During my twenty years in child development (preschool Teacher), I heard parents and teachers often say to their children “say sorry” every time they did something wrong such as pushing and hitting another child. At first I thought, well that is what you are supposed to do as a teacher, until I encountered a child that would say “sorry” as he hit other children. Sorry was just a word without meaning for this particular child. I realized saying sorry was not the answer, I am not saying that children shouldn’t be taught to say sorry, but children of preschool age do not feel sorry when they act on impulse, it often means nothing for them. Children need to be taught compassion and remorse by looking at the consequences of their actions. What I did every time I saw a child hurt another child I said, “Look you made your friend cry, what can you do to help him feel better”. Let the child be part of the solution instead of just “Say sorry”.
If you where around during the 50’s and 60’s you would know that spanking children was a standard and accepted form of discipline. For some reason people tend to do things just because that’s the way it was done before, instead of looking for a better way. Still now in 2014 I hear people say
“All he needs is a good spank”. As a child I remember feeling humiliated every time my mother would spank me, and I think there is always a better way.
My wife and I made a promise never to spank our children, so when our first child was born we attended mommy and me classes. We wanted to educate our selves and do better than our parents. When our son turned three years old I went back to school to study child development. I feel that nobody is perfect and you can always try to better your self in every way. Hitting, spanking, and aggression is never the solution, children need to learn to follow directions because it is the right thing to do and not because they are afraid of been spanked. Spanking may stop the problem at the moment, but it does not teach anything but fear. Fearing the people that should be closest to you can stifle the child’s personality and confidence. One of my favorite lines is,
“hitting is never ok, is never funny”.