The use of physical punishment, such as spanking, as a means of disciplining children is a controversial topic. Some experts believe that it can be an effective form of discipline when used appropriately. Others argue that it can be detrimental to a child’s physical and emotional well-being.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to use physical punishment is a personal one based on your own beliefs, values, and parenting style. However, it is important to be aware of the potential risks. There are also alternative forms of discipline, such as positive reinforcement and setting clear boundaries and consequences.
We speak with 3 mothers on how they approach discipline with their children and their views on spanking.
“When I was growing up, caning was part and parcel of life.” says 42-year-old Janice (not her real name) who has two teenage children. “That’s how my generation was brought up, so I have always thought that is how I should bring up my children as well.”
When her kids were younger, Janice used the cane whenever they misbehaved. “It was effective because they remember how painful it is, so they don’t make the same mistakes again.” she added. The offences range from refusing to complete their homework, to fighting with one another. But now that they are in their teens, she doesn’t use physical punishment anymore. “Taking away their devices or Wifi access gets an instant response, and it works every single time.”
Unlike Janice, Hsiao-lyn takes a more nuanced approach towards discipline. The mother of a primary school kid believes in adjusting the punishment to how serious the mistake is. She also believes in letting her child experience the consequences of their actions.
“When my daughter takes too long to eat her meals, I just put the food aside when time is up and let her move on to the next activity like showering or homework. When she’s hungry, she will come out and look for food herself. Maybe she wasn’t hungry then, or the food is not to her liking. But forcing her to eat will end up in a power play. If I lose, next time it will be a harder battle to fight.” says Hsiao-lyn.
However, for serious mistakes like lying, Hsiao-lyn does not hesitate to cane. But before she actually administers the punishment, she makes sure to explain why it is wrong to lie. This is so that her child understands the severity of the action.
Farzanah takes a far more gentle approach with dealing with her 4 children. The mother of 2 preschool and 2 primary school kids opted for the positive reinforcement route, as well as to talk things out.
“I was caned as a child and I didn’t like it at all. So I told myself I won’t do it to my children.” Farzanah said. “When the younger ones misbehave, like snatching toys, I will put them in time out until they are ready to play together again. The older ones, I will talk to them and help them understand what is the expected behaviour. Then I reward them when they do well. It might be more screen time or an ice cream, but it’s better than caning them and leaving marks.”
What do you think? Is it ok to spank your children or better to talk them through? Let us know in the comments below!
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for ways to bond with your children, check out these neat ideas here!