RHNY Jill Zarin Speaks Out Against Spanking! Here's Why You Mustn't Do It! Exclusive!

Mon, January 3, 2011 2:30pm EST by 14 Comments

Getty Images

If you ever feel like your child is driving you sooo crazy, you’re going to snap and smack them, then read Jill’s wise advice here!

I never spanked my daughter Allyson, now 18, it’s against the law AND it’s NOT acceptable. Physically harming someone is NOT acceptable at any age or for any reason.

But I understand  how tough it can be for parents to cope in certain situations. Children aren’t born with a manual. And especially if you yourself don’t have a support system or if you had a traumatic childhood, you may not know how to punish your child in a more appropriate way than spanking them.

Here’s my suggestions on how to punish without pulling out your spanking hand: “A timeout can be very powerful as a punishment. Removing your child from what they like most whether it’s video games, TVs or from having a play-date, can really get your message across.

Never threaten something that you can’t fulfill. For example, if you say you are going to take the TV out of your child’s room, you have to do it, or they will never believe you again. But also, don’t overreact. The punishment needs to fit the crime. So if they’ve made a mess of their room, DON’T threaten to leave them behind when you take a family vacation. That’s HUGE and it will hurt all of you, to enforce it.

Exacting a punishment that is too harsh for misbehavior also borders on emotional abuse. And just as you shouldn’t hurt your child physically, you don’t want to emotionally abuse your child either.

But if you don’t punish your children when they need to be punished, that’s actually a form of neglect. Children feel safe and secure when their parents set boundaries. And when they are consistent. They want their parents to set limits and to say, “No” they interpret “no” as love and caring.

Just remember, your job as a parent is to set boundaries and their job is to push them. Now here’s my thoughts on how to deal with certain situations without spanking.

  • They Won’t Eat Their Food! I don’t believe “food” issues should be punishable. If they won’t eat, I don’t think should feel forced. Try instead to make vegetables fun instead of refusing to let them get up from the table for hours.
  • They Meltdown In The Supermarket: Let them have their fit and then leave. If the fit is because they want you to buy some inappropriate food- don’t give in and buy it! Ignore the stares you’ll get, the best you can.
  • They Meltdown In A Movie Theater: Sorry but you have to leave. You can’t negotiate with them and you can’t ruin everyone else’s good time.
  • The Meltdown Because They Want You To Buy A Certain Toy: Tell them they can “earn” the toy by doing chores or being on good behavior.

Listen, punishing kids is tough. Talk to other parents about what works for them too. There are anonymous parent support groups on the line where you can share your thoughts.

And remember, we all misbehaved as kids and our parents punished us! I stole my dad’s car when I was a teen and I remember pulling up in the front of the house and I ran inside and hid in my room. I didn’t get to use the car again for six months!

–Jill Zarin author of ‘Secrets of a Jewish Mother: Real Advice, Real Stories, Real Love’