Why don’t we spank our kids anymore?

I received a request from another blogger to do a post here. Specifically, they wanted to know what *you* – meaning you, dear reader – had to say about a certain topic.

Personally, I think that says quite a bit about you. Mainly, that you’re outspoken and engaging and awesome and basically the best freaking blog audience/readership ever. Where’s the fucking award for that?


“i came back and read all of the comments on the “whine” post. i’m curious as to how many who commented ever received a swat on the butt like i did. as a child i knew i didn’t like the way that felt (emotionally and physically) so i stopped stupid behavior. please don’t get me wrong, i am in no way suggesting you beat your child, but i am honestly interested in your readers’ experiences as children themselves. would you consider writing a post and asking them?

i just wonder how we got from a culture where kids got beat for everything (belts and wooden spoons) to a culture where a quick swat once or twice did the job to a culture where no one dare lay a hand on their child and whether or not that is a good thing…”

She brings up a good point.

I know that as a parent, this is something that I struggle with internally. Maybe that in and of itself is enough to exclude me from the Good Mom Club – but it’s the truth.

I spent a good chunk of my childhood in an abusive household. Specifically, I watched my mom get her ass beat on a regular basis. I hesitate to say that I was “abused” – because, well, maybe it was just spanking. It certainly wasn’t what my mom was going through. I never wound up in an emergency room or had to explain away bruises on my face.

But I clearly remember one Easter hoping like hell that someone in my Dad’s side of the family would do something when they discovered a black and blue hand print on my upper thigh.

Whether it was me or my mom on the receiving end, there is no doubt that it was a violent environment. As a result, I find myself caught between two truths:

* I hate violence. Of all kinds.

* I don’t trust my own judgment.

I can have a violent temper. I’m a volatile person by nature – something I’m working on constantly – and when my temper flares I often feel like I have nowhere to put it. I don’t trust myself when I get angry like that and so, as a rule, have decided not to ever spank my kids out of anger.

But I also don’t think that spanking is wrong.

But but BUT – I don’t know how to tell my son “we don’t hit” while I’m swatting him on the ass for hitting. There’s no way I could get past the hypocrisy of that.

Buuuuut – you can’t ignore the fact that we’re raising a nation of entitled brats. Honestly. Let’s talk about our feeeeelings. No. Lets do what the fuck we’re told once in a while because that’s what we do.


I’m caught.

And this blogger raised a good question, I think. Because it seems like the answer – and what’s best for our kids – might lie somewhere in the middle. It seems like, once again, we have a pendulum swinging so far to one side that we’re losing our sense of balance.

I’d like to join in with this person in asking – what do you think?* What were your experiences, and how are you choosing to pass that on to your own children?

Is spanking OK? Why or why not?

*Please note that in this specific case I am not asking for your advice on how to raise my children. My kids are happy, health and fine and not at all in danger of being abused. Seriously.

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  1. See? This is one of those topics people don’t want to be honest if honesty means they’ll be judged. And I thought no one was spanking their kids (no one was talking about it). But occasionally when Max is bad (and I mean beyond time out) he gets a little swat. Not bruising but enough to say hey, I will not stand for this. But you’re right, when you’re angry it’s hard to trust yourself.

    Wow, this honesty thing is a little refreshing. And scary. Thanks for taking me there, thong picture taker.

  2. kapgar says:

    I’ve always been of the opinion that spanking is not necessarily a bad thing when it’s not resorted to all the time and used as a crutch for bad parenting. I think the very occasional spanking doled out thoughtfully and not in the heat of the moment is fine and also lends to a will-they/won’t-they culture in which the child then starts to think a bit more carefully about what they do knowing that the threat of a spanking is a legitimate option. My parents spanked me when I was a kid. Not very often though. I could probably count the times on one hand (possibly bordering on two; oh, and no pun intended). But knowing that it could happen did make me think a bit before doing stupid things.

  3. ~jtm says:

    Ooo, what a hot button topic so early on a Monday morning. I’ll bite. I think a spank is fine. I can see where it can clearly escalate into abuse. When my kids were little they knew that they could act up in public because I wouldn’t dare spank them in public for fear they would be taken from me. I also admit to having spanked a bit too hard once, and that one instance made me re-think my spanking. For me I often did it out of anger and frustration and realizing that made me stop. Then it wasn’t an effective discipline tool.

  4. Spanking is the final resort. I’ve tried correction, I’ve tried time-out (of child and toys), and now? The “pop” to the leg, as we call it. One hard smack on the back of the thigh.

    And you know what? I have no problem with this and if anyone else does? Hey. All of the people can’t be pleased all of the time. My issue is when I see parents just whaling on their kids. The uncontrollable spanking that doesn’t want to end because the parent can’t stop once they’ve started. That’s when it’s scary.

  5. avitable says:

    I don’t think hitting and spanking are the same thing. That’s like saying “we don’t hit” and then having him go to tae kwon do, where they spar. Hitting has to be put in context, and it would not be hypocritical to explain that context.

    I believe in spanking – nothing crazy, but if used as a last resort, it can really have a chilling effect on behavior. I know it did for me, and I have never felt like my parents (or principal, actually) did anything that was all inappropriate.

  6. Marinka says:

    I do think that spanking is bad–not necessarily because it’s abusivce (although obviously it can be, but we’re talking about a swat on the butt here) but because, for me, I find it a lazy parenting choice. I don’t think that we are raising a nation of self entitled brats because we don’t spank. I think it’s alot more complicated than that.
    The only thing that spanking teaches is “I’m stronger and bigger than you are” and I hate that.

    But the real reason that I’ve never spanked my kids is that I never wanted to be in that kind of a relationship with them. My parents smacked me across the face when I was a kid, I think they did it a handful of times, but I’ve never forgotten it. And it affects things between us, you know?

  7. FyreGoddess says:

    I don’t think that spankings are appropriate when used as regular punishment. A lot of that has to do with the hypocrisy issue, but even more has to do with it being an easy way out.

    I think that there are situations where it happens, not because it’s necessary, but because it’s instinctive (for example, my son would get a swap on the butt when he wouldn’t stop running into the street) or because *nothing else works*, but ultimately, it’s easy for the parent. You don’t have to put any thought into the punishment fitting the crime when you spank and it doesn’t really connect the negative behavior to punishment.

    I firmly believe that the only thing that regular spankings serve to teach children is that their parents should be *feared*. Personally, I don’t want my son to be afraid of me, not when he was little and not now that he’s a teenager. I think that respect is a whole lot more important, and I don’t think that being even mildly violent with children teaches them to respect you.

    Too many people see things in black and white. Without spanking, we have raised a generation of entitled brats, but that comes not from a lack of spanking or even a lack of discipline, but from overindulgence. There are plenty of people who were never spanked as a child who grew up to be healthy well-adjusted individuals. That said, I have yet to meet *anyone* who came from an environment where spanking was a ~primary~ form of punishment who either hasn’t questioned whether or not they were abused or doesn’t spank their own kids on a regular basis.

  8. Crystal says:

    I was spanked as a kid. Spankings were a last resort, after the counting. I got spanked more than my kid sister because she was 8 years younger and over the time between our births spanking really started getting the rep as being hardcore abuse.

    If anyone really wants to have a fun time judging my mom, she also disciplined us in public by making us stand in corners if we acted up, it didn’t matter where we were. Oh, and we also wore those kid-leashes. And I turned out fine :)

  9. Wendy says:

    At the risk of being judged, I do have to say that we spank. We have an extremely hard headed 12 year old boy. When he was younger, he did not respond or behave using time out or anything of that nature. He would stare me down and get up out of the time out chair. He responded to a swat on the leg or bottom. We did not take this as the easy way out. The easy way out was his older sister that would behave with just a look. Believe me. I don’t think spanking is the easy way out. It is a last resort I use on a child that does not respond to other means of discipline. In my opinion, my other option is to let it go and just say “well, he’s a boy” or “well, he’s hard headed”, and he’ll wind up in jail one day because he can’t control himself.

