Brett Berk
author, "The Gay Uncle's Guide to Parenting" | 2008-09-23 15:41:54

Many moms declare that they say NO to spanking. But really - is that what they are thinking?? In the confessional on TMC we know better. A pretty large group of mamas anonymously confess to giving a good ol' fashioned smack on the bottom now and then. Here's what our TMC resident parenting guru Brett Berk says about that.

TMC: #256,120

If I spank my kids it's because they derserved it and a behavior needed correction. I do not feel bad about it.I don't understand parents who do. I think more people need to spank their kids. They don't need a friend - they need a parent!

Brett says:

I think spanking is perfectly fine...between two consenting adults. But while I agree with the adage that being your child's parent is more important than being their friend, I'm totally opposed to moms and dads hitting their kids--and not only because I prefer a fair fight. Here's why:

1. The goal of discipline is to help your child find their own emotional center, to discover how to exert self-control and figure out how to get themselves back on track when a situation, problem, or conflict derails them. Spanking does nothing to help this!

2. Spanking a kid exerts this influence solely from the outside (e.g. your hand on their body) so kids who are spanked regularly are always looking for this control to be placed on them externally instead of learning to self-regulate. I could always tell which kids in my pre-school class were spanked at home; when problems arose, they would get more and more wound up, waiting for the hammer to drop.

3. In addition, spanking counteracts one of the core objectives of quality discipline: instead of showing your kids how to get in control it shows you totally losing control. This isn't the best message to be delivering, and is counteractive to much of the other information we give kids around conflict resolution (e.g. use your words, take a deep breath).

We all lose it on occasion, so I'm forgiving if you hit your kids a few times during their life--especially if they've done something really bad (e.g. stealing the car, hogging the Wii, using your vintage Madonna CD's in a game of ring-toss). But I don't think it belongs in the arsenal of standard parental practices any more than I believe "tactical nuclear weapons" have a place in our war chest.

Brett Berk is the author of The Gay Uncle's Guide to Parenting. Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the confessional!

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