If you're trying to conceive, pregnant or parenting a baby, you're obviously not in a position to spank your...
If you're trying to conceive, pregnant or parenting a baby, you're obviously not in a position to spank your child. However, spanking is something you might want to begin thinking about now. Discussing it can bring about many emotions and strong opinions, but it's important for you to think through your feelings on the issue and even more important for you to discuss them with your partner or spouse, if you have one, well before you reach a point where your child is old enough to require discipline. Unlike other parenting plans, such as co-sleeping or breastfeeding, that can be adapted to your needs as you plug through the parenting learning curve, the decision to spank -- or hopefully not -- shouldn't really be "flexible." I don't believe in spanking. I recently wrote an article on the issue that gave me more of an opportunity to explore the reasons that spanking isn't a good discipline tool. Until then, I simply felt as though physically punishing a child to force him to act in a way I wanted was a poor way to alter behavior. It just seemed obvious to me. However, interviewing a few experts and reading more made it even more clear my husband and I don't -- and won't -- spank our kids. The following, Ten Reasons Why You Should Not Spank Your Child, was taken from Superbaby: 12 Ways to Give Your Child a Head Start in the First 3 Years, written by Dr. Jenn Berman:
1. Spanking children teaches them that it's okay to hit and that hitting is an acceptable means of resolving conflict 2. Spanking has been shown to be harmful for cognitive development 3. Experiencing pain does not teach children to develop a conscience 4. Spanking does not teach children to respect parents, but only to fear them 5. Spanking harms children's self-esteem 6. Spanking teaches children that it is okay to hit the people they love 7. Spanking is associated with aggression and antisocial behavior 8. Children who are spanked are more anxious and fearful 9. Spanking makes it more likely that children will participate in unprotected and risky sex as an adult 10. Spanking is more likely to lead to abuse by the parent.
Dr. Berman further explains each of these points in her book, often citing specific studies, but even without additional explanation, these points are very clear. I had never heard of the ninth point -- that spanking increases the likelihood that a child will participate in risky sex as an adult -- or the last -- that spanking is more likely to lead to abuse by the parent. Interesting facts. But even without those, every other one just makes sense to me. Again, I really feel this is something that all expecting and new parents should think about and discuss well before they're ever in a position to discipline their child. It's amazing what reactions you'll experience when your sweet little one intentionally find his way into some serious mischief. I've never believed in spanking. When my son hit a "spanking age" (if there even is such a thing), I thought, "I could NEVER do that!" I still feel that way. When my daughter hit that age (or even earlier), I thought, "Okay, so I completely and totally see how it happens..." This is not to say that I spank one child and not the other. I don't. It's to say that a child's temperment, personality and behavior, combined with your own, can push you to your limits. It's wise to have an understanding of how you feel and what you plan to do well before you reach that point. A friend of mine recently commented to me, "Spanking is so 1950's." I have to agree. But I also know that even if the concept is 1950's, the action still occurs today. How do you feel about spanking? Is it discipline method you plan to use? All opinions are welcome.

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