Five Reasons Not to Hit Your Kids
Do you hit your children? Priyanka offers 5 reasons you should refrain from corporal punishment.
- Hitting children teaches them to become hitters themselves.
Virtually all of the most dangerous criminals were regularly threatened and punished in childhood. It is nature's plan that children learn attitudes and behaviors through observation and imitation of their parents' actions, for good or ill. Thus it is the responsibility of parents to set an example of empathy and wisdom.
- In many cases of so-called "bad behavior", the child is simply responding in the only way he can, given his age and experience, to neglect of basic needs. Among these needs are: proper sleep and nutrition, treatment of hidden allergy, fresh air, exercise, and sufficient freedom to explore the world around him. But his greatest need is for his parents' undivided attention. In these busy times, few children receive sufficient time and attention from their parents, who are often too distracted by their own problems and worries to treat their children with patience and empathy. It is surely wrong and unfair to punish a child for responding in a natural way to having important needs neglected. For this reason, punishment is not only ineffective in the long run, it is also clearly unjust.
- Punishment distracts the child from learning how to resolve conflict in an effective and humane way. "When we make a child afraid, we stop learning dead in its tracks." A punished child becomes preoccupied with feelings of anger and fantasies of revenge, and is thus deprived of the opportunity to learn more effective methods of solving the problem at hand. Thus, a punished child learns little about how to handle or prevent similar situations in the future.
- "Spare the rod and spoil the child". While the "rod" is mentioned many times in the Bible, it is only in the Book of Proverbs that this word is used in connection with parenting. The book of Proverbs is attributed to Solomon, an extremely cruel man whose harsh methods of discipline led his own son, Rehoboam, to become a tyrannical and oppressive dictator who only narrowly escaped being stoned to death for his cruelty. In the Bible there is no support for harsh discipline outside of Solomonís Proverbs. By contrast, the writings in the Gospels, the most important books in the Bible for Christians, contain the teachings of Jesus Christ, who urged mercy, forgiveness, humility, and non-violence. Jesus saw children as being close to God, and urged love, never punishment.
- Punishment interferes with the bond between parent and child, as it is not human nature to feel loving toward someone who hurts us. The true spirit of cooperation which every parent desires can arise only through a strong bond based on mutual feelings of love and respect. Punishment, even when it appears to work, can produce only superficially good behavior based on fear, which can only take place until the child is old enough to resist. In contrast, cooperation based on respect will last permanently, bringing many years of mutual happiness as the child and parent grow older.
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