One of the most common questions parents of young kids ask me is, “Do you  recommend spanking?”  

Depending on the group, they believe I will be a solid, “Absolutely.” Or a definite, “Never in a million years.” 

Instead I answer with total conviction,”It depends.”

Okay, let me explain.

Here are five qualifiers:

1. If you have anger issues…..don’t spank.

2. If you were brought up in an abusive home….don’t spank.

3. If your child is five-years-old or older….don’t spank. (See alternatives in upcoming blogs)

4. When you are angry…don’t spank.

5. And if your child challenges you and states,”That didn’t hurt” your spankin’ days are done. (This has the potential to escalate an already difficult moment. )

Here are four things to make spanking effective:

1. If both parents agree that spanking is a technique they would like to utilize.

2. When it is a predetermined response to a specific action. For example, some parents spank for “disrespectful attitudes” and some spank for “unsafe behavior”.

3. Your child is two to four-years-old.

4. If you are in-control, not emotional.

And here is the “proper” way to administer a spanking:

1. Do this in private. Spanking is a humiliating action. So be respectful of your child when delivering this consequence.

2. Provide a statement first, “We spank for safety. You ran out into the street without holding my hand.”

3. Get it over with quickly.

4. Follow-up with a loving hug.

5. State how the child can behave differently the next time,“We hold hands when we cross the street.”

Try to remember the behavior you want. Focus on training the child for that behavior. Even if you use spanking, talk about the preferred and alternative behavior to replace the undesirable one at the conclusion of  “The Spank”.

Train a child in the way he should go.
Proverbs 22:6

© LoriWildenberg. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.

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