"I was spanked, and I turned out 'just fine.'"

Did you ever hear that at a family picnic? Or, did you ever see that line of reasoning in your social media experience? I certainly have. Here's one response, and you can feel free to share this post, if you'd like. 

It is true that hitting children can be an effective way of coercing them and influencing their behavior--there's no doubt about that. There are lots of ways to accomplish something. Like, if I want to wash the dishes, I could hook up a garden hose and set them up on the lawn and hose them off. That would work, but that's not the best way, is it? If I want to paint the walls in my living room, I could use a brush, and that would work, but it's not the best way...it'd be better to use a roller.

Spanking children, yelling at them, threatening them, lecturing them, shaming them, bribing them and otherwise coercing them will sometimes do the job of getting them to behave the way we want them to, but it's not the BEST way. And, there's a major cost to it: coercion breaks connection and leads to poor cooperation. It also models bullying.

Kids use their behavior to communicate their needs, and when they get punished for their behavior, they STILL have those needs, and so they must resort to lying and other things to meet their needs. That erodes the relationship even more and leads to kids who feel bad about themselves.

It would be more effective for me to listen for the needs and the feelings behind the actions. In so doing, I help the child meet the needs the behavior is trying to communicate, I build connection (which increases the likelihood of cooperation), and I model an effective approach to relationships.

If I use a paint brush rather than a roller to paint my walls, my walls will have been painted, but may not look as good as they would if I had used the right tool for the job.

Children are resilient and they will do as well as they can, even under lousy circumstances. Ultimately, we hope we are going for more than "just fine" for our kids.

To learn more about making peaceful parenting choices, you could get in on one of the Making the Switch to Peaceful Parenting teleclasses that are being often offered. It doesn't matter where you live (in fact, there are local call-in numbers for more than 55 countries!).  Visit theUpcoming Events page to find a class that is starting soon at a time that works for your schedule.

And, if you have a question you'd like to ask the Peaceful Parent Whisperer, click on this link to go to the Ask a Question Form

Be well and be kind,