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How to Discipline Your Children Without Spanking

Many of us, especially within the Black community, were raised with physical discipline; from having our hands slapped as young children with a firm “No” accompanying it, to being spanked or whipped by parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to teach us right from wrong.

But has this form of discipline helped us or aided in what seems to be our increasing violent nature?

I have heard horror stories from friends who recalled being spanked with belts, extension cords, shoes, hot wheel tracks, and whatever else their parents or guardians could get their hands on. They laugh about it now as we gather together, reliving tales of punishments that, said aloud, romantically play between the lines of discipline and abuse.

I don’t recall getting many spankings. The disappointed look in my parents’ eyes left guilt stains on my conscience that forced me to straighten up and get right.
I’ve said many times that it’s quite contradictory to teach children that if anyone outside of their household (teachers, other kids, strangers, non-blood-related adults, etc.) initiates harmful, physical contact it’s intolerable and can be considered a crime. But your parents or guardians, who are supposed to love you more than anyone outside of your household, can hit you and it’s not only tolerated, it’s encouraged. I feel this teaches children that love is supposed to hurt.

Only those who love you can hurt you physically. How then, do you explain to a teenage girl, that it’s wrong for the boyfriend who says he loves her to hit her when she behaves unfavorably to him, but it’s okay for her father to do so?

I firmly believe that we are teaching our children that violence is an appropriate response to feelings of displeasure.

Many times as parents and guardians, we are so overwhelmed we become reactionary and don’t stop to think of the microcosms we are creating, using physical punishment (violence) as a means of teaching our children how to behave properly…

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