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Is Spanking Your Child Ethical?

Spanking children is a highly controversial practice. On the one hand, spanking children is a violent and offensive act, which is immoral and unethical, whereas, on the other hand, spanking children is a practice, which people take for granted. To put it more precisely, many people are accustomed to spanking children, which they believe this practice a norm because they were spanked in the childhood and they do not think that spanking children is abnormal. However, from the ethical point of view, spanking of children is unethical. In fact, spanking children contradict not only to ethical norms but also to legal norms. Nevertheless, even the legal ban of violence against children fails to prevent the practice of spanking children because this practice is deep-rooted in the consciousness of people and the problem is that they do not find spanking wrong. Therefore, spanking children is unethical and the society should change attitude to this practice because spanking may cause severe psychological trauma of children and affect their adult life consistently.

First of all, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that spanking is the manifestation of the power of parents over the child. To put it more precisely, parents use spanking to demonstrate their power over children and to make children obedient to their will. At this point, it is important to understand causes why parents do spank their children. In this respect, it is possible to distinguish two major causes. First, parents spank their children because they want to stop certain negative model of behavior immediately. For instance, when a child plays with a ball and goes too close to the road, where cars are driving. In such a case, parents can spank their child immediately to maximize his/her attention to the potential danger they expose themselves to. In such a context, spanking children may be justified to a certain extent but spanking occurs, when parents are too excited and overwhelmed with emotions. Second, parents can spank their children to make their children obedient and to enhance their authority. In such a case, parents use violence as a tool to maintain their authority in the family. Such violence is apparently absolutely unethical as well as other manifestations of violence because parents should keep their emotions under control.

However, on analyzing the problem of spanking children, it is important to understand that children are defenseless in face of their parents. What is meant here is the fact that children are totally under the control of their parents. At the same time, they cannot physically resist to their parents and parents use their physical superiority to compensate their inability to use other tools to prove their righteousness or to teach children. Children become victimized by their parents and parents are absolutely unfair in relation to their children because they are in an unequal position.

At the same time, children cannot distinguish clearly what is right and what is bad. In the course of their cognitive development, children learn what is good and what is bad but they come to such understanding and conscious distinction of good and bad only when they grow up and enter the adult life. Therefore, parents should explain adequately what is good and what is bad. They should not punish them but provide them with positive models of behavior. In such a way, they will prevent negative behavior form the part of their children and help children to change their behavior for better without spanking.

In addition, children are dependent on their parents. Therefore, spanking can cause a severe traumatic effect, which may affect the personal development of children in a long-run perspective. Eventually, they may develop some psychological problems. What is meant here is the fact that spanking is violence against children. Children suffering from spanking in childhood can develop a number of psychological problems as they grow up. In fact, children can suffer from uncertainty in themselves, anxiety and other psychological problems that aggravate in the course of time. Moreover, in the most severe cases, spanking can provoke depression in children, especially if spanking occurs on the regular basis.

Furthermore, spanking ruins relationships between children and their parents. Parents spank their children because they want to maintain their authority but children perceive their parents as monsters, who spank them. Children believe that parents are violent and offensive. In such a situation, children are afraid of their parents, they are not confident in their children. What they feel in relation to their children is a sheer fear. Consequently, children cannot establish positive relations with their parents. Instead, they alienate from their parents and focus on their own life, while parents cannot establish contacts with their children, who became unwilling to communicate with their violent parents.

In fact, children need the explanation of why their behavior is wrong, while spanking means punishment without explanation. What is meant here is the fact that children need to understand why their behavior is wrong or what they have done wrong. In other words, spanking intends to have some effects on children, which are desirable for parents. Parents spank their children to elaborate certain behavior pattern.

However, to elaborate certain behavior pattern, children need to understand why their behavior was wrong and what they should do to change their behavior for better. To put it in simple words, children need not spanking but explanation why their behavior is wrong and what they should do to be good for children. In such a way, if children receive adequate explanation from their parents, they understand what a positive model of behavior is, while spanking will have no positive effects on them.

As the matter of fact, spanking is negative motivation of children that breeds fear and obedience occurs through fear. Therefore, children obey just because they are afraid but not because they are willing to obey to their parents or do what parents consider to be right for them. In fact, parents can change the behavior of children, if children change their behavior consciously. Spanking does not make children conscious of problems in their behavior but rather forces them to behave like their parents want without comprehension of any reasons for such behavior and why they should change their behavior.

Instead, parents should develop positive motivation in children. Children will act consciously. They will follow the lead of their parents. They will distinguish what is good and what is bad and, more important, they will understand why something is good and something is bad. Obviously, positive motivation is more effective than negative one. Terrorizing through spanking cannot bring any positive effects on children. The only effect of spanking is making children frightened and afraid of their parents. In contrast, positive motivation is very effective in terms of personal development of children. Children will be more motivated by positive motivation than by negative one. Therefore, explanation and personal model of behavior are more effective tools to change the behavior of children for better and to teach them what is good and what is bad than spanking.

In addition, domestic violence breeds violence and children are likely to follow the model of behavior, which they learn from their parents. Hence, children grow up and become violent parents too. This means that children will suffer a serious psychological trauma as they are spanked by their parents. As a result, they grow up with a deep-rooted believe that spanking children is good and effective. Therefore, they extrapolate the behavior of their parents on their own behavior as parents.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that spanking children is unethical. Spanking causes severe psychological damages to children, whose personality is not shaped yet. Children suffer from the violence from the part of their parents. In the course of their personal development, they fail to elaborate positive models of behavior because violence is the only thing they learn from their parents. In such a way, parents use negative motivation based on violence and terrorizing of their children. Obviously, such education is absolutely unethical and immoral. In stark contrast, parents should refuse from spanking and use positive motivation to shape positive models of behavior in their children.