This article on corporal punishment and spanking as a form of discipline was written by Sandra Doyle for Jozikids .
Spanking … Is it just lazy parenting?
The recent changes in South African legislation on corporal punishment reignited the debate on spanking children as a form of discipline. Unfortunately, the predominant thinking amongst most South African parents is that it’s a no-brainer: of course you should.
As a matter of fact, there have been numerous studies published in peer reviewed journals on the fact that there are literally no good outcomes from spanking (Elizabeth T. Gershoff, 2016). But scientific evidence is unlikely to convince most pro-spanking parents that spanking children is a futile exercise in discipline.
I often say that spanking is lazy parenting, and the reason why I say this is often obscured in the barrage of ‘I was spanked and I’m fine’ or ‘The Bible tells me to spank my child’. The pro-spanking group often erroneously believes that non-spanking parents just ‘tell their children not to do something’. It’s not that simple. And this is where the hard work comes in.
For smaller children I’ve often used the principles set out in 1-2-3 Magic Parenting, along with those taught by a local child psychologist.
STEP 1: You need to stop the transgression immediately, and confront the child in an age-appropriate way about their actions. They know, more often than not, that what they’re doing is wrong. That’s step 1.
STEP 2 is asking them to choose an option: the right action and a positive consequence, or the wrong action and a negative consequence. And this step, right here, is really hard work. My biggest challenge at every age, was figuring out our child’s ‘currency’; the thing that makes them tick. At one stage it was our son’s action figures, at another, our daughter’s dress-up clothes. Then it became Lego, and then it became screen time. It changes, frequently and sometimes drastically.