On Your Mind: Do you spank?

By Allie Hennis, Director of Therapeutic Foster Care, Ozark Guidance

What’s the big deal about spanking anyway?

We tend to say to ourselves, “Well, I was spanked and I turned out okay didn’t I?”  However, have you ever stopped to think about what you may have learned from spankings? While you may have learned not to do that certain behavior that precipitated your spanking, I’ll bet you learned other things you were not aware of.

Spanking can have hidden messages. Physical punishment can teach children that the use of force is a way to solve problems and conflicts. Children also learn that it is okay to use force if you are bigger; therefore, sending the message that it is okay to hit smaller children or use violence to get what you want. The truth of the matter is that research in child development indicates that spanking is rarely effective in stopping behavior over long periods of time.

So here are some suggestions for effective discipline and to help children to feel good about themselves:

  • Teach positive behaviors through your behaviors-children watch us more than they listen to us,
  • Provide positive consequences for behaviors you want your child to continue,
  • Use nonviolent methods to modify your child’s behavior such as time-out or withholding a reward, and
  • Most importantly, allow time for a positive and trusting relationship to develop with your child.

Remember that the word discipline means to teach.  By nature, children want to please adults; we just have to teach them how. Happy parenting!

For more information about mental health and wellness log onto the Ozark Guidance web site at www.ozarkguidance.org or call 750-2020.  If you would like a Mental Wellness Awareness lapel pin, call 695-1240 and ask to speak with Staci or Jane.