To spank or not to spank? How are you leading your child?

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Photo: Crayolarabbit (Flickr)

(Excerpt from 2012 Winter Banana Moments quarterly periodical)

In a recent Time Magazine article, Why spanking doesn’t work, by journalist Bonnie Rochman, the topic of spanking surfaces once again questioning its effectiveness.

The article encourages parents to offer intelligent reactions to their child’s misdeeds because physical aggression only begets more physical aggression. An example offered is a toddler who drops her dad’s toothbrush into the toilet. Explain why it is not a good thing to do, and asking the child to think about how her Dad would feel about putting it in his mouth afterwards is a good way to handle it.

What appeals to me about the message of this article is that it encourages us to have confidence in the power of our child’s mind and to promote emotional intelligence.

But this doesn’t mean that spanking is always ineffective.

The bigger question is: how are you leading your child?

If spanking is our way of communicating anger, frustration or fear about our child’s conduct, or about a situation we want to control then we are teaching the wrong lesson.

When our children are given a birth to adjust their thinking and conduct, and then stand corrected; when we exude confidence in their ability to understand why certain behavior is not good for self and others, then it is possible to truly instill discipline.

The word “discipline” is a noun derived from the Latin word “disciplina”, teaching or learning. In Webster’s Dictionary the first definition is “punishment” . The remaining definitions pertain to instruction, self control and a system of rules governing conduct.

Today more than ever our children need this “discipline”or self-control. This moral compass serves as  an internal guidance system, and is the basis for personal security in a cyber-powered world that seeks to manipulate and exploit the individual.

For more information about how to bond with your child around cyber-safe discipline, go to: A Parents’ Guide to Cyber Citizenship






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About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna ( and her husband have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture). Her honors thesis was awarded the Kroeber Prize and funding from National Science Foundation grant. Joanna writes to help parents with the modern-day leadership challenges of raising children. She is a contributing writer for The Granite Bay View, the Press Tribune, the Sacramento Examiner, and editor of Banana Moments.