Tuesday 11 December 2018

Comment: Spanking children is a glaring example of lazy parenting

In 2015, an outright ban on slapping children was introduced in Ireland. Stock photo
In 2015, an outright ban on slapping children was introduced in Ireland. Stock photo

Adrian Kennedy

Last week, during an interview on US radio, singer Kelly Clarkson admitted that she's "not above spanking" if her children - aged one and three - misbehave.

She said she was spanked as a child and believed she had turned out to be "well-rounded".

This really irked me. Slapping children is wrong. I believe it is completely unnecessary, and is a glaring example of lazy parenting.

Rather than deal with the problem, some parents think that throwing the odd slap will sort their kids out.

Child discipline is an issue that's both delicate and problematic to explore because much of how we feel about it is based on our own formative experience.

Saying that, I can't believe that in today's day and age parents still think they have to use a physical form of punishment when their children are being bold.

I have two kids, and when they were young I never lifted a hand to either of them. There are other, better ways to chastise children.

Why am I against slapping children?

First, I believe it's normalising violence and teaching children that it's OK to be violent when you aren't happy about something or with someone.

It's also too easy for a frustrated parent to cross the line from spanking to abusing.

Second, I don't believe that inflicting pain on children is fair - it's cruel and vicious.

Adults are a lot bigger and stronger than children, so why do some people feel it's perfectly OK to get physical with them?

Spanking can not only cause physical damage, it can damage children's self-esteem. It can put an emotional wedge between a parent and a child.

Children depend on their parents to care for them.

They trust their authority - surely authority based on fear would make children lose respect for their parents?

As I said above, I believe it's downright lazy parenting.

Thankfully, in 2015 new measures that effectively amounted to an outright ban on slapping children were introduced here. I was delighted to see these changes being made.

I'm not the perfect parent (there's no such thing), but I know there are many parents in Ireland who still spank their children, despite it being outlawed.

If you're someone who spanks your child, please take time to consider the damage you may be doing.

There are far more effective forms of punishment.

Parents need to be firm and take control, but they don't need to raise their hand to their children.

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