Welcome to Catherine Gruener’s Encouragement Parenting Tips for February! Each month, WU World Changer Catherine Gruener will share new tips that will encourage you to learn new, positive parenting techniques!
Encouragement Parenting Tips for February: Harsh Discipline –
“I was spanked as a child and I turned out okay.”
Corporal Punishment and the use of harsh discipline cause more harm than good, so the American Academy of Pediatrics say, and they have created a policy on effective Discipline for Pediatricians to follow, endorse, and support with their patients… AKA, You!
Before we go any further, I want you to know that I am in no way shaming those who have made mistakes in parenting.
I’ve made my fair share, and know from my work counseling parents that if you were parented with humiliation, hearing this information can make you feel ashamed. If you were spanked as a child and your parents used shame, and you have been using those forms of discipline with your children because you did not know what else to do, or you were taught that it was what parents were supposed to do, know that you are not alone.
We’ve seen spanking and the use of discipline that causes shame and humiliation endorsed and displayed as acceptable and normal across our American culture, from episodes on the Andy Griffith and Leave it to Beaver shows, to even co-hosts on major networks.
People ask, “What’s the harm?”
I even had an ordained religious clergyman tell me that “they need to feel shame in order to change.”
The real answer is no. Spanking and humiliation cause emotional, behavioral, and neurological problems. They make things worse.
Parenting, how we were parented, and how we parent deeply impacts our views. But there are some universal truths and evidence as to why spanking and the use of humiliation are harmful, don’t work, and are no longer acceptable forms of discipline in America.
Get the Facts!
The American Academy of Pediatrics has released an updated policy Effective Discipline to Raise Healthy Children; December of 2019, which highlights the psychological and neurological harm that can come from spanking, yelling, and the use of shame (what the AAP calls “verbal humiliation”).
Studies have shown that spanking, harsh verbal abuse, and the use of humiliation:
- had transient effects on stopping unwanted behavior (they worked only for 10 minutes if at all)
- increased aggression and defiance in children
- resulted in power struggles and spiraling arguments between parents and their children
- correlated with more aggressiveness and behavioral problems of the child at school
- correlated with a lower level of the child understanding spoken words (lower receptive vocabulary)
- developed an increased risk for anxiety and depression in children
- correlated with more anxiety and depression in the parent
- correlated with increased risk for substance and alcohol abuse, mental health problems, and suicide risk for the child who received such discipline when they became an adult.
Spanking, yelling, and humiliation create more behavior problems, result in your child not understanding you, leads to more fighting, and can result in everyone feeling anxious, depressed, and upset.
So now that we know what not to do, what are we to do instead?
- Focus on what you want to happen, not what you don’t want to happen.
- Don’t add on more guilt. Guilt motivates change but is not necessary for change. Re-direct your child by teaching them how to make amends and problem solve what to do rather than focusing on shame or creating shame.
- Understand that children make mistakes and help them problem solve how to fix those mistakes.
As a multi-certified and licensed counselor, I am passionate about sharing research-based and backed methods that don’t include spanking, yelling, nor the use of humiliation.
And, the best part is that not only do you get to feel good about yourself, but also your children’s behaviors change for the good, and you get to create more loving, more fulfilling, more connected relationships.
Please check out the special offer that is shared below on our Encouragement Parenting Program. It is an online program with over 36 training videos, and 19 worksheets… all of the training I offer my private clients at a fraction of the cost. Because you are a Wellness Universe reader, we want to offer you this Special pre-launch of our program. Thanks for being part of the Wellness Universe and our encouragement parenting movement.
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Catherine Gruener, LCPC, NCC, DCC, PDTC. Catherine is a multi-certified and licensed clinical professional counselor, nationally and internationally known for her parent training programs. She is the owner of Gruener Consulting and the Chief Executive Officer of the Encouragement Parenting Division.