for violent behavior later in life.

3. Spanking doesn't work. 

It is quite a realization for me. Understanding how spanking doesn't work and only serves to create distance between the child and parent and contributes to a violent society. I will learn to be more patient and try to talk to Aiden calmly when he pulls his next stunt. In the long run, I believe this will contribute to him being more well behaved & a home with less violence and hatred.
So breathe in, stay calm and smile!

Aiden's many funny expressions after school (23 months)


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