Frank says I’m too hard on our six year old sometimes. I don’t think my expectations are too high or too hard but I do think I could use a more positive approach sometimes. "Don’t do that!" and "that’s not very good manners" are certainly not teaching how to behave but rather how not to behave. I got a great lesson directly from our six year old last night.
We were playing Uno and I was holding the baby. The baby of course was trying to get the cards into his mouth. I said, "you’d better not slobber on the cards or your big brother will be upset with you." To which our six year old immediately jumped in with a very concerned look on his face, "No, no, no …. I wouldn’t be!" Now those Uno cards are his prized possesion and yet he wouldn’t be mad at his little brother for slobbering on them!
Now you might say the six year old wasn’t really teaching his baby brother anything. But he was saying it was ok to mess up and he was showing a great teaching style. If our six year old stepped on one of my books and bent the cover I’m sure I would sound upset! So I can learn from him …
Here’s a great post on why physical punishment often doesn’t have the desired effect. Some Reasons: Ten Reasons Not to Hit Your Kids. I think it applies to all punishment, not just spanking.
Some I definitely agree with:
1. If you hit your kid, they are likely to hit others, because hitting must be ok. And if you yell at them, they are likely to yell at others, because yelling must be ok.
3. A child who’s been punished becomes angry and focuses on the punishment and the punisher instead of how to solve the problem at hand. (I’ve found this hard to prevent when just using simple time outs or "you can’t do that." We always have to ask, "do you know why you are in timeout" and often he doesn’t!)
7. Anger and frustration build up.
9. Spanking shows the "might makes right." Someday both of my kids will be bigger than me. Does that mean that they don’t have to listen to me then? No!
10. It shows that hitting is an appropriate way to solve problems. That will be very frustrating for them when they enter corporate America!
The article explains these and the other points much more clearly. It’s worth reading.