It's no wonder that parental corporal punishment has been outlawed in 26 countries since 1979. Because people who hit children don't have very good justifications for doing so. Here are what I think are the three most popular ones, followed by my responses:
Reason #1: It's the best way to discipline a child.
Response: It's simply not. Check out this awesome article, if you don't believe me. Here is a quote:
Researcher Elizabeth Gershoff, Ph.D., in a 2002 meta-analytic study that combined 60 years of research on corporal punishment, found that the only positive outcome of corporal punishment was immediate compliance; however, corporal punishment was associated with less long-term compliance. Corporal punishment was linked with nine other negative outcomes, including increased rates of aggression, delinquency, mental health problems, problems in relationships with their parents, and likelihood of being physically abused.Reason #2: God told me to do it.
Response: If you are looking for a reason to hit your child (call it spanking if you want, it's still hitting), then you can probably find something in the Bible that you can interpret as permission to do so. I doubt I will change your mind.
But, for those of you who are uncomfortable with the idea of hitting your child, rest assured that you can find the opposite in the Bible as well. In my seventeen years attending Catholic schools, I read a good bit from the Bible. And I found out that Jesus was a kind and compassionate man. I imagine he would be horrified by anyone hitting a child. But maybe that's just me. And Jen. And 180 people in this Facebook group. And the 3000 people who like this page. Ok, so it's definitely not just me.
Reason #3: My parents did it to me, and I survived.
Response: I have already shared why I think this is a terrible justification of anything. Yes, lots of people get spanked, and most of them live to tell about it. But some people survive other really terrible things, like being shot or run over by a car. That doesn't make those things OK either. Let's aim higher than survival.
The wikipedia article on Corporal Punishment says:
This article is about punishment involving pain, not designed to cause injury.I imagine inflicting pain without injury is like throwing water on someone without getting him wet. As in, it's not possible. If you are hitting your child, you are hurting your child. If you don't like hurting your child, you can stop.
You don't have to be ashamed if you have been hitting your child. Just stop.
Need more help? Here is a list of a bunch of links about corporal punishment, and why it is unnecessary, ineffective, and harmful to the child and the parent-child relationship.