    I actually have a hard time with the spankings. Of either child. Usually their dad is the one to spank them. And I have to leave the room. But I also know his behavior cannot be tolerated, and it is our responsibility to teach him that there are consequences to undesirable behavior.

    I will have to say the spankings are getting fewer and farther between. He doesn’t like them. Duh. So behave. We’ve had that conversation many many many times. He is learning that. We’ve come a long way.

  10. DemMom says:

    I have to agree with some of the others, that spankings only show that the parent is bigger and stronger. How does that prove the point that the child should listen/do what they’re told/not hit? The two things are not related.

  11. Angie says:

    I am completely against spanking. We have active and at times quite disobedient children. We are working to assert our authority in many different ways. But physical contact will NEVER be part of that.

    Kids, at least mine and those I’ve had close contact with, see things in black and white, not shades of gray. If we tell them not to be physical with their siblings, friends, or enemies and to use words to resolve conflicts, then what lesson are we teaching them if we are physical with them? That physical behavior is OK for mommy and daddy but not them – hypocrisy, much?! Even if it’s “just a swat,” it’s still physical contact in response to a conflict.

    I was never spanked as a child, but my husband was. His father used the belt on him and was belittling and mean in many different ways. The few stories I have heard of how his father treated him include either the physical or emotional belittling, and even today his father resorts to mean jokes and competitions as his way of interacting with his son. I, on the other hand, have a healthy and very close relationship with my parents. I don’t blame their relationship completely on the spanking, but the whole belittling way of relating to his son, including the spanking, created a dynamic that will never go away.

  12. georgeh says:

    I spanked my son on a few occasions, when words weren’t enough. It’s a parents job to teach their children proper behavior and sometimes they push the limits, just to see if they can ignore you.

    I think it’s important never to spank in anger, but to wait till you can handle the deed rationally in cold blood.

  13. Average Girl says:

    Great question
    I’m a spanker. Although I do know what battles are worth the spanking and those which are not.

    They get a couple swats on the butt, no where else and never with anything other than my hand.

    I too, come from an abusive home. My parents had a belt they named “The Garrison” pretty sick right? My worst memory was when my mom beat my ass BAD with the belt – hands were bruised, ass was bruised and I was still laying in bed hyperventalating, when here she come again – beat my ass again because my brothers lied and said I did something I was not supposed to do. So instead of asking me, she just beat the hell out of me, on top of the whelps I already had. My mom is a strong ass women – it was like getting a beat down from a man. I’ll never forget that. And people wonder how I can just cut my family off…….

    • @Average Girl,

      dear lord, that wasn’t a “spanking” you endured. that was a full out “beating” and just downright abuse. to the point that it was painful to read. but thank you for sharing that story as a very eye opening “what not to do.”

  14. Finn says:

    As I rule I don’t spank.


    A well-timed swat in the butt is good for getting a child’s attention and letting him know you mean business. Especially if it’s used sparingly.

  15. Kris says:

    I agree with you. We’re raising a generation of kids who question authority at every turn. We respected our parents when they said, “Put your coat on and get in the car.” We didn’t complain and say, “I don’t to!” We didn’t ask, “Where are we going? Can I have something? When will we be home?”

    I’m very much of the school of thought that a spanking never killed anyone.

    What I was brought up with is now considered child abuse. Back then we called it discipline.

    And having said all that, I do have a daughter with autism (Asperger’s) that spanking for discipline and yelling just makes her worse, so we have different methods of dealing with discipline with her. Sometimes a swat just to get her broken out of her fit is all she needs. It grounds her and gives her a chance to break her thought midstream, which she is unable to do herself yet. (She’s 8.)

    My older daughter can kick my ass but still gets a swat when she’s out of line.

    For someone to say “you shouldn’t spank when you’re angry” is ridiculous. Of course we’re angry! If they didn’t break the rules, making us angry, they wouldn’t need the spanking, would they?

    There’s more to say, but I have to go let my child out of the closet. They feel entitled to eat today.

  16. ali says:

    i’m a yeller, not a spanker.

    this comes to me honestly, from how i was raised. my grandmother was a yeller, my mom is a yeller…that’s how they punished. my grandparents survived the holocaust (being beaten VERY badly at times) and couldn’t….no matter what…raise a hand to a child. a voice, on the other hand, was okay.

    it’s something i cannot physically bring myself to do. it hasn’t stopped me, at times, from saying to my kids…”you are lucky i don’t spank…because good god, you could use one”

  17. I spank. Because my son knows that I will, I never have to actually do it.

    I just don’t think it should be the first resort. I give two warnings – then he gets the spanking.

    My mom always resulted to spanking as a first resort and definitely went off the handle completely more often than not. Which is why my sister, doesn’t spank. My other sister, tends to go for it as a first resort. They got it a lot worse than I did because I was the “compliant” one when we were younger – where they kept fighting back, I just let her have her say and be done with it.

    But it did scar my sisters very badly because where I got spanked, they got beat.

    Spanking with a hand or spoon, I’m all for it. “Spanking” with a board, paddle, hanger, etc? No way.

  18. noraisins says:

    I don’t agree with spanking a child. I have a 13 year old son and I have never spanked him. I cannot get past how hypocritical it is to teach a child that violence is wrong, yet hit them when they need to be corrected. It is the easy way out, but it can cause confusion and teach lessons other than those intended.

    I was only beat once as a child. I was in the home of a mexican family and a couple of the family members told me (I was 4 at the time) to say something in spanish to my mother’s boyfiend (who was also hispanic). I repeated the words as I was told and then my mother’s boyfriend proceeded to beat me with his belt. Now I am unable to learn any foreign language because of the feeling of terror that comes over me each time I try to speak a word that is foreign to me.

  19. Marie says:

    Never, never, never! It only creates the environment that hitting is ok if a bigger person does it. Please find another way.

    I remember each and every time I got it – and it wasn’t just spankings either!! And we were really good kids compared to some children in today’s world, but there were 7 of us kids, a real houseful in a very small house.

    My children are grown now but I deeply regret the few times I did it (I remember each of those too). Deeply!! Regret!!

    I repeat – Never, never, never!!

  20. Robin says:

    I don’t have kids, may never have kids, so I’m not sure if I have the right to voice an opinion but I shall anyway because that’s what blogging is about. I think spanking can be ok, but ever so rare. I was spanked twice in my whole life I think (as a kid at least ;)) and I’m pretty sure I deserved it. But then I was not abused as a child so someone who was would see it quite differently. I think if I had a kid I would think spanking for something really awful would be justified (don’t know if I’d even do it since you never know these things until you are in the situation) but then my husband is completely against it, he believes in reasoning. I guess, it just depends on the parent, the child and the situation.

  21. Lisa says:

    We are a spanking family. That being said, only our daughter has gotten a spanking (she is 5, my two sons are almost and 4 month). I think she has gotten MAYBE three spankings in her lifetime and none in the last year. Personally, I cannot give her a spanking- I just can’t do it. My husband does the spanking but he is very calm about it- no yelling, no anger, and he barely tapped her booty. It was all for show. Amazingly enough, we haven’t spanked her in over a year now.

  22. AJ says:

    Thank you for your post!

    I grew up in a situation very similar to you, only the parental roles were reversed. My mom is the one with the violent temper, and after my parents divorced, I don’t think my dad ever spanked us. It takes a lot to piss him off, and not to say that we never did, but he’s the much more rational of the two.

    Growing up around that violence, you can’t help but inherit some of it. Like you, I don’t trust myself. I have worked on contolling things, but undoing a volatile temper is a constant battle. So I vowed I’d never spank my kids.

    Then I had kids. And they’re naughty sometimes. And I see other kids whose parents would rather be their friends than the disciplinarian, and I will never let my kids be those kids. So my rule is that they only get spanked on their butt, and only with my hand. No wooden spoons, no belts, no yardsticks, none of the shit I grew up with.

