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“When We Hit Our Kids - We Lower Their IQ”

Posted: Tue, November 05, 2013 | By:


We cannot hit our children. We cannot smack, slap, or ‘spank’ them. I understand that it might be how our parents raised us, but that doesn’t make it right. Maybe we turned out okay. Maybe it didn’t affect us, but maybe it did. Maybe we could have been better. We need to be careful in believing that spanking did something good for us. Are we the best person to judge that? Are we rewriting history to cover our pain with a story about building character?

(this essay was originally published at Aaron’s blog HERE)

When we hit our kids, we lower their IQ – did you know that? It makes them more aggressive, less well-behaved, and more likely to do whatever it is we tried stop them doing in the first place. If spanking worked, would we need to keep doing it over and over? and over? Yes, he probably will go clean his room after a smack on the bum, but he will definitely be less likely to clean it on his own, next time.

We teach kids how to interact in the world through our demonstration. When we teach the rule called ‘I will hit you if you disobey me’, we teach obedience to authority, not critical thinking, not problem solving, not self-actualization, individuation, creativity, or negotiation. All of these are opposite to blindly obeying authority. “Because I said so” is bullshit and it causes damage. .

We all want our kids to know right from wrong. Hitting, except in self defense or when consent is given, is wrong. Children learn from our actions as much as (or more than) from our words. If we say that violence is wrong and then we hit her because she didn’t do what we wanted, she learns that violence is okay (especially when you are bigger and have more power). She learns that hypocrisy is normal and that she need not follow the rules she expects from (or imposes on) others. Integrity is optional.

Spanking doesn’t work. It gets immediate compliance but long-term non-compliance. It makes him more likely to do every single thing we tell him not to do – the moment we look away and he thinks he can get away with it. People, especially children, tend to want to do the opposite of what we force them to do. If we don’t want our child to run into the street, or touch a hot stove, the most effective thing to do is to teach him about heat and burns and speed and cars. Talk to him. Nurture his understanding of the world and he won’t want to touch the stove. Expect more from his ability to reason and understand. He will surprise you.

Children are small and fragile, both physically and emotionally. People who were spanked only once or twice in their childhood often report remembering the pain and shock for years afterward. Psychological problems like depression, aggression, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, and drug and alcohol abuse have all been associated with spanking.

It makes sense. We are her caregivers and we turn on her. Those who should be protectors become attackers. Without a caring adult to protect and provide, a child is helpless.

A child needs safety and comfort and love. The world is full of pain and trouble and hardship and yes, we need to prepare her for that – by filling her early years with safety and comfort and love. This gives her a backbone, a basis and wellspring of essential safety at the core of her being from which she can draw strength and face the challenges of the world. It’s a tough world out there, do we want to strengthen or weaken her before we send her into it?

If we want him to learn respect, we cannot hit him. Fear is incompatible with respect; don’t ever confuse the two. Respect is born from love and appreciation. It is born from an understanding of some essential goodness and virtue that one exhibits. Respect earns one the capacity to be listened to and their words and advice heeded as wisdom. Fear earns ears as well, but only to the degree that compliance with orders garners safety from attack.

In Canada and the United States, children are the only people who can be legally struck without consent. If we hit a boss, a coworker, a spouse, an employee, a friend — if we ‘spank’ anybody who doesn’t want us to — it’s called assault and we leave ourselves open to possible legal action. Unless we hit a child.

This is a civil rights issue. Before feminism put gender equality on the table, women were treated much like children are today – as lesser beings who must comply with the wishes of their betters or suffer possible psychological or physical violence. The men in those times thought it was for their wives own good. Parents today think it is for their children’s own good.

I am a future parent and I will never hit my children.

I hope you won’t either. (And if you already have – apologize and start over – it’s never too late!)

(this essay was originally published at Aaron’s blog HERE)


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