My experience with corporal punishment/spanking
Following the advice of some friends I did practice spanking for a little while. I probably did a total of 5 spankings in a period of two months on my two kids. Each time after each spank I felt TERRIBLE. Each time I spanked the kids my husband and I talked of the consequences of spanking.
I am not against spanking but I STOPPED because I realized it didn't help me and my family in any way positive. My kids stopped the behaviour for a few hours only to repeat it when they had forgotten of the spanking. I realized that my kids did the things they did not because they didn't know it was not okay with mom but because they couldn't control their urge to act yet. Each time they did something they had been spanked for they were terrified of the punishments and I would catch them lying. They lied because they were fearful of my punishment and of me.
One day a friend brought her friend to visit with me. Both these women strongly believe in spanking their kids. We were all sitting on the porch when my 4 year old son started climbing on the gate. A friend of a friend told me that I should spank my son in front of other people sometimes to 'embarrass him'. I took 5 steps towards my son and gave him a spank. The look on his face told me that he was embarrassed and shocked.
After the friends left I sat down and looked back; the fact that I embarressed my 4 year old made me feel terrible. I promised myself that I would never spank my kids again. I promised that I would focus raising my kids in a loving, gentle and positive way. I have not spanked my kids in a long time, I hardly punish them but what we do a lot, is talk. We talk everyday of the things they do. We guide, we praise and we hug!
Raising kids in a gentle loving way has been very effective for me. Sitting down with your kids and talking to them each time they do things they are not suppose to do is more work than just raising your hands on their bottom but it is much MORE rewarding, the closeness that it brings between us is priceless.
I have seen that a lot of kids who are subjected to corporal punishment are somewhat quiet and still. Some of them look sad and fearful. Just yesterday we took the kids to the zoo and had a monorail ride. We shared a car with another family (I suspect, son about 5, mom and dad). The son was still in mom's lap and the dad had a switch in his hand which he moved back and forth as if to remind the child what would happen if he misbehaved. The child did not get off his mom's lap until just about a few minutes before the ride ended and was sort of walking back and forth with excitement in that little space. Compared to him my kids were WILD. They sat in their dad's lap all the time (NOT still) and asked lots of questions.
When we got off the monorail I witnessed something I never expected: The dad switched his son multiple times with the switch he had been holding in his hand. The boy tried to hide under his mom's skirt, the mom didn't say anything nor did she try to shield him from his dad. The thin stick probably stung the boy but in my opinion the emotional damage was worse than the physical in that case.
If you consider quiet kids and kids who sit still as well-behaved kids then mine are not. They do have a lot of energy and they talk a lot. They have a lot of compassion, they treat others with respect, they share, they help their friends get up, they say sorry and thank you, they don't hit/hurt each other on purpose. They help in the kitchen, they wash dishes for pocket money, they love school and they have a routine.
What made me feel really good is the fact that my kids know I CARE for them and their safety: About one week ago my son broke the glass on the cabinet door. I was outside and heard the glass shaterring all over the floor. I entered the room and saw my son crying, his hands folded in between his legs and the first thing he said was' I didn't get cut'. 'Then why are you crying'? I said.' Because I know I shouldn't have climbed on the cabinet' was his answer.
This is why I say my kids do the things they do, not because they don't understand the rules but because it is hard for them to control their impulses. Spanking does not work for us nor does it create a better and closer relationship in our family. I try to do the right things in life: Things that make me feel good and spanking is not the 'right thing for me and my kids since it makes me feel TERRIBLE.