    But like you, it’s hard when you find yourself spanking them, becuase if they’ve done something naughty enough to deserve a spanking, then you’re probably already mad, and your temper has taken over. And that loss of control, even for a brief minute is scary. I never want my kids to feel that. And like you, I sometimes wonder if swatting my 2 year old on the butt for hitting his sister in the face is teaching him a lesson, or if it’s totaly hypocrisy.

    But what do you do? Kids need discipline in a major way these days, so we don’t all have Miley-crazed selfish brats running the world in 10 years.

  23. Laurin says:

    I have been waiting and reading the comments and am as conflicted as ever about this issue. This is definite hot button potential but you’ve drawn me out.

    I talk about this quite a bit with other parents. It comes up all the time and I don’t recall a single conversation where anyone felt like yeah, this is the answer. My friends are about half spankers and half non-spankers.

    Almost everyone I know was spanked as a child. In fact, we all say things like, “If I did that as a child, I would be smacked across the face or knocked across the room.” I was sent to my room to wait for the belt. Many, many times. As I type I am looking at my father and feel nothing but love, admiration and respect for that man. People are amazed at my relationship with my parents. My parents were my biggest fans growing up and they gave discipline when I lost my shit. Period.

    Just like with everything, I think intent is paramount. I never felt abused or unloved. I felt corrected. I knew I had crossed the line. The one time my mother slapped my face it was undeserved. My brother had actually done the deed. I will never forget that moment, but it didn’t harm me. I had a great relationship with my mom and I knew that she was reacting to the situation, not me. That is an important distinction to me. Is the parent-child relationship healthy to the point where the child takes the discipline as intended correction? Or, in the case of the slap, a mistake? Some relationships are unhealthy and then add spanking to the mix and there will probably be problems.

    I can count the times I have swatted my kids’ butts and it was always upsetting for me. I am not certain I am doing the right thing because of how strongly some experts and parents are opposed to it. All I have is my own experience and the collective experience of the people I know well. I know my intent and I know for certain my kids know I adore them.

    I never felt that I was being spanked because my parents were bigger and stronger. I always respected them and I didn’t fear them in the slightest.

    It is interesting to me that when I was growing up, there was very little of the violence you see happening now. That situation where the Lakeland girls beat up that other girl and put out the video? I don’t know of anything like that happening in my town growing up. Are you kidding me? Nothing truly violent ever happened in my school. We knew better. Never once did I think that it was okay to hit others because I was spanked. It is different. I’ve never even had a hair pulling catfight because I was taught to resolve conflict appropriately, even though I was spanked.

    This is so complicated and worthy of much discussion.

  24. Last resort stuff for me. I have struck my toddler, if I remember rightly, on his hand, cause a slight tap can really smart. I don’t think spanking should stop, as even the very fear of it can have a positive effect on behaviour.

    So in short, please beat your kids responsibly.

  25. This is a very touchy topic.

    I grew up in a house where my mother used anything and everything to “get our attention”. Now, my brother and I joke about the times we got shoes thrown at us–you know, like our mom was all “Jerry Springer” before it was cool.

    Seriously, though, it is nothing to joke about. We know this, but how else are we supposed to deal with such nonsense?

    I have a 13 year old. He is VERY hardheaded. Truthfully, hardheaded doesn’t even begin to describe him. He is an only child and sometimes is very, very mouthy, rude and will disobey just because he can. Anyhow. I used to spank him until I was told that I can’t (long story short his dad is NUTS and therefore makes my life hell) or else he be taken away from me. Now, mind you, he got spanked once every few months–if that. It never “left a mark” and it was done as a last resort, you know when time outs, extra chores, grounding, and taking away toys didn’t work.

    As a parent, because I don’t have that threat anymore I feel I have lost some of my parent power.

    I know it will be ok, because I love my son and am going to disapline him other ways. Sometimes they don’t have any immediate effect, or any effect. But there is such a learning curve anyhow.

    Ah well.

  26. very interesting to read everyone’s experiences. thanks for the post.

    i don’t have kids, but if i did i would be the type of parent who gave a stern warning along with the time out (standing in corner or sitting on step, but not sent to their toy filled room), then the “you are thisclose to crossing the line” look, then a swift swat (to the butt only). the reason is because that is what worked for me when i was little. after the age of five i never received another hand to the butt because i knew i didn’t like it so i would quit the undesirable behavior. in addition, after five i was old enough to have other disciplines work (no tv, no friends over, no telephone, no school trip that the entire class enjoyed without me, etc.).

    along those lines, i think each kid’s personality demands that different discipline is used. for one child taking away a video game for a week might mean something, yet you could beat that same kid’s butt until your hand was sore and it wouldn’t matter. matching the punishment to the child, to their age and to the “crime” really matters.

  27. p.s. one thing my mom told me that sticks to this day, “i love you. i will always love you. but i do NOT even remotely like this behavior of yours and i will not tolerate it.” this was sometimes followed with “it is my job to raise a fine, upstanding citizen of this great country and i’ll be damned if you turn out to be _______.” (the blank always had something to do with my shitty attitude or terrible behavior.)
    i love that she always told me i was loved, even if she didn’t like me at that moment…it was the behavior she didn’t like. but i am loved. :)

    • Kris says:

      @hello haha narf, I do think that’s a great point to make. They need to know, no matter what, they’re loved. That changes the whole spanking/discipline view completely in their eyes, I believe. And when they know they deserve it, they take it, understand it, process it, and then next time think twice – knowing the whole time that they are loved, no matter what.

    • Robin says:

      @hello haha narf, that’s awesome. I am going to comment on my childhood, but I just wanted to say that your mom is a class act…I will take that example and use it with my future non-existent children… :)

  28. prettycreatures says:

    I think a line has to be drawn in the conversation to delineate a knee jerk, “I’m frustrated and pissed and am going to take it out on you without thinking” spanking response from a thought out, “this is how I’m going to snap you out of your bad behavior or tantrum and also make a positive lasting impression” spanking. I understand some people might find it hard to see the difference, but there is one.

    My son is 7 now and is old enough that spankings are not a necessary part of my parenting routine. When he was younger though, there were times when one spank on the bottom or smack on the hand was enough to impart to him the seriousness of his actions and also to jolt him out of whatever mindset he was in where he was not considering the larger effects of what he was doing. If I caught him reaching his hand towards a hot stove, I would smack his hand. My smack certainly didn’t hurt as much as a burn would and it also left a mental impression that he would remember the next time he reached for something hot. Once he reached the age where I could reason with him more about his actions we began communicating about what was going on verbally. More like: Here’s what I don’t want you to do and here is why.

    As he got older my son became comfortable telling me when he thought that my behavior towards him wasn’t appropriate (whether it was what I was saying or what I was doing – he doesn’t let me slide a bit). Once he started being able to verbalize that I wasn’t playing by the same rules I asked him to follow then I had to own up to my behavior and change it. That’s only fair and it was valuable because it taught him that I’m not perfect, that he should speak up for himself, that his opinion is valuable and that he has some power in our relationship (although I’m still the mommy). It also opened up for us discussions about why I make the decisions I do. I have no problem telling my son why I am raising him the way I am and why I do the things I do and I think there is value in him knowing that I only have his best interests at heart. That reinforces my love for him in his mind.

    I think the most important thing, no matter how you choose to discipline your kids, is that you can look them in the eye honestly afterwards and feel no shame for how you have treated them. They are kids, but more importantly they are people and the golden rule applies to them too.

  29. Shawna says:

    I don’t spank and I don’t yell for two reasons: I don’t want my children to believe that problems can be solved with hitting or yelling. Instead I get down to their level, look them in the eye and explain again what I them to do, or not do and why. And I do it quietly so that they have to turn down the volume to listen. It has been very effective for us, our children our well behaved, most of the time.

    We also don’t bribe our children. There is no “if you cooperate, you will get this or that” in our house. We want our children to behave simply for the reward of good behaviour. Being proud of what they have accomplished for the sake of personal success not outside reward.

