As I mentioned in another post, I am against the use of corporal punishment. I do believe in, and have used, better and more effective methods of discipline.
Each and every time I’ve had this discussion with a pro spanking parent the conversation goes to “what about danger situations” I mentioned the running on the road situation but this applies to any circumstance in which your child puts himself in harms way.
There is nothing more terrifying than to see your child do something that puts his very life at risk so rather than attempt to teach him danger by hitting him, why not try a little real life fear and drama (you may need the drama if the situation is only potentially dangerous, like running out on a empty road)
When my Pie (the oldest – least intense child) was about 2 years old we were renovating our kitchen. He was busy with a screwdriver pushing it into the holes where the knobs on the cabinet doors had been.
I was working on a new counter top. I turned just in time to see him heading to the now exposed electrical outlet (the one that had been behind the fridge). Inches from the outlet I let out a scream and scooped him up in my arms…. but the ‘show’ didn’t end there. I knew perfectly well that he was not hurt, he didn’t get near enough with the screwdriver but I ACTED as if he could be hurt checking his fingers, hugging him ever couple of seconds, lots of telling him how scared I was, how he could have been hurt and back to checking his hands and fingers again. I spent quite a bit of time, maybe 5 or 10 minutes rotating through the motions of being a terrified mom – scared to death that my baby was hurt.
That’s all it took. There is nothing more powerful than a parent’s strong emotions to a young child. The Pie steered VERY clear of electrical outlets from that day forward and when he was about 4 years old he let me know that he wanted to plug something in but he was obviously nervous and wanted me to show him how. By that time he was old enough to understand the danger and the explanation as to why it was dangerous an that electricity was something to be respected.
I used the same method with the other 2 kids when the need arose and never had an issue with either of them repeating dangerous behaviour once they had been treated to the “mom is terrified” episode.