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.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 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 @mothering.com
Why We Don't Punish Our Son Ever @ TodayMoms