    That said, I’m sure it doesn’t work for everyone. It doesn’t always work for me…I have ground my teeth into a nice fine powder trying to keep my cool in certain situations. My only concern would be that it is a difficult line to draw between a behavioural swat and an actual beating. The child’s perspective is an unknown factor.

    WOW. What a can of worms you have opened Miss Britt!!

  30. Lisa says:

    Delurking to say that I love this debate.

    I remember sitting down with our social worker when we were in the process of adopting our daughter. The question of spanking was raised, and I answered it honestly. Yes, I will spank my child from time to time, particularly if there is a danger involved. My husband went pale, and the social worker commented that she could deny our application for my answer. I explained that if I had a quarter for every time I’ve had to slam on my brakes to avoid the small child dashing away from his/her parent, I’d be a very wealthy woman. There are some lessons in this life that are “short course” only…when it comes to danger..we have a limited window of opportunity to teach our kids…

    The debate on whether or not violence begets violence is an interesting one, and one that will probably never be solved. Every ten or fifteen years or so, a new child-rearing theory becomes popular and suddenly whatever you did or what your doing is wrong…in the beginning or our adoption process I was chastised by the social worker for not subscribing to the “family bed” theory. Two years later… no “family bed” no problem..hell, she even complimented me on my “good sense”.

    We tell our children that hitting is never acceptable… but we’ll accept it if it’s in defense of others…. we’ll tell them that violence is never the answer…then we take them to karate class..

    My husband and I were both spanked as kids. We are sane, rational adults. We both ended up with what we call a “healthy respect” for our parents, much of that based in love and admiration but there was also a dose of fear as well. Interestingly enough, it was never a fear of the spanking itself, but a fear of upsetting our parents so much that they would spank us in the first place. As we look back now, we actually hurt FOR our parents…not for the spanking itself…

    Times change, children and child-rearing change with it. There’s always going to be “new” and “better” theory out there. If what you do in your home works for you and your kids.. then it works..

  31. B.E. Earl says:

    Well, I’m probably not the best person to ask. I don’t have any kids nor do I want any. And I grew up in a household where the biggest form of discipline was the threat of spanking…never the actual act itself.

    I will say that I am often disgusted by public spankings in grocery stores or shopping malls. I hate that shit. But I think spanking without anger as a form of discipline is fine for some parents. As long as it doesn’t become too crazy.

    Never for school officials though…I believe Adam said his principal spanked him. Wow! I would never stand for that as a parent. Or as a child. Fuck that.

  32. Stephanie says:

    I’ll never spank because, similar to what you said, in my house, “spankings” were beatings. There was never a middle ground. They were humiliating, debilitating, and not just swats for not listening. I know I would never do that to my child, but I could never bring myself to even approach that level.

  33. Stephanie says:

    Also, I agree with the above—public spankings are THE worst. My dad was king of them.

  34. Sybil Law says:

    I think so many others have said it better, but yes – an occasional spank is not going to kill a child, or hurt their self esteem for life, or confuse them with hypocrisy.
    I was spanked as a kid – I mean, very rarely, because you know what? I didn’t LIKE it, therefore I behaved or knew when to stop whatever. And also, I did fear my parents a tiny bit for that. Power can be fearful to an extent- and parents have the power, period. If they don’t have any power, or control, then they aren’t doing something right. Of course, that’s completely different than shaking in your boots when your dad comes around you in a bad mood, too. I never dealt with that (thank God).
    I spanked my daughter when she was much younger, and only in the worst of situations, where nothing else I tried worked. Lazy? Maybe. I’m okay with that, too. Because at least I am doing something about the unacceptable behavior. Too many of my friends had kids that drove everyone insane because they’d “talk” the kid to death: “Susie, it hurts my feelings that you won’t put on your jacket”. WTF? Take some damn control and tell Susie to get her jacket on or she can’t be outside with everyone else! But God forbid little Susie gets REALLY out of control, because then it’s ugly all around and you don’t know what to do. I call THAT lazy. People want to be their kids’ friends and want their kids to LIKE them all the time. I had and have a great relationship with my parents. Spankings and the threat of spankings if I didn’t stop were there the whole time, and it never diminished my love for them or my respect for them whatsoever. Maybe they just handled it right – I don’t know. I never felt unloved or anything. And now, I don’t even have to touch my daughter, ever. She has things taken from her instead, because that works a lot more now, but because she received those spankings back in the day, that final motivation to get in line is there, and never even has to be spoken. She’s mostly really well behaved. :) Most of the time. Ha
    But seriously – I could go on and on (I know – I’ll shut up!), but like anything, used in moderation and with a brain, spanking is not a terrible thing.

  35. PatriciaJ says:

    I don’t know what to say. Spanking leads to hitting leads to abuse say the docs. So no spanking, but gosh sometimes I tell them to go to the proverbial moon for a minute until I get control. They know I mean it.

  36. Faiqa says:

    I think violence in *any* form is lazy. It reflects an inability to use the mind on the part of the person inflicting it and a general lack of faith in the person upon whom it is inflicted. It is, in ever case, an attack on self esteem, as well. I’m respectful of people’s choices in parenting, however, I think spanking children is an intellectually lazy act.

    I think we can come up with better ways of teaching a lesson than resorting to violence. And let’s not fool ourselves by assuming that a light swat isn’t violent. If words can be violent, so can a light swat.

    P.S. Please understand lazy parenting does not make a bad parent. I, though usually not in terms of discipline, have been guilty of lazy parenting. Often. So, if a person *does* spank their child, I’m not saying they’re a bad parent. Just so we’re clear. :)

  37. Allyson says:

    I spank my kids. I started when Lucian was about one. With his hand. I would smack his hand because often his “crime” was reaching for something I had told him not to touch. He would look at me with defiance in his eyes and reach for it. I smacked his hand. He got the point. As he got older this moved to swatting his bottom. I tell him what he is doing is wrong. He does it anyway. I tell him to get in the punishment chair. He digs in his heels. I tell him that I’m going to count to three, and if he is not in the punishment chair by the time I reach three, he will get a spanking. Either he does get in the chair, or he gets the spanking. He has a choice. He always has the option of choosing to behave properly. He always has warning of what the consequence will be.

    Most of the time, this is how it goes. And most times, I don’t have to spank him. But he has known nearly all his life that if he doesn’t listen he will get punished. The only time I have not been able to give him ample warning is when he abuses his little brother. He sends Val flying into the wall headfirst, I don’t have time to tell him not to do it again, and I want him to have some incling of the pain he caused his brother. Obviously (or maybe not obviously if you don’t know me, I could be a psycho, I guess), I don’t slam his head into the wall just because that’s what he did to his brother. I’m much to big and strong. I would damage him. Damage is not the point. I swat him on the bottom. I also make him apologize to his brother in full sentences. It has to be, “Val, I’m sorry I slammed your head into the wall. I know it hurts. I won’t do it again. I love you,” or it is not good enough and he goes into the punishment chair for not apologizing. (I coach him on what to say. A ‘repeat after me’ exercise.)

    He will be three and a half next Monday, and he has already learned to apologize without coaching when he realizes what he’s done.

    And a finer point… I do not tell my kids not to hit. I tell my kids not to pick on people. Bigger or smaller, you don’t pick on other people. But I do teach them that if someone hits them, they are to stand up for themselves, either by hitting back, or telling an adult (Lucian usually tells on his brother if he can, otherwise he pushes his brother into the beanbag chair. Val usually hits his brother with the closest toy… he’s gonna be a bruiser.). I will not have them running in fear from every bully in school, and I will not have one of them ruling the other. So, if I see Lucian pick on Val, I encourage Val to stand up for himself. And when Val picks on Lucian, I encourage Lucian to stand up for himself. If it gets out of hand, I step in to lay the hand of justice (generally just separation of the two.) down.

