By now, most parents have heard that they shouldn’t spank their children. Not only does it not work, but it can lead to mental health problems, slow brain development and – apparently – can even turn your child into a criminal.
If you read a lot of parenting articles, though, you’ve probably heard a whole lot of other things you can’t do, too. According to one article, putting your child is time-out is basically the same as beating your child. Making your child feel shame is a form of emotional abuse. Yelling at your child is as bad as spanking. And, in some extreme cases, we’re even told that using any form of punishment whatsoever is bad parenting.
In most of these articles, the writer illustrates their advice with a role play that makes you wonder if they’ve ever actually met a child. They tell us about this angel child who hears mama nicely ask him to stop being naughty and just says, “Okay, Mama! Anything you say!”
We never see the child blow up. We never see him cry, or collapse onto the ground, or hit or bite or yell or run away.
If your child’s actually that perfect, that’s great – but don’t be surprised if he starts turning water into wine and healing lepers. For the rest of us, there are moments when positive parenting stops working. We need to do something about it. And we need to know what we can do that won’t scar our children for life.