Question and Answer

After I spank my child, she usually wants to hug me and make up. I don't feel good about that because I need to show her my displeasure at what she's done. That's why I continue to be cool to her for a few hours. Do you think that is right?

No, I think it is very important after punishment to embrace the child in love. That is the time to assure her that it was the misbehavior that brought your disapproval, rather than your dislike for her personally. It is also the best time to talk about why she got in trouble and how she can avoid your displeasure in the future. It is the "teachable moment," when the object of your discipline can be explained. Such a conversation is difficult or impossible to achieve when a rebellious, stiff-necked little child is clenching her fist and taking you on. But after a confrontation has occurred especially if it involved tears the child usually wants to hug you and get reassurance that you really care for her.

Many parents, like you, say they feel awkward showing affection after punishment because they've been upset with the child. I think that is wrong. It's best to open your arms and let that youngster come.

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