    In the end, my point is, I guess, that spanking is perfectly acceptable in my household. I don’t jump to it first thing (with Lucian- Val’s still to young for the full explanation) anymore, but I believe that letting my children know it is not an empty threat has been beneficial in being able to discipline with a look instead of a hand.

    Last thing, I swear! After each and every punishment, whether it’s spanking, time-out, yelling so loudly, it’s scary, whatever. After each and every punishment, I ask Lucian if he knows what he did wrong. If he does he tells me, and I say something to the effect of, “That’s right. Now you won’t do it again, right? Good. I love you, honey.” If he doesn’t, I tell him, have him repeat it, and then I finish with the above statement. It always ends with “I love you.”

  38. Jay says:

    I think a lot of the aversion to spanking has come from the beatings so many of us took as kids. I’m not opposed to spanking as long as it isn’t abusive and doesn’t escalate.

    But, spanking a kid while angry is a bad idea. You have to be in your right mind or you risk going too far.

    One thing I totally agree with though is parents being allowed to refuse to let teachers administer spankings. The idea that my parents allowed a teacher to take a big wooden paddle and beat us with it is pretty outrageous. Letting other people, strangers, put bruises on your kids? That’s freaking wrong.

    And the way female teachers would go get a coach to deliver the whipping cause they weren’t strong enough to hurt the kid is down right abuse!


    Okay, kind of got off topic there. Actually, I saw a woman blast her kid at about shoulder height at Wal-Mart the other day. I should blog about that. Thanks for reminding me.

  39. Allyson says:

    Sorry, that was practically a blog post.

  40. Rebekah says:

    I’m glad you brought this up. Everybody certainly has their own opinion about this issue. We are a spanking family. The situation rarely ends up in a spanking, but the threat of one certainly gets the attention of our 4 year old. My parents and I often joke that I was spanked everyday of my life until I was 12. My sister, on the other hand, rarely received a spanking (if ever). My personality demanded a stronger punishment. My sister would melt just by a stern look. Every child is different and needs to be punished accordingly. There is a difference between spanking and beating. I understand how in anger we can cross the lines, but not all spankings are beatings. Do I want my children to fear me? No. But I do want them to fear the consequences of their actions.

  41. I do not spank. I do not think kids should be spanked. I was spanked as a child and it made me resentful and angry and allowed me to focus on the behavior of my parents rather than my own.

    Once I smacked my son’s bottom out of extreme frustration and I will never forget the look on his face. “I trusted you to always keep me safe – - discpline, yes, but never intentionally hurt me.” Of course that’s my own projection, but still . . .

    Discpline? Yes. Consequences? Absolutely. We are raising spoiled kids NOT because we don’t spank, but because we don’t consistently enforce the rules. A thoughtful, engaged parent can come up with consequences (many of which require a lot more engagement by the parent than the spank), but are probably more effective. Taking away computer time, not going to that party, whatever . . . it makes the kid think about his behavior and think twice next time . . . especially if CONSISTENTLY applied and enforced. AND it does not teach that violence is a tool of any resort.

  42. Robina says:

    I was abused as a child, until I was 17 and told my mother, to her face, with her hand raised, “don’t ever fucking touch me again”. Her favorite was a razor strop, cut into six think straps. She beat us till we bleed. She often yanked me around by my hair, telling me she hated me, wished I was never born, and should just us all up for adoption. I never knew love from her. EVER. Only hate and pain.

    Having said that, do I spank? I’ve spanked all my kids at least once. On the butt. Just one or two whacks, and ONLY when nothing else worked. If putting them in time-out or sending them to their room only to hear kicking againt the wall, things being thrown, I would spank. It always worked and stopped the behavior. But I’ve never used a belt. I just couldn’t, ever. and I do believe there are children out there who SHOULD be spanked instead of being talked to. For some, talking does NOTHING!

  43. Hilly says:

    Okay I don’t have children so my opinion on this is very limited. All of my exposure *to* children has been with someone else’s so of course there is no way in hell spanking ever entered my brain…at all.

    From the perspective of someone who was a child once though, spanking never really did any more to the naughty little girl in me than anything else did. In fact, I got to a point where I’d have rather had a swat on the butt than a 3 hour lecture on what a bad kid I was. But then again, my mom was highly mentally abusive so yanno.

  44. In my opinion, I feel it is never ever okay to spank, smack, hit, or belittle your kids.
    I was raised in a violent household as well and I had the choice to follow in my mother’s footsteps or stop the cycle.
    Obviously I chose the latter. I’ve read that it is ineffective anyway.
    My kids aren’t perfect, and neither are Daren and I but what works for us, may not work for another family, so I find it difficult to really talk about the subject with other mothers. People get right angry if you disagree with their style of parenting.
    Here’s the thing: I don’t hit my dog. Why would I hit my kids?

  45. Fogspinner says:

    I do believe in spanking within reason. I think, Britt, you have a good reason not to, in that you don’t feel comfortable with your anger. I found I only spanked my son once. After that the “threat” of it was enough to straighten up all bad behavior. The one time he did get spanked? When he stalked across the room and bit me on the leg. He got bit back, spanked, and put on time out. So sue me. He never bit again.
    However, my son was all about the self punishment. All I had to do is tell him to “go get me the spoon” and that was enough to put an end to bad behavior. As he got older time outs worked.

    Pffttt… now he’s a teen… any ideas? LOL. Thankfully I (am going to regret saying this out loud) don’t have to punish him. He’s a really good kid.

  46. Kris says:

    Britt, I think next time you should pick a hard topic like teaching your kids not to lie. (Bug just hit me with this one this weekend – “Well you lie, too, mommy! A fiblet is still a lie, right?” referring to keeping the secret from her father about what we got him for his birthday, etc.)

    It’s never black and white. Never. LOL!

  47. Donna says:

    I guess I grew up in a generation where it was ok to spank. I had my moments where I was a horrible bad ass and got my butt whipped a couple of times. My dad was a big believer in spare the rod spoil the child. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t get beat on a regular basis. But when I did, I knew I was in for it. 3 whips with the belt and my shit was stopped, right quickly. I remember I got one “paddling” at school for being a brat. It was deserved, I’ll admit that too. But it was one lick and I think I cried more from embarrasement. Now days they say that’s wrong. Sometimes it warranted, I think. I don’t think we need to beat our children mercilessly but at the same time, a spank or two when really needed would help. But not with a belt. Geshh that hurt. You know this is a great topic.

  48. Robin says:

    Looking back, I wasn’t spanked – I was beat…..Joe Jackson style. Seriously. I can somewhat laugh about it now, but I remember being chased around the house with my mother or father beating me with a belt, or my mother sending me outside to get a switch from the shrubbery outside….I had welts and pain…sometimes visible, sometimes not. I remember one time my mother freaked out after she beat me because she left huge welts all over my legs (The offense? I mixed Windex and Ammonia together trying to make magic potions and spread really noxious fumes throughout the house), then sent me to school in a skirt with no stockings…she swore the social workers from DIFS were going to come inspect the house. They didn’t though, but I am sure my 2nd grade teacher saw that shit.

    To be honest, I never thought that it was out of the ordinary – all of my friends got beat this way and we just compared stories. And if you ask my parents, that’s what they got when they were younger (probably worse, to be honest) and they don’t regret the beatings. Do I plan on spanking my kids? Depends on the situation.

    I do believe that a good spanking does work if the situation calls for it….i.e. your 4 year old runs in front of a speeding car or they endanger themselves in some way or another. A swat on the booty? Yeah. One swat and that’s it. However, being chased around the house being screamed at with the belt swinging? Absolutely not, and if I had even 1/4 of the balls that I have now that I had then, I would have called social services on my parents in a heartbeat. I love my parents, but I will admit they were quite lazy in the child-rearing department.

  49. Honeybell says:

    I grew up in a house in which sometimes I was spanked (open hand on butt), and sometimes I got beaten (big ass leather belt complete with redneck buckle). I guess it just depended upon the day. Consistency was not my parent’s strong point.

