“Spare the rod and spoil the child.” This is a phrase some of us parents may have come across at one point during our lives. It refers to spanking one’s child as a form of discipline, which some people call “corporal punishment.” Whatever we call it though, spanking has definitely been a hot parenting topic and has caught the attention of many people — parents and non-parents alike.
A recent article titled, “Study shows spanking boosts odds of mental illness” says, “Those who were spanked or hit as kids were between two and seven percent more likely to encounter mental issues later, said the research in the US journal Pediatrics, based on a retrospective survey of more than 600 US adults.”
However, we must take note what it says later on in the article, i.e. that “these studies have typically included more serious abuse. The current study excludes both sexual abuse and physical abuse that left bruises, marks or caused injury. Instead, it focuses on ‘harsh physical punishment,’ defined as pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping or hitting as a form of punishment from elders.”
Definitely, “pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping or hitting” is a form of abuse — but is spanking included, too? We asked several parents what they think.
To Spank Diane Q. Manalo, homeschooling mom to Cailin, 6, Ava, 3, and Samuel, 4 months, says that the article quoting the study should be read more carefully. “They used the word spanking and hitting like it’s the same thing. But I think it is not.”
“When we relate this to parenting and discipline, it’s a whole different thing. People need to understand that when we spare the rod, we spoil the child and if I may quote Proverbs 13:24 ‘He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.’”
Referring back to the study, Diane says that those parents who hit their children may have been hitting them out of anger, wrath or rage. “I believe there is a proper way of disciplining children. That's why it says 'careful to discipline' in the verse,” she shares.“ And only the parents are supposed to do it (discipline their child) — not just any elder person in the home. Children need to know who their authorities are and they are their parents or main guardians.”