Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spank Out Day USA

Today is Spank Out Day USA.  Spank Out Day USA aims to support "Raising Responsible (Good) Kids Without Hitting". From the website:
SpankOut Day USA was initiated in 1998 to give widespread attention to the need to end corporal punishment of children and to promote non-violent ways of teaching children appropriate behavior. EPOCH-USA (End Physical Punishment of Children) sponsors SpankOut Day USA on April 30th of each year. All parents, guardians, and caregivers are encouraged to refrain from hitting children on this day, and to seek alternative methods of discipline through programs available in community agencies, churches and schools.
I just learned of this event a few days ago thanks to a post on a blog I follow. If I had known earlier, I would have loved to do something bigger than a blog post, but it is still important to do something.

I have always believed spanking was wrong. It would be wrong for me to hit my husband, my neighbor, or my dog.  It is wrong to hit my child. It doesn't matter the reason or the rationalization. It doesn't matter the semantics of whether you call it spanking, hitting, swatting, or beating. It is wrong. It doesn't matter bare-butt or fluffy cloth-diapered bottom. It is just wrong.

Parenting is hard. Discipline is hard. Some parents could never imagine hitting their children. They must nott have the fire in their belly that I do. I always knew I wouldn't hit my children, but I didn't always know how hard it would be some days. I have a big temper. I have big emotions. So do my kids. Together we struggle and wrestle with those emotions and those tempers. Together we learn by watching each other how we can best interact, how we can best communicate our emotions and needs, and how we can best find peace in the moments that we might otherwise hit something or someone. I am still learning and growing so that I can be the best example possible to my children. And they are teaching me along the way.

I know that hitting my child will not help me teach them empathy, compassion, peace, confidence, self-worth, or self-respect. It will not teach them boundaries, appropriate touch, communication, or provide the foundations to a healthy relationship. It will teach them that when someone is violent to them, they should obey them. After reading, Protecting the Gift, I am even  more convinced that I do not want to teach them to succumb to violence, to listen when an adult coerces them with pain or threats. Corporal punishment teaches children that the way we get someone to listen, to pay attention, or to obey is with physical strength and violence. That is not something I'm willing to teach.

Some Web Resources:

10 Reasons To Not Hit Your Child @ AskDrSears
The Center for Effective Discipline
A Corporal Punishment Fallacy @ CodeNameMama
Tearing a Child Down Will Not Build Him Up @ CodeNameMama

Why I Don't Spank @ phdinparenting
Best Anti-Spanking Resources @ phdinparenting
Instead of Hitting
Why We Don't Punish Our Son Ever @ TodayMoms


  1. I'm glad you mentioned the strong emotions that we parents feel when dealing with our kids. Your views about corporal punishment sound very similar to mine. Thanks for sharing them on your blog!

  2. Thank you for this post, and for participating. I am enjoying reading the posts for Spank Out Day. Only wish there was more support and awareness of these concepts!

    I'd never committed violence on another person and never had much inclination too - never felt that "fire in my belly" - UNTIL I had kids. Without going into detail on why I think that may be, it gives me pause to think about it. I agree that parenting is hard, which is why I seek to write and support non-punitive parenting, while extending my support to other parents.

    Thanks for your post!

  3. This is great. Great resources too. You said so much in just a few paragraphs. You said Everything!
    I'm going to check out that book too (protecting the gift).
    I'm glad to have found your blog.

  4. Thank you for participating in Spank Out Day. That book looks difficult to read, but well worth it. I just put it on reserve at the library. I think it might help me better understand how someone could do it. The better I can understand, the easier it is for me to have compassion. And to me, someone who hurts someone else does it from a place of pain and disconnect with what is true.

    Your observation about not hitting another adult or an animal is so true. Why is it that hitting an adult is considered wrong, but hitting a child is okay? Is it because they're smaller and less powerful? Whatever the excuse, it can never be okay to hit someone else.

  5. I love your honesty in this - it makes the advocacy that much more powerful.

    Happy to have found your blog, and thank you for helping to raise awareness!

  6. Thanks all! I've been away all weekend so I'm looking forward to catching up and reading everyone's Spank Out Day posts tonight.


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