    Mid winter when I am very pale, I can still see the thin marks on the backs of my legs from that fucking belt.

    The rule in our house is one swat for every year old, and 10 is too old to spank. I’m not above spanking my boys, but to be honest, I can’t remember the last time I spanked anyone around here, other than my husband. ;)

    My four boys just seem to respond better to disciplines like time out, taking away TV or PlayStation, or making them write an essay about their behavior (I save that one for my oldest, he hates writing, and would probably prefer a spanking).

    In the end, that’s what it’s about: discipline, learning what’s appropriate behavior and what is not. NOT hitting my kid because I’m pissed off.

  50. brittany says:

    I, too, have quite a temper, and I hate i when I find myself screaming when I always told myself I wouldn’t do that to my kids the way my dad always did.

    And, I can honestly say, like you, I don’t trust myself, and it’s always in my mind.

    I am, however, a butt swatter. I tried time-out. It didn’t work for me, and I found it taught the kids nothing. I found that with time-out, I was CONSTANTLY using it, and I felt I was the one doing all the work with it, the kids were just fighting me the entire time. uselsss. Now, I find I spank much less, as in, it’s more effective and used much less frequently.

  51. Mr Lady says:

    I’m a spanker. Kind of. When I absolutely have to. Even then, I don’t do it lightly. And they know it hurts me more than it hurts them. Honestly, I’ve never spanked to hurt, just to remind them who’s bigger when that needs to be reiterated.

    A long time ago, I wrote a post about it. I should probably update that sucker.

    Sorry about the links. It’s that or write the next Great American Novel in your comments. :)

  52. I’m not opposed to spanking and have been known to give a little swat when need be… but I think you should only spank if you know you can control yourself. My dad definitely went too far on occasion. Like you, I would not consider it abuse, but if it had been any more frequent… then, well… maybe? Regardless, I turned out happy, healthy, balanced and all that jazz. So, ya know… I think spanking’s ok and sometimes totally necessary.

    Go ahead. Flog me for saying it! LOL.

  53. jenn says:

    OK… totally great blog here.( and I applaude you for being so candid) I have minimal anger issues.. but I also have 3 kids… 2 of whom are not always the best behaved… I have never laid a hand on them other than as a safety measure… (to pull them out of the road or push them away from the boiling pot on the stove.) I grew up in a family that didnt hit.. therefore I dont. Hubby was brought up in a very abusive household… therefore he doesnt hit…. so it might work for some… I am NOT opposed either but just cant bring myself to do it!

  54. kel says:

    You know, I don’t have kids, so some would say that gives me to place to say anything. But I disagree. I have worked with children, some really messed up (as in too violent to live at home or go to public school) for over 10 years. And what I have to offer is the fact that all you’re doing when you spank a kid is asserting your own physical power over him/her. Which A. takes aways all of their power and therefore choices and B. causes anger. There are many other consequences to physcial punishment, but the bottom line is that we should be teaching our children to choose to do right and spanking doesn’t teach anything. It simply stops (temporarily) an undesireable behavior. It also does nothing about teaching respect. It teaches a kids not to get caught. Anyway. My point is that there are many consequences that have much furhter-reaching lessons than spanking. And as a teacher, I’d love to see some students come to school with that sort of respect, not the fear that comes from spanking.

  55. kel says:

    Oh…and as for the entitlement thing? STOP GIVING YOUR KIDS EVERYTHING THEY WANT! It’s okay for kids to go without. Teach them to earn things. Teach them the value of a dollar. Don’t teach them that they deserve this or that simply because they want it.

  56. Lee of MWOB says:

    Great great post and deserves all kinds of spin-off posts to widen the conversation. I haven’t tackled the spanking thing in the written word yet but boy have I thought a lot about it.

    My dad wacked our asses with a belt. Nice and hard and man did it hurt. Now that I’m a parent, I admire that he had the nerve to do it – I can’t imagine using a belt on a 5-year-old. But you know what? It made sense to me. It was always used as the last resort. Never done in an irrational rage. My brothers and I would be fighting, not listening and the whole thing would get out of hand. That is until, my dad would start taking his belt off. He always wore a belt.

    I think spanking can and does work and it does not have to scar a child. I love my parents dearly. They raised four independent responsible kids into the same kind of adults. We are a close family. It was always clear who was in charge in our childhood home and we knew when we had pushed it too far, there was a serious punishment that hurt like hell.

    We don’t do that to our kids now of course. It’s hard enough for me to spank them. But I have on occasion done it and I can honestly say – it does get them back in line. And I agree with Mr. Lady – always harder on the mama than on the kids. No doubt.

    Great topic.

  57. Julia says:

    I don’t have kids of my own yet, but I plan to. and as a teacher I’m in contact with kids everyday.

    I can count on one hand the number of times my dad ever spanked me. Mostly because at some point he realized that I didn’t respond to physical pain. As I got older, he’d give me a shove if I was being a pain in the ass. And I’d look back at him like I owned the world and say “what? you’re gonna hit me?” laugh and say “go ahead. I dare ya.” he knew he got much better results if he screamed.

    the previous comments are right. we’ve got to do something about the entitled little brats that are turning up. spanking, if used correctly, could be a solution. However, the hypocrisy argument is valid. I called my dad on that one at some point. Asked him why he thought he could tell me I was stupid and worthless if that was not acceptable behavior for anyone else. I asked him why he got to shove me if me shoving him back or shoving my stepsister was not okay. he had no reasonable explanation and slowly but surely stopped.

    in most cases, I think, taking a step back is an important first step. we’ve all got a story of our parents going straight to punishment without waiting for our side. that said, sometimes there is no explanation. dashing in front of cars or reaching for the hot burner.

    once they can understand, talking to kids is surprisingly effective. my second graders can be reasoned with even give some unreasonable, school district policy rules about what shapes legos can and cannot be built into (guns and war related things are a BIG no-no). none of the “it hurts my feelings when you don’t wear a coat” but “I know it’s not what you want to do, but those are the rules that we have to follow. you can follow them, or you can ignore them. just know that ignoring them doesn’t do anything fun for you.”

    aaaaand I just wrote a mini-novel. wow.

  58. I recently made an off the cuff comment on my blog about non-smacking parents and how I thought they were often making a rod for their own backs. I found myself confronted by an absolute tirade from people convinced that I was advocating child abuse. In order to defend my stance, I had to explain myself further… here is my considered response to ‘smacking’ children: (PS- it is very brave of you to bring up this obviously very contentious topic)

    Whacking, walloping, beating, ear-tweaking, spanking, back-handing, hitting, caning, striking, thumping, belting and all the other horrible terms that this discussion has bought out are not what I personally consider ‘smacking’.

    A smack should never be administred to harm or hurt a child and it should NEVER be administered in anger, frustration or loss of control on the part of the parent. It can however be a useful and effective parenting tool when dealing with very small children who have no capacity for reason.

    Small children (particularly toddlers) do not have the communication skills nor the ability to apply logic regardless of how intelligent (or emotionally intelligent) we may credit them with being. There is a period where small children are extremely mobile and yet very much lacking an ability to adequately impart information or process the same, and it is during these toddler years where the use of the stern voice and the shock of a small smack to the bottom can be a quite effective behaviour modification technique.

    Given that parenting is such a subjective business and there are no hard and fast rules for bringing up the perfect well adjusted and socially acceptable human being, nor is there a massive box of parenting tricks for one to rely on I feel it is hideously unfair to lambast parents who choose to smack in a deliberated and considered manner.

    I do not condone abusive heavy handedness on any level (nor do I believe that any truly loving parent would), but a smack that reinforces to a toddler the seriousness of certain infractions can be very useful. A very stern tone and a small smack to the bottom should be tantamount to bringing out the heavy artillery.

    Did I smack my Small Child? Yes. Did he ever come to physical harm from it? No. Was he smacked often? Not really – perhaps several times a month but it certainly wasn’t a regular part of his day. Did he rapidly learn to obey his parents? Yes. Does he still get smacked? No, as soon as the Small Child’s communication and comprehension skills started to develop it was no longer necessary.

