To Spank or Not to Spank

United States
June 18, 2008 3:24pm CST
I am interested in knowing your thoughts on spanking. Do you believe in it? Why or why not? What forms of discipline do you use instead of or in addition to spanking?
5 responses
@ShealM (388)
• Canada
18 Jun 08
I prefer to use gentle discipline techniques, unconditional parenting and playful parenting techniques (natural family living) and attachment parenting but I'm not perfect. I've on occasion spanked my children only with an open hand and rarely out of anger. I'll swat their hands away from something hot (bbq, stove, hot pot, ect) or something dangerous to them. Spanking should never be done with anger behind it, it's a fine line to cross when anger is involved. It can so easily turn into abuse. Spanking with an open hand without anger involved is not child abuse.
• United States
18 Jun 08
ShealM brings up a good point about spanking out of anger. Have you ever done this? Does it constitute abuse?
@ShealM (388)
• Canada
18 Jun 08
Out of anger, never. Out of mild frustration, perhaps a few times and have apologized for it to them (a great opportunity to teach children that even the adults around them apologize for things they've done too, not to sound too opportunistic about it). Like I said, no one is perfect but out of anger is not something within my morals and values. Is it abuse, dang skippy it could be, especially if it meets the criteria for the definition of abuse like leaving bruises, marks and possibly breaking bones (if taken beyond anger and going into rage). It's too fine a line to spank out of anger. It only takes a split second to do something that one will regret for the rest of their lives.
@kerriannc (4281)
• Jamaica
18 Jun 08
Yes when you spank a child in anger and hurt that child it is abuse. You can spank a child and not abuse that child. It is best that you wait until you have analyze the situation before spanking that child.
@jashley1 (746)
• United States
18 Jun 08
I definately believe in spanking - not all the time and not as the first choice of discipline. I believe, like the others that communication and other techniques should be used first - time outs, talking, toys taken away, etc., it's different for every child. However, when none of those things seem to work, then yes a nice swift spank on the bottom seems to get a point clear across. I agree with the others - spanking should never be done out of anger because you could totally end up spanking harder than you had meant to, and not only that, now you are teaching your child to hit out of anger which is not what spanking is used for. It's a tactic of discipline and to let your child know that his/her behavior is not accepted. Also, I believe spanking should only be done on the tush. It has worked for me as my two girls have not gone through the "terrible two" stages where tantrums and things were done in stores... no no.. I never wanted to have the child in the store that was screaming over toys and such. Some parents are afraid to discipline their own children and feel like they should just "ignore" them and let them cry it out. However, I don't feel like that really teaches the child anything except they can holler and be disobedient and loud with no real consequence. A spanking is necessary every now and then. And yes done in love, and yes make sure to hug your child afterwards (after explaining the reasoning, etc.) so they know you love them.
• United States
19 Jun 08
My siblings and I have been spanked, but only when we really deserve it and now that we are all older, it rarely ever happens. But, when my brothers get stupid and spout off their mouths -- then Mom does take them to the library and has a talk and gives 'em a swat or two, depending on how verbally abusive they have been to Mom. Though, I don't think this should be allowed in schools. I don't think that anyone but the parents have the right to dicipline the children. That said, I'm only allowed to either a) send them down stairs and ignore them or b) put them in time out. Usually, I have to call Mom and make her handle the problem.
• Canada
19 Jun 08
Johnnypenn - now that you bring up the subject about schools, I must say that I too agree that teachers should not have the right to spank children. They can give them detention, chores, lines to write, extra homework and a call home or a meeting with the teachers, but the practice of spanking should really be up to the parents.
@kerriannc (4281)
• Jamaica
18 Jun 08
Spanking with care is recommended. Yes you can spank but not to give physical harm. Some parents beat as if he/she is going to kill the child I would not recommend that. Spanking is good because the child will remember it always. But when you take away television right and put in a corner that is nothing of substance. So I prefer to spank a child.
• United States
18 Jun 08
Spanking and beating are two very different things and should never be confused as one. I do not see spanking as abuse, but beating is.
• United States
18 Jun 08
Before becoming a mother, I thought I was against spanking 100%...but now I've had to re-evaluate that theory. There re moments when a child needs their brains reconnect and it seems the only way to do this is a nice swat to to the button embedded within their bottoms. I have to say, this is a rare occurrence, and never the first...or second option. Time outs, loosing privileges, extra chores or responsibilities...these are all far more productive and effective than meeting every situation with corporal punishment.
• United States
18 Jun 08
I agree with you. I have spanked my daughter (and sure I will my son when he is older). Like you said, sometimes they need their brains reconnected.
• Canada
18 Jun 08
I think spanking is a form of discipline that should be acceptable. Having said that, of course there should be a limit. I think a simple slap on the butt or the hand is fine, as long as it's not using heavy force. It will provide negative reinforcement for the child so they can associate a bad behavior with a punishment. If this is not done and the child is just told "don't do it again", then they won't realize the consequence of their actions. Depending on the severity of the bad behavior, a grounding and taking away of privilege is also acceptable, especially as the child grows older. However, I believe it is very important for the parent to communicate with the child while they are disciplining so the child really knows they they are being punished, otherwise the child will just think they didn't do anything wrong and can't associate their actions with the punishments.