To Spank or Not to Spank; That Is My Question?

United States
July 24, 2007 9:56pm CST
What do you believe about spanking children when they are naughty? Were you spanked by your parents? Did or do you spank your kids? I personally believe that spanking is an effective way to discipline small children (my own, of course) if they don't get the message any other way. I believe, however, that there should be some parameters to spanking--rules, so to speak, both for the parent and the child. But I want to hear from you first!
5 people like this
5 responses
@Zelmarq (11503)
• Cebu City, Philippines
25 Jul 07
I admit I was a bit naughty when I was a kid and really good spanking made me feel to do good and nit be as naughty as I could be. I was not spanked immediately but it was first a warning and when i still did the bad and didnt obeyed what they said, then the spanking was neccessary. And after that they explained to me why I was spanked and I have realized that its also very important.
4 people like this
• United States
25 Jul 07
I was not quite as naughty as my brother, but I did get spanked once in a while myself as a young child. Just telling me I would be getting a spanking was enough to make me cry and beg for forgiveness. I agree with you that one of the important rules for spanking is: 1. The parent explaining to the child why they need to be spanked. But there is more.
2 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
25 Jul 07
I only got one spanking as a child. I only gave my boys one spanking or rather my husband did. And these were after numerous warnings. If a spanking is given after other attempts failed, then it is fine. But you should only use your hand and not make it too painful.
• United States
25 Jul 07
I have heard other people say that, too. That they used their hands. I was always told not to use my hand, but rather let them pick a twig from a tree, but it had to be strong enough to hold up. If not, I got to pick. Most of my kids rarely needed to be spanked, but as you said, if attempts at warning or other consequences (if they were old enough) did not work, then spanking was a last resort, and I never made it too painful, either. It truly hurt me more than it hurt them, and I would tell them so. Three things you mentioned are more of my important principles or rules for spanking (#1 was already mentioned above): 2. Explain to the child what the desired change of behavior is. 3. Let them know you love them very much, and that it really does hurt you to have to resort to the last resort, a (gentle) spanking. 4. If at all possible, have the father--the head of the family--give the spanking (unless he is away, or just has no idea what has gone on). Good job. You got several of the important rules.
2 people like this
• Canada
25 Jul 07
I view spanking the way I view yelling. We can not correct or improve another human or animal's behaviour by being violent, be it physical violence or verbal violence. If your child hit another child, how you would discipline that child? How about if the child yelled at another child? A spank for a spank, a yell for a yell? No! We need to set examples as adults, for children to follow, instead of using circular logic.
2 people like this
• United States
25 Jul 07
This view of spanking being "violence" and raising your voice being "violence" is a pretty typical European way of looking at things. However, I disagree with you. If I had to spank my child, I would try to do it in a calm manner, explaining to the child why I needed to discipline them because they were not using self-discipline, which I wanted them to have. I never allowed my children to hit (read "hit") anyone, including me. When I spanked my child, I was not being violent or advocating hitting. It was done as a consequence of disobedience after 2 warnings, and done to a part of the body that was well-padded with one or two gentle swats. If this is an example of violence and circular reasoning, then why would my children voluntarily give me a hug and tell me they loved me afterwards? You figure it out.
2 people like this
@carmelanirel (20979)
• United States
26 Jul 07
I don't think I was spanked correctly as a child. My parents waited until they were angry and didn't talk to me. It was not a beating, so don't get me wrong there, but since I was already out of control and no discussions of why I was spanked was wrong. With my children, when they are little, I avoided it as much as possible, but there were times I had to take action before it got out of hand and before I was angry, I would swat them, but then explain why they were spanked. And by the time they are 5, if there are spankings, they are so few and far between, it is rare. And by the time they hit 6-7, you should be able to discuss their wrong behavior and turn it around without spanking. And I believe that the rules for spanking along with, don't spank in anger and spank before the behavior is out of control should be just a couple of swats on the fat part of the behind with an open hand. Not enough to bruise, but enough of a sting to get their attention. That is what I believe spanking is for. If you can't speak to them and they are starting on an emotional roller coaster, the spanking gets their attention and then you can speak to them. You should never leave a mark, the spanking itself is not the punishment, it is to get their attention only.