    If you have to smack a child over the age of about 5 or 6 then give up now – you’ve probably already lost the battle.


  59. Miss Britt says:

    I can’t even tell you all how absolutely amazed and impressed I am by all of you.

    This topic, I realize, has the potential to get out of hand and cause knee jerk reactions. And yet everyone has kept their comments on topic and respectful – even though there are obviously many different opinions.

    Y’all give me hope in humanity and stuff. :-)

  60. Miss Britt says:

    Also know that I have read every. single. comment as they’ve come in. I can’t decide if I should respond to each of them, or just stand back and let you be heard on your own without my big mouth clouding things up.

  61. Dan says:

    I think it is a matter of degree. A quick swat to get attention and break out of an emotional stasis loop is OK, the problem is when it proceeds beyond that to the belt strap and board and …

    I really think it is like most things – fine in moderation and control, hideous if it goes too far.

  62. Great topic and great discussion!

  63. it seems as though borysSNORC ™ hit upon a great point. spanking is for LITTLE kids. after kids are in school they are really getting too old for a swat on the butt. and that is when things tend to cross the line into beatings.

  64. oh shit…i actually said “hit” upon a great point. didn’t mean to do that. sigh. can i blame the full moon?

  65. SciFi Dad says:

    I don’t hit my kids, ever. Never have, never will. Violence begets violence, not understanding, not comprehension, not obedience. Fear? Perhaps.

    I agree, we are raising a generation of entitlement, but honestly? A lot of people of our generation act that way too, even if they got an ass whupping as a kid. It’s not whether or not we spank that makes kids that way, it’s the way the world has evolved (the so-called “information age”), where EVERYTHING is immediate, customizable, and, for the most part at least, accessible. People have come to expect everything quickly, and the way they want it. The concept of earning something has become foreign.

    I don’t know what the solution is, but I don’t think spanking is it.

  66. Shelli says:

    I rarely spanked my kids. There were times when I would’ve liked to beat the living crap out of Ashley. Which is why I would always let Jason deal with her. He was far more controlled than I would have been.

    The only time I spanked my kids was when they were doing something that could hurt them–running out into the street, poking at an outlet, etc. My reasoning was that it would send them a message that if they continued that behavior, it could hurt them physically. I didn’t see a point in spanking a child when they were hitting or being violent in another way. “You can’t hit anyone, but I can hit you for doing it.” Doesn’t make much sense.

  67. I think with little kids, nothing else is going to get their attention. My wife insists that we should only do “time out,” however, but I always tell her that when I was a kid, I thought “time out” was for pussyboys. I always got the belt. And look how great I turned out!

  68. Lorelai says:

    Hmmm, I was spanked as a kid. For doing things I should not have done. I was also at an age (and had a temper) that did not mix with just “getting down on their level and talking to them calmly”. I would have smacked whichever parent in the face. Well, my parents knew that, and thus the spanking commenced. Never more than once, and usually because I had smarted off.

    This seemed to work for my older brother and myself. Once we were older, 9+, we didn’t get spankings because we realized we didn’t like them. My younger brother was disciplined the same as we were, but he kept going. No need to elaborate, but my parents were soon in “Tough Love” learning how to deal with an out of control teenager.

    As for my son, he does get the occasional spanking. He never got them until he was old enough to know when he was doing something wrong. He also now realizes that if he continues a behavior I don’t like, he will get a spanking after he has been warned. Now he comes and lays down without whining for a diaper change, and stops before he runs out into the middle of the road.

    Spanking is not bad when its controlled, and used as a last resort. I am also a yeller, although I talk at a loud volume as my regular talk. I routinely scream into a pillow until I calm down. That works when he is whining and not telling me what he wants.

    Spanking may not be the answer, but if your child is running around a store tearing things off the racks/shelves, and you don’t do anything but apologize to the store employee and walk away, you need to get started on something because what you are currently doing isn’t working.

    That’s all from me.

  69. Poppy says:

    I think spanking should be reserved for adults.

    I’m not even kidding.

    Adults understand.
    Adults can defend.
    Adults have a voice.
    Adults can walk away.
    Adults can spank back.

    Kids can too, but they are not empowered.

  70. Turnbaby says:

    I think it’s an individual choice based on the individual child and what works. I think it works best with little kids as an attention getter.

    Sometimes when I see ‘parents’ who seem mostly concerned about being a ‘friend’ rather than a parent to their children I am overcome with an urge to spank them.

    And not in the good way;-)

  71. Turnbaby says:

    I wanted to add this—if you are a step parent—don’t do it.

  72. Caroline says:

    I posted about this not so long ago. Why? Because me, ms. “I’m never gonna hit MY kid”, snapped and swatted my 2 yo. on the bum one afternoon. It was not hard, I don’t even think he noticed really. But I did. What bothered me wasn’t that he was swatted (he’s been clobbered by his brother a whole lot harder), it was that I snapped. Its one thing if I am OK with spanking and its part of how I deal with my kids (b/c I too can’t say its always that wrong). But its NOT what I do and have never been ok with it. But I snapped and wanted to hit. Thats not ok. And hitting in that moment was only to release MY anger, it wasn’t about teaching my kid a damn thing – excpet that hitting when you’re really REALLY mad is ok. Anyway, I need to forgive myself for these types of moments, they happen to everyone. But I want to be very aware of how I react when I get pushed – because I am suuuure it will happen again. I need to prepare myself to be the grown up and deal the way I choose to, not the way my anger wants to react to it. Does that make sense? God I hope so, I’m trying to raise some kids here! :)

  73. FyreGoddess says:

    I have to say that I’m astounded by the people who are saying that they use spanking as a last resort – after making threats. If the threats aren’t believed, then they spank.

    I don’t consider that a last resort, by any means. That’s a first resort. Counting to 10 or saying “Stop” or even saying “If you don’t stop, it’s going to go bad for you” isn’t any kind of discipline, it’s what you do after those things aren’t heeded that makes for a first or last resort.

    All of the parents who are telling themselves that they don’t resort to spanking until AFTER they’ve warned their child are deluding themselves. Someone, and I couldn’t find it again after I read it said (paraphrasing), “I spank only after I’ve tried time outs, taking away privilege,etc and none of that has worked.” That person has my respect. That is truly a last resort when you make every attempt to get through to a child, to impart the importance of whatever the issue at hand is and when it fails, you try something else.

    I do not understand the mentality that causes counting or warnings to be considered enough of a prelude to spanking that it’s a “last resort”.

    I’m not saying that people who spank are wrong. Frankly, I’m not even judging the people who spank as a primary punishment, but unless you’re actively attempting other forms of discipline prior to hitting your kid, it is NOT, in any way, a “last resort”. It’s your first line of defense.

  74. Jerri Ann says:

    I didn’t read all the comments because geez girl, you know how to stir some comments…but….I am throwing my two cents in the ring for whatever….

    I was spanked out of anger. That’s when it is wrong. Period. I’m not a Bible thumper but there is that wording there that says something along the lines of spare the rod…but again…I am so opposite of any Bible thumper out there.

    However, I would like to give you all an example. My youngest son is 4 years and 3 months. He is not potty trained. I REFUSED to spank him for not using the potty. That just seemed wrong. No one supported me. My husband threatened to spank him. I had a hissy fit on him after the kids went to bed that night.

    He agreed to no spanking for potty issues. We just learned last week that he has sensory issues and guess what…all the spanking in the world would not have helped this problem……

    So, with that said, when he was mad because I wouldn’t pick him up one day and he chose to throw a chair at me (a little kid chair but still, the kid has a temper, holy cow), I did take him away from the other children (it was in the classroom in the daycare we owned at that time)and I took him outside (couldn’t spank him on daycare grounds, even though he belonged to me, DHR rules) and I wore his little tush out with my hand.

    I broke my thumb. Yes, he was wearing a pull-up and no I didn’t pull it down. My broken thumb healed. The tendons did not. Three months later I had to have surgery to work on my thumb. And, later the spat on the leg with the other hand caused him to say, “hey dat hurt”….I was like well duh…

    Let’s just say that in my opinion, the punishment should fit the crime. In my husbands eyes, if it works, use it, no matter the crime, just use it.

    So, very rarely does one of us discipline a major unacceptable behavior without consulting the other first. And, by doing so, we avoid spanking out of anger. Because, by the time we are back together and can relay the behavior, we’ve calmed the %#@% down and we can get on with how bad the behavior actually was.

    Ok, shutting up and stepping off of my soapbox.

  75. I do spank my kids, but only when the offense is so bad, no other punishment will do.

    Example #1: kids don’t clean their room when I tell them = loss of tv/computer for a week or until the room is clean, whichever I’m in the mood for, and depending on how messy the room is.

    Example#2: we go to the grocery store and Kaitlyn decides she wants a toy or a some crap snack that is way to expensive because she saw it on TV. She throws a fit when I say no, hurtling her body everywhere and knocking food off the shelves, and people are looking at her like she’s possessed by a demon. (yes this has happened) = a trip to mommy’s knee and a few swats on the butt with the wooden spoon once we got home.

    with the second situation, she got the wooden spoon (I’m a non-conventionalist, and my hand doesn’t suffer)…3 swats was all it took. I don’t even have to really spank them, all I have to do is threaten, and my kids shape up. Because they know that my resorting to spanking means they went WAAAAAAAAY over the line. And most of the time my kids know not to go to far, because they fear the sting of the spoon.

    Honestly, if I had tried to take away privaleges or do a time out for her in the store (where property was “damaged” by being knocked off the shelf), it wouldn’t have done her any good and she would have though she could get away with it anytime, all she would get was a few minutes in a corner or no tv….stuff like that does not fit those types of punishment in my opinion.

    When they were smaller, they got swats on the butt through a diaper if they acted out in public, or bit, or whatever. They didn’t like it, so they learned really early not to push too far, and they are good kids for 99% of the time. The little bit of fear-instillment they have, is enough to keep them on the right track.

    So no, I am not against spanking, it’s just got to fit the situation. I think that the punishment has to somehow affect them in a way to where they will not want it to happen again. And it cant always be severe, because then the children will constantly be living in fear.

    And like I said, my kids are pretty good kids, even though I didn’t spank them as much as my husband would have liked…it was definitely more than my parents wanted me to do. My brother (their youngest), who they never spanked, is constantly compared to my children by other family members! As in, “maybe if you raised him liek Cissa raises her girls, he wouldn’t be the way he is now. you should have spanked him a few times.” He is the reason I do spank my kids when it’s called for — I don’t want them to turn out like he did!

  76. Kailey says:

    I was spanked once as a child. After I ran out in to the street without looking both ways or waiting for my mom, I was 2. I never did it again. I also went through a biting phase that didn’t stop until my dad bit me back. In both cases the pain was enough to stop the behavior, but not enough to hurt even 2 minutes later and definitely no where near enough to leave a mark. So I say sometimes pain is a viable logical punishment, but only when well thought out and carefully executed and used sparingly. I don’t have children yet, I don’t know if I would be able to spank them if I decided that that was the appropriate punishment…

  77. Courtney says:

    I don’t have a serious problem with spanking as a last resort on a younger child, but I don’t know that it’s something that I’ll use myself. I can see myself doing it as an out of anger reaction and I don’t want that. If I do wind up giving a light smack, I want it to be well thought out and not reactionary. And given time to think about a reaction and/or punishment, I can probably come up with something better than a spanking.

  78. I think there’s a common misconception in the world that no spanking = spoiled. The reality is that no boundaries = spoiled. There are dozens of different ways to discipline kids, none of which require physical force. There are also dozens of ways to reward kids for good behavior, and I don’t see those used very frequently when I’m around other parents.

    I wouldn’t hit my dogs if they did something wrong. Most people wouldn’t hit their pets, and they’d be horrified if someone suggested they do it. I don’t understand why people are willing to hit children, when children are emotional beings, unlike animals. How do I discipline my dogs? I redirect them when they’re behaving badly and reward them for good things. And we PRACTICE good behavior with our dogs. No one practices good behavior with their kids — have you ever noticed that?

    Sorry, I’m rambling. We don’t hit our kids. My husband had a horrific childhood, and mine wasn’t too sweet, either. Neither of us is willing to figure out where the line between “just a swat” and “abuse” actually lives. We just try to be creative parents. So far, it seems to be working nicely.

  79. Anonymous says:

    I have a son who is 17 now and a wonderful, creative individual. I spanked him occasionally as a small child, but only as a last resort – usually to keep him from harm (running into the street, etc.) If you spank a child ( not abuse, spank) when they are young – up to 6 years old or so, you won’t have to do it when they are older.

    I have never treated my child without dignity. He would much rather receive a couple of swats on the butt than to be subjected to me yelling at him or keeping him on a leash!

  80. jen brister says:

    Spanking, in moderation, is fine. If you spank occasionally when the child is young – before the age of 6 or 7 – you won’t have to do it when they get older.

    I have always treated my child with dignity. He would much rather by swatted a couple of times than to be demeaned and screamed at or led around on a leash!

  81. jen brister says:

    sorry- double comments – please delete the first one.

  82. Lexi says:

    My oldest son has autism, which makes discipline very difficult indeed.

    Because we can’t effectively communicate (i.e. reason) with him, sometimes we are forced to resort to spanking when nothing else will stop his behavior.

    I try to limit this to when his behavior is dangerous to himself or someone else (like jumping from the top of the fridge or running into the parking lot).

    But…it’s not painful so much as it is embarrassing for him. (It’s much more effective if, say, grandma is there to witness it). I don’t feel it’s belittling him; a small dose of shame can be a good thing. He should be ashamed of the way he behaved. Even as an adult, he should shy away from shameful behaviors.

    If, God willing, his little brother (now 13 mos, so discipline doesn’t quite yet apply) is “typical” (not autistic), I’ll be a complete rookie at the whole ballgame, and who knows how I’ll feel about this issue?

  83. whall says:

    Discipline is discipline.

    Humans can be negotiated with. Animals require non-verbal method of correction (ie, spanked when necessary).

    When children act like animals, they’ll be treated like animals. When they’re ready to act like humans, they can be treated like humans.

    • Sara says:


      Humans are animals! Albeit higly evolved animals, but animals none the less. I believe that’s the heart and soul of this debate.

      Ocassional, reasonable spanking (1 to 5 firm swats on the backside)when warranted is not a bad thing at all. It teaches children a valuable truth about life – It is always better to try and solve problems with words and reason BUT sometimes, force is neccesary.

  84. rapnerd72 says:

    I come from a family of disapline. My whole family believed in spanking, but really the way I see it it was disapline. I do believe hitting your kidz is wrong but spanking is another thing. I used to be hit with belts, switches and even an extension cord which was kind of extreame. My family believed in the “old school” ass whop’n. But there were times when I get hit when I didn’t deserve it. My parents sometimes took their anger and agressions out on me. Was the same with my sister to a degree. And it did have an effect with my relationship with my parents. I don’t see them all the time cause I’m constantly reminded what they put me through. And I was a pretty good kid. I did get into trouble like any other kid, but my mother had this fear I was gonna end up like one of them street thugs which I could even stand her thinking like that. I grew up with some pretty strick disapline. If I had kids of my own I wouldn’t spank my kids unless I had to. But there is a problem going on today. Kidz today are growing up with hardly no disapline because there are too many kids having kids. Kids today don’t know too much about consequences like we I did when I was growing up. I believe there is a time to hit your kids, not to abuse them, but to wake them the hell up and let them know whoz running this outfit. I know some kids who hit their own parents cause they don’t get what they want. And hitting your parents is a true sign of disrespect and you can can’t let that slide. Sometimes I’