And it DOESN’T teach them respect. It doesn’t teach them why they should follow rules (aside from “I’ll be in physical pain if I get caught breaking them”), let alone why those rules are in place to begin with.
You know what DOES teach kids respect? Well, a lot of things, but here’s a short list:
- Showing them respect, and showing others respect in their presence.
- Modeling appropriate behavior in other ways, such as showing kids proper emotional responses.
- Helping kids understand their emotions, which helps minimize outbursts and tantrums.
- Giving kids language to describe their emotions, which helps with the above.
- Maintain consistent rules so kids know what they are.
- Help your child understand why rules are in place (and remember, if they’re too young to understand that reason, then they’re probably not going to understand the reason you’re hitting them either).
- Listening to your child when they object to rules, to either help you explain them better or to help make rules more fair and consistent to them.
- Make sure any punishments you enforce make sense based on the rule that was broken. (Hitting pretty much never qualifies as a situationally appropriate response.)
- Treating your child like a person. Because they are.
Is all of that hard? Yes. Is it a lot more work than spanking a child as the “need” arises? Of course. But parenting isn’t just about handling situations as they arise. It’s about ongoing behaviors. It’s about raising a good person, and learning to be a better person, at all times–and yes, you have to put in the work to that too.