“We were all smacked as kids and we turned out alright.”
We have been delivering workshops to parents, carers and nannies for the past 3 years now and it was only recently that one of the Dads in the audience, who had obviously been dragged there with his wife, asked us this question (above).
What a loaded question and even though I know it is so wrong, I didn’t have a quick and easy response up my sleeve to answer in a way that was clear and confident. So I have taken it on board to rectify this issue.
I started by looking up the statistics and I was quite saddened to come across the fact that 70% of Australian parents think it is ok to smack. The words from these parents are:
I only smack my child when I need to teach them a lesson.
It’s the way we discipline in our house.
It worked on me when I was a kid.
What these parents do not understand is that they are in fact teaching their child that when faced with a problem, smack the person to achieve results and that physical abuse is ok.
One of our Back On Track workshops is based upon providing positive behaviour management skills that are ‘tried and tested’ and 100% work, as we are teachers and use them every day to maximise the best possible outcome for the children in our care. It is a 90-minute presentation and I could not answer this man with a response fast enough. I am now armed and pre prepared for this to come my way again and this is what I will be saying:-
Smacking works in the short term to stop an undesirable behaviour, but here is compelling proof that smacking is so much more harmful that you may realise.
It models and promotes the use of physical violence to solve problems.
It increases stress, anxiety and depression
It harms social relationships/attachments with parents
It encourages children to be more secretive and not get caught
It ignores the reason why a child is exhibiting these behaviours.
It makes me feel even stronger in my convictions that what our business is doing for the community is a good thing. Children are not born with a textbook that gives us all the answers for raising good kids but I certainly wish they did. Our business is quite unique in helping to empower parents and nannies to raise strong and confident children who will be good and responsible adults and quite frankly smacking is not the answer.
‘Life skills’ is a phrase we use often in early childhood because children learn most of these essential socially acceptable behaviours as early as 2 and 3. We should never underestimate that children this young have the ability and are capable to learn, as long as they are supported by an adult who is kind, caring and compassionate in their approach to discipline.
We must remember that we are our child’s first educators and
children learn more from what we do than what we say.
A very powerful statement to think about and reflect on with our own parenting.
When we discipline our children we need to be giving them alternatives for the undesirable behaviours. An example could be: -
“Instead of throwing your toys on the ground because you are frustrated, go and jump 100 times on the trampoline and then come inside and use your words to explain your frustration”
Other techniques for positive behaviour includes
Praise the good
Choose your battles
Give your child time to complete simple tasks
Give them time for you to listen to what they are saying
Be sure that your demeanour and words are positive.
Don’t take them places that a child needs to behave like an adult.
Always help to guide a more desirable behaviour as this way you are giving your child a life skill to be able to self regulate their emotions in times of stress which will empower them to make better decisions. Think not just about the now as children, but in their working careers, their relationships and beyond.
Invest the time now and reap the rewards of a well-adjusted and capable young adult.