I am writing this blog post for any open-minded Millennial parents who want a new perspective on how to discipline their children, without using physical force. This is not designed to change the minds of anyone who defends spanking; nor do I judge parents who believe in spanking- if I did, I’d be judging 80% of American parents!
After all, I’m the strange one when it comes to child discipline: I represent the 20%, the minority, of American parents in that I don’t spank my children.
“Well I was spanked as a child and I turned out alright-
I’ve never killed anyone and I’ve never been to prison.”
That, by the way, is the cliché line you’ll typically hear from other parents who spank their children. But “not being a murderer” and “never spent time in prison” are not good selling point in defense of spanking a child.
In fact, that concept only reinforces that spanking is counterproductive, or ineffective, at best:
Look at the people who actually end up in prison and who actually are murderers. While spanking a child doesn’t mean they’ll end up in prison or murder someone, documented research shows that “spanked children are more likely to break the law.”
But beyond that, I say this isn’t even a question of, “Well then how do I discipline my child without spanking them?”
No, that’s the wrong thing to be asking.
The right question is this: “How can I proactively prevent my child from misbehaving to begin with, or at least care for their actual needs instead of physically striking them when they do misbehave?”
I am basing my logic from Albert Einstein, who said this:
“Intellectuals solve problems. Geniuses prevent them.”
You’re the parent. Your job is to provide for your child’s needs, not hit them because they have those needs in the first place.
Here’s a reminder that you, the adult, are more much emotionally intelligent than your child, who is not necessarily capable or likely to communicate what is wrong. Instead, they “act out” to get attention from you, as the emotionally intelligent adult, to figure out which of the following issues they need you to solve.
I see the word “misbehave” as the wrong word anyway. Instead, the child is sending the parent a “warning signal” that they need the parent’s help.
It’s this simple. As the parent, your job is to constantly ask yourself this question:
“Is my child tired, hungry, bored, lonely, or sick?”
If the answer is yes to any of those 5 things, then here’s what you do:
You facilitate your child taking a nap, you feed your child, you help your child find a constructive activity to do, you pay them attention, or you provide medical assistance.
Imagine an adult hitting a child’s butt because that child is too emotionally unintelligent to verbally communicate with the parent that they are tired, hungry, bored, lonely, or sick.
Now compare that to my solution.
My son was the first child to be chosen by his Kindergarten teacher this year to as the “Student of the Month” in his class, as his teacher saw that he is not only well-behaved, but also well-balanced and involved in class. He’s also in the Advanced Reader group.
Additionally, at his “before care” school, both his teacher and the director have individually approached me to tell me the same thing:
“I have watched your son day after day. He is the most polite and helpful boy here. Whatever you’re doing as a parent, just know… it’s working.”
Only 20% of American parents don’t spank their children. And I am one of them.