Do the two go hand in hand? No. Smacking is not discipline, it is punishment.
Punishment means you cause pain or discomfort to change the child’s behavior. And it works, in the short term and as long as you hurt them enough so they don’t do it again and as long as they’re scared of you. Read this last sentence and tell me it doesn’t sound absurd that you would go down this path as a form of discipline? Where is the respect in this relationship? There isn’t any.
All your child will learn is that you will hurt him if he doesn’t follow your rules but not why your rules exist. Instead your child will find ways to break your rules without you finding out and will break them more often. And, what do you do when your smacking is not effective anymore? What’s your next step?
“All children behave as well as they are treated”
Doesn’t sound very positive does it? Smacking isn’t, it’s a negative form of discipline. Extensive research has shown smacking to be not only ineffective but damaging at many levels. It affects a child’s self esteem and how they view themselves in your family unit. So, make the right choice, decide not to smack and instead contribute to creating a positive, peaceful future through your child.
So, what really is proper positive discipline? The best way to teach your child what is right and what is wrong is through guidance, training and love. You also teach them and help them to learn the consequences of their actions. It has nothing to do with pain and punishment.
Your goal is that your child does the right thing because they understand the value of what they are doing and not merely through fear of punishment.
“Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it.” ~Harold Hulbert
It takes time and commitment, there is no quick easy way. It also takes a lot of thought and planning and you both have to be on the same line, there can be no inconsistencies between the parents. But if you do the preparation you will succeed and you will have a very happy family. Deciding to do this the positive way is the first step.
You have to also make some personal commitments. Physical punishment is out, but also verbal, don’t replace it with shouting. You have to remain calm in the situations and go down to the level of your child. Talk to them, they understand much more than you imagine. Anger has no place in discipline.
It’s hard but you can’t be seen to ‘lose’ it in front of them. They will work off of that. And remember your child is innocent, they are growing and learning. They don’t go out of their way to annoy you. They are seeking attention, for one reason or another. You have to work out why.
But I assure you, the effort will be worth it and you will end up with a stable, confident and fun-loving child if you go for a positive discipline method over smacking.
For actual methods of positive discipline see our article 20 ways to achieve positive discipline.
“What’s done to children, they will do to society.” ~Karl Menninger