• United States
27 Jul 07
I'm sorry you weren't spanked correctly as a child. A lot of kids aren't. The main reason is what you mentioned: #5. Never spank in anger. If you are angry, even a little bit, both you and the child need to take separate "time-outs" until you cool down. This can be anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes or more. #6. Catch the situation BEFORE it gets out of control. Give a 1st warning. Give a 2nd warning, reminding them that the 3rd warning will be a spanking. Then actually give the 3rd warning if they push the boundary. #7. Have a set limit to the number of gentle swats--2 is a good number, just as carmelanirel said. If you don't set a limit to the number of swats, you may lose control and then it is no longer discipline, it is angry hitting! #8. Your child needs to know CLEARLY STATED rules. If they don't know the rules, then you cannot discipline them for something they don't know. That's why it's important to have a 1st and 2nd time. Sometimes something may come up that you never thought to warn your child about. That's what the 1st warning is about. If they don't need the 1st and 2nd warnings, then it is important to take decisive action. Parents who are used to allowing their children many, many warnings are just making life hard on themselves and their child. A child does not need to be warned more than 2 times. The 3rd time is one too many! #9. I'll reiterate a point I made in the first 4 points (see posts above this one)--it is VITAL that you sit down calmly and talk to your child. If they are not calm, or you are not, then do the time out till you are. The purpose of the talk is to explain why you feel you must resort to a spanking. Tell them why the behavior or offense is wrong, what the correct behavior is which you want to see next time, and that the reason you are taking the time to do this (privately!--not in a store, or in front of friends!) is because you deeply love them, and want them to grow up to be a person who others will look up to, and who they (the child) and you (the parent) can be very proud of. #10. Ages. I also agree with the ages given by carmelanirel. There should be very few spankings, if any, between the ages of 5-6, especially if you have been consistent in your disciplining. If you have a very strong-willed child, you may need to think of creative natural or planned consequences for them instead. What works with one, may not work at all for another. Our first child hated to be sent to her room. However, our second child loved being sent to his room, in fact he would stay there all day long playing alone if we let him. So, you have to know your kids! Each one is unique! My brother (when we were kids a long time ago) was very strong willed, and after being spanked, he would say, "Go ahead, spank me again, it doesn't hurt!" That's when you know that's not the answer for him. In my case, all they had to do was mention the "s" word, and I would cry and be in such distress over the thought, that often my parents wouldn't have the heart to go through with the spanking. The mere thought was enough discipline for me! Good comment, carmelanirel!
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Jul 07
Thanks ASL, but you brought up something I forgot. They have to know what the rules are. If my child did something that they didn't know was wrong, I wouldn't spank, but tell them it was wrong and why. It is also good to have them repeat what you said, that way you know they understand it. This is really a good discussion, these ideas I would hope would cause a new parent to learn the best way to discipline their child.
@abroji (3247)
• India
25 Jul 07
Let me politely say that I am against hurting the children. I have two daughters now married and living seperate with their husbands, but I have never spanked or hurt them physically. I used to councel them. It worked for me. Thank you.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Jul 07
Let me politely say that I am also against hurting children--anyone's children. I have 3 daughters and a son who are all adults, all of whom have been trained by my husband and myself and the LORD to be marriable and employable, to be hard workers and efficient, kind and courteous. The spankings they received as children was not perceived by them as "being hurt" by us, they have never hurt others, and our kids who have children are gentle and tender with them, and very quiet and professional around other children in their occupations. One of our kids is a school teacher, and I am so proud of the professional way she conducts herself in and out of the classroom, as well as the tenderness she shows when they write her cards telling her they "love her" and that she is "the coolest teacher ever!" You see, one can use spanking very sparingly with young children, and then use other types of consequences with them as they grow old enough to do so. And they turn out to be wonderful adults who know how to treat others around them because they were taught self-discipline when they were young. I realize there are other methods of discipline other than spanking, and I have used other methods as well, but I think people need to realize that it is a legitimate form of discipline which God has given us to use, as in Hebrews 12:5-9a "My son, do not despise the discipline of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are reproved. For whom the LORD loves He disciplines, and scourges every son whom He receives. It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons. For what son is there whom a father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human father who have corrected us and we have respected them." I have seen many children today who are not disciplined, and it is a horror to me. I know what those children most likely will become--adults with no respect for authority (whether man or from God), full of themselves, proud, self-centered, never satisfied with what they have, always wanting more. It is a frightening thing to me to see parents whose children are completely out of control. So will go the rest of their lives!
1 person likes this
@abroji (3247)
• India
27 Jul 07
Let me politely say that I am also against hurting children--anyone's children. I have 3 daughters and a son who are all adults, all of whom have been trained by my husband and myself and the LORD to be marriable and employable, to be hard workers and efficient, kind and courteous. The spankings they received as children was not perceived by them as "being hurt" by us, they have never hurt others, and our kids who have children are gentle and tender with them, and very quiet and professional around other children in their occupations. One of our kids is a school teacher, and I am so proud of the professional way she conducts herself in and out of the classroom, as well as the tenderness she shows when they write her cards telling her they "love her" and that she is "the coolest teacher ever!" You see, one can use spanking very sparingly with young children, and then use other types of consequences with them as they grow old enough to do so. And they turn out to be wonderful adults who know how to treat others around them because they were taught self-discipline when they were young. I realize there are other methods of discipline other than spanking, and I have used other methods as well, but I think people need to realize that it is a legitimate form of discipline which God has given us to use, as in Hebrews 12:5-9a "My son, do not despise the discipline of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are reproved. For whom the LORD loves He disciplines, and scourges every son whom He receives. It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons. For what son is there whom a father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human father who have corrected us and we have respected them." I have seen many children today who are not disciplined, and it is a horror to me. I know what those children most likely will become--adults with no respect for authority (whether man or from God), full of themselves, proud, self-centered, never satisfied with what they have, always wanting more. It is a frightening thing to me to see parents whose children are completely out of control. So will go the rest of their lives! I didn't mean children must not be disciplined. They surely should be. What I suggested is that spanking or neating up children are not the only way to discipline children. If you find it suitable you can practice it. After all you are not torturing your children. The punishment is given away with discrimination and it is ok. I was just suggesting that it is better to avoid phyisical handling of a child in the name of discipline. There is no harmto the children if the spanking is with a reason and that reason is explained to them. Thank you.