During arecent appearance on CNN, I was asked about proposed legislation in California that would make spanking young children amisdemeanor crime. The CNN interviewer wanted to know why I (and most other parenting experts) do not believe that spanking is a useful parenting method. It should be noted that this show came on the heels of abre aking news story about a family who was asked to leave an airplane prior to takeoff when the parents could not get their three-year-old daughter off the cabin floor, where she was engaged in an all-out tantrum, and into her seat.I did my best to give some reasons why spanking the child would not have been a good idea, but time was limited.Later I found the following anonymous message in my e-mail: I’m watching you on CNN right now—I 100% disagree with you. Look how the “PC”police such as yourself has corrupted today’s kids who are OUT OF CONTROL! It has worked since the beginning of time—what has changed?The interview—and the e-mail—reminded me of the need to continue my lifelong mission of encouraging the use of better discipline methods. The following eight reasons not to spank are excerpted from my new book, Taming the Spirited Child: Strategies for Parenting Challenging Children without Breaking Their Spirits (Fireside/ Simon and Schuster, March 2007). I hope you find them useful.
It is too easy for a frustrated parent to cross the line from spanking to abusing. The adrenaline rush that venting one’s frustrations and anger on a child can produce is a “high” that can become habit-forming, if not addi
ctive. It feels good to let it out. Uunately, by the time the smoke clears, many parents have crossed the linefrom spanking to hitting, shaking, slapping and other forms of abuse.
This is why e