Spanking! Whooping! Flogging! These have been around since time immemorial and the go-to discipline mode for a lot of Nigerians especially in schools. Opinions on the effectiveness of that mode of discipline varies by individuals and also depends on the extent to which it was used. Where some people swear spanking helped straighten* them others equally say spanking or rather whooping, which is spanking’s more severe sibling, actually made them more resistant to authority. Some have blamed no/lack of/minor spanking as the reason for irresponsible adults while others attribute success in adulthood to absence of spanking/whooping.
What is your opinion on spanking? Do you spank your children? And to what extent? Do you get to the point of whooping? Are you of the ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ mindset or agree more with ‘do not provoke your children’ thought process? Yes, these two bible verses have been used to justify various levels of child discipline.
As a mother to very young children, Kehz is 3+ and Azah is 2, discipline is definitely something I constantly think hard about. It is literarily an everyday struggle to balance the right amount of discipline required to raise them into Christian, confident, and upstanding citizens of this world. From my experience, conversations are VERY important and is the most effective way to get them to understand what they did wrong especially as they get older. We do also use other forms of discipline to various extents for each child… I have tried spanking a little on the palms with my fingers and in my opinion although it got the required immediate attention, in the long run it hasn’t been as effective as grim discussions, privilege denial or timeouts.
So my take is that ensuring children fully understand what they’re doing wrong and why you’re disappointed goes a long way in dealing with the core of the issue. Hitting them at any sign of anger does not quite discipline them but teaches them that violence is alright if you’re upset. Use of various discipline modes in direct proportion to the level of misbehavior will help get them think before acting. Of course each child is different so it will take some focused parenting time and skills to understand the most effective discipline for each child and to implement it.
Spanking and/or whooping is not the one size fits all answer to all transgressions. If you do spank, please do NOT do it in anger or use all those scary objects on your little ones. That is, please do NOT escalate the spank to WHOOP. Whooping may have been ok in the past and we may laugh at how our parents (mine didn’t really whoop) and teachers used all sorts to hit us in frustration and anger. Truth is, it’s child abuse. No need inflicting unnecessary intense pain on a child with cable/wire/metal/random object… Don’t give your child a ‘dirty’ slap with your adult strength! Ensure they understand the reason for your choice of discipline before and after executing or else, they will neither learn nor correct the behavior.
So to answer my own question, to spank? Maybe. To whoop? A resounding no. Let us please use our almighty parent status wisely and not ABUSE our children so as to not start a cycle of violence… What is your own answer to my question?
Chimmie Gbugu is the author of two children’s color boardbooks in the Igbo language (Ndu Anyi: Okigbo na Adanze and ABChD Igbo ) and informal teacher on the ‘Akwukwo LLC’ Igbo teaching YouTube Channel. She mothers’ her two active kids diligently non-stop; Engineers during the day; Travels far and wide; Bakes & cooks concoctions or rather innovatively; Teaches Sunday school; and is just dabbling into blogging.