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Introduction
 
Why Punishment is Needed
 
Why Spanking is Needed
 
But the "Experts" Say...
 
When to Spank
 
At What Age to Spank
 
How to Spank
 
Summary
 
Reader Questions
 
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Who is Paul Preston?
 
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How to Spank

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When you must spank, take your child to her room, your room, or the bathroom. Where is not as important as long as you are guaranteed privacy. Your child should not be embarrassed by having others see her spanked. Therefore, never spank in public. And never spank one of your children in front of another; there is no need for the embarrassment this might cause.

Carry out the punishment quickly. If spanking is to be effective, the delay between the misbehavior and the spanking must be short. Otherwise, children, especially younger ones, will not make the connection between their misbehavior and their punishment. If you are away from home when your child acts up, avoid the "wait till we get home" approach. Take your child to your car or to a private restroom. Taking your child into a stall in a public restroom will offer some privacy, but it is not ideal--use at your own discretion. A spanking should be delayed only when there is no place to spank in private where you are. Lack of privacy should be the only reason for delay, however.

Although it is important to carry out a spanking as quickly as possible, do not start spanking until you are sure your child understand why he is being spanked. Critics of spanking often claim that spanking only shows a child what not to do, but not what he should do. However, this can easily be remedied by taking time to scold before spanking. Begin by having your child tell you why he is being spanked. Making your child put the reasons into his own words will assure he understands what he did wrong. This will be difficult for young children to do, so you'll need to help them by asking a lot of simple questions like "Did you just jump off the bed?" What did daddy say would happen if you jumped off the bed?" and so on. You'll find this is worth the effort, however, for it helps to teach your child what your expectations are. After your child tells you why he is getting spanked, scold your child. You do not have to yell or scream. Simply let your child know in no uncertain terms how you expect him to behave in the future. Be specific. Don't say vague things like, "I don't like your attitude." Your child is not given enough information to change his behavior: What don't you like about your child's attitude? What he said? How he said it? His tone of voice? Therefore, say something like, "I don't want you to raise your voice to me." Then tell your child how you expect him to behave in the future. So you might say, "If you have something to say, say it politely, in a normal tone of voice. But don't yell"

I recommend spanking with your hand; avoid using implements. If you feel, however, that using your hand would not be effective--and this might be true with older children--then use a paddle, an instrument especially designed for spanking. Don't use belts; they are for holing pants up; don't use wooden spoons; they are for stirring; don't use hairbrushes, they are for brushing hair; and don't use a ruler or yardstick, they are for measuring. I do not recommend using a paddle on children younger than eight. If you use a paddle, be careful not to cause bruising with it.

If you have ever used your hand to give your child swats on her fully clothed bottom, you soon realized that your hand was receiving most of the punishment. Some parents solve this problem by spanking "bare bottom." That is, they have their child lower or remove all clothing below the waist. However, in most cases, I strongly recommend against "bare bottom" spanking since it is liable to be embarrassing for your child, especially an older one, and embarrassment should never be the goal of a parent. My suggestion, therefore, is to have your child take off her pants and spank her on her underpants. By allowing your child to keep her underpants on, you will spare your hand but allow her to protect her modesty. If you believe that your child will be embarrassed about being seen in her underpants, let your child keep her pants on and use a paddle to punish. However, most children will not be embarrassed to be seen in their underpants by either parent. For boys it is like having on a pair of swim trunks; for girls, a pair of bikini bottoms.

The only time I think "bare bottom" spanking is appropriate is for a child wearing a diaper or disposable underpants such as a pull-up. Since your child will not feel anything through a diaper or disposable underpants, you should take off the diaper or disposable underpants for a spanking. However, this situation will rarely occur since most children will be out of diapers before they are old enough for spankings. (Remember I recommend using spanking only with children three years of age or older.) If you do have to spank "bare bottom", be very conscious of how hard you are hitting. You do not want to cause bruising.

Laying your child across your lap is usually the best position for spanking. However, you may find this awkward or impossible if you are using a paddle. Also you will find this position awkward or impossible if your child is too big to lay across your lap. If it is awkward or impossible to lay your child across your lap, then have your child lay face down on her bed (or your bed) for a spanking.

The number of swats that you give will depend on many factors: your size and strength; how hard you are swatting; your child’s size; whether you are using your hand or a paddle; and what your child is wearing. Thus there is no fixed rule for how many swats to give; you must use your own judgment in deciding when your child has had enough spanking. Stop too soon and the spanking will be ineffective. Remember a spanking must be painful if it is to be effective. However, do not spank so much that you are abusive. A spanking should never leave bruises or welts.

After the spanking is over, some parents make their child stand in the corner or sit on a chair. Other parents send their child to his room. Still other parents put their child to bed. These all have the effect of letting the child cry himself out and giving him some time to think about his actions. Since one advantage of spanking is its brief duration, I do not recommend drawing it out. Therefore, have your child sit on a chair for a few minutes to compose himself and to think about how he should act in the future. Once your child is composed, answer any questions he may have about why he was punished. Remind him that you love him and that it was his behavior that you did not like; he is not disliked. Then the matter should be closed. Expect that the lesson will be learned and move on. If you find that the lesson was not learned, then another spanking may be called for later. But if you spank effectively, the lesson will usually be learned.

The Bottom Line: Spank your child as soon after her misbehavior as possible. Always spank in private. Spank with your hand on underpants or paddle on pants. Children wearing diapers or disposable underpants may be spanked "bare bottom." Most importantly, be sure that your child understands the reason for the spanking and how she is expected to act in the future.

This material is copyrighted by Paul J Preston, 2004-2014. All rights reserved.