To hit or not to hit
My mum explained it to me one day. ‘Dad was good to you. Do you ever remember him hitting you?’ (Yes, I do. Twice. Once for playing with fire and once for lying to him.)
Dads should never hit. Never hit your child. Never hit mum.
It communicates a very powerful message worth ten times more than any sort of boundary you’re trying to reenforce. Your son is learning that men don’t hit. Your son is learning their role as a physically stronger gender requiring to protect rather than abuse.
As for mums. I don’t think one way is better than the other. BUT it pains me as a teacher to need to tell the principal that a child in the class has been hit and there are marks to show it. If your kid fears for their physical well being then you need to stop. It is the law and my guess is that your child will grow up thinking that the only way to get others to listen is to hurt them until they fear them.
My mum hit me as a child so I think…
Hitting your child needs to be to communicate they did something wrong as opposed to physically hurting them. So a spank that they feel for 1 second is okay. A spank where they have a bruise is not okay.
Communicating punishment for something can be done in many ways, spanking is not the worst (Turns out teachers can’t spank, so we created other methods). You could send them into time out, withdraw privileges like TV or computer. I’m a quiet sort of guy so I seldom raise my voice at the kids but whenever I do the kids know that I’m upset. But I see other teachers who always raise their voice and the children don’t even flinch when they’re being directly scolded.
The important thing is to have consequences. A simple apology is not a consequence. If they waste your time = You should waste theirs. If they make a spill = They clean it up. If they hit someone = Withdraw privileges.
Equally important is the moving on process. After they have paid the penalty then ensure they understand what they did was wrong to avoid bitterness and then assure them you’re moving on.
‘Do you know why I sent you to time out?’
If they aren’t then spell it out. ‘When you hit Bobby, you broke an important rule. Hitting is not accepted in any circumstance even if Bobby took your toy.’
OR ‘Lying is not tolerated. Everyone deserves to be told the truth.’
‘Okay, what will you do next time? …’
And don’t ever bring it up again. Renew your trust in your child that they are a good kid. Believe in your child. I am so grateful to all my teachers and parents who continued to believe I was a good kid even after I messed up every now and then.