I realize that not too many people who follow me are ones who spank their children, but even if I’m just preaching to the choir, I still need to preach.
After reading all the news about the recent (and history of) police brutality, I have to speak from a parenting point of view.
Do not spank your children.
What does this have to do with people in a position of power harming other people?
I write about discipline all the time and mostly my stance is on finding a balance between setting limits and positive parenting. It is a confusing topic and parenting is tough, so there is a lot to say about it. I rarely talk about the exertion of control over your children although it actually is a key part in understanding discipline and teaching positive skills to your children. So when you look at the continuum of parenting styles, you’ll see authoritarian on one side, permissive on the other and unconditional or positive parenting somewhere in the middle. But what separates one style from another is the amount of control, or the amount of power:
Authoritarian parents tend to run on the idea that having complete control over your children helps their behavior. Parents make the rule and parents enforce the rule. And what is the most popular way to enforce rules? Spanking.
Most people can agree that this style of parenting stops undesirable behavior mostly in its tracks. It might make a child upset or cry, but hey, parents can stop that behavior too with enough force.
The underlying, indisputable, persistent message to children with authoritarian parenting and spanking is:
It is never OK to hit, unless you are in a position of power or authority.
So with authoritarian parenting, children learn what is OK and what is not OK from a parent’s point of view. This sounds like a good thing which is why so many parents choose to be authoritarian. But they learn other lessons too, that might not be as desirable. They learn that you can control other people who don’t have as much power through force. They also learn that this kind of violence is somehow OK.
I am not a scientist, and I’ve only thought for about 5 minutes of actually getting a PhD, but if I were to do a dissertation, it would be on how many people who are in position of power and have abused that power were spanked as a child.
I don’t know how accurate the data would be since I was spanked as a child and I don’t go around asserting myself through force, but I do think that there is a relationship there.
So instead of requesting obedience through complete control and hitting your child, you can send them another message of working together to solve problems by giving the children some control. Some food for thought…