It seems everyone has a different style when it comes to disciplining their children. Experts, Parents, Non-Parents, Grandparents, even Governments see it as their duty to educate others on their ways outlining various reasons why their approach if the best or only way to teach children a lesson, sometimes for their own safety. So where do you stand on the issue? Is it ok to discipline your child physically? Are there better, more effective ways to teach right from wrong? How do you feel when others suggest alternative or preferred methods for dealing with naughty or inappropriate behaviour?
My partner and I are fairly aligned on most things but when it comes to disciplining our son, a few differences have arisen. Here's how we each see it.
She said: There is never a need for a physical response to address a situation of children's behaviour, well ever actually. As a woman, we are not accustomed to leveraging our physicality to problem solve or fight our battles, for the most part, we're likely to come away with a sub optimal outcome if we do. So we learn to develop and rely on alternative ways to resolve such challenges, mostly through the use of persuasive language. In the case of teaching children the expected behaviours, I prefer to explain the situation calmly, take the child away from the situation of incident, crouch down to his level so we are talking eye to eye and let him know I am serious through my words and facial expressions. Children all develop reasoning and logic at different times and have varying levels of capability when it comes to understanding cause and effect. To this end, they may not always understand what you are saying or what it means but they are likely that what they did was not acceptable and shouldn't be repeated.
He said: I grew up with physical discipline. I'm not one of those who got the strap and said it was good for him, I think a grown adult hitting a child is always wrong. However, we have a will-full three year old who won't "STOP" on command. This is increasingly dangerous as he gets quicker. I'm confident I can catch him but I worry about what might happen with my mother-in-law for example. I'm not sure who would win in a foot race between those two and with a three metre head start, my money is on the toddler. We've done the getting angry and talking about it routine at least a dozen times, it's not changing anything. So, for me it's becoming a safety issue. I don't know that a sharp smack across the back of the legs wouldn't induce a reflex that would stop the behaviour next time. I tried it once, it was nowhere near hard enough and he didn't even notice. Yet, I feel sick if I think about what I did. We live in a world with too much violence and I don't like that my instinctive reaction to confrontation is physical.
Have we gone soft? What are your experiences with smacking children? Does it make a difference, should it be banned?