as lovable, confident and worthy, but as undeserving and
inadequate. This sets hem up to become the "neighborhood bully
who terrorized smaller children" Riak writes. These children
learn to believe that might makes right and that it OK to use
violence to solve their problems.
Children who are spanked - or even threatened with spanking -
become rebellious, revengeful and resentful toward their
parents. They do not become more trustworthy and responsible,
with an inner control of their behavior, after receiving a
spanking. In my classes, many parents can remember being
punished, but rarely remember why they were treated punitively.
Spanking children fails to teach them how to be responsible and
to behave properly, acceptably and appropriately.
One of the most damaging effects of spanking is to block
communication between the parent and child. The spanked child is
resistant to hearing what the parent wants to say and is not
open to sharing his feelings or problems with the parent. The
spanking creates a relationship filled with fear, anger and
avoidance, rather than honest, emotional closeness, sharing and
Dr. Katherine Kersey writes that spanking sends a confusing
message to children -- that love involves hitting, hurting and
making up, an idea that is believed by wife beaters and their
victims. Finally, there is the very real danger that the
spanking could escalate into child abuse.
Many parents wonder, "If I don't punish her for being bad,
how will she ever learn to be good?" Parents need to let go of
the idea of controlling their children. They can control the
situation and use consequences instead of punishment. Instead of
being punitive, parents need to adopt an attitude of decent,
respectful, nonviolent educational discipline toward their
Parents can become inspiring, guiding, leading, encouragers
of their children to help them learn how to behave properly in
different situations. This begins with the parent and is
something all parents can learn to do for the sake of our
children in our own city, across America and ultimately making a
difference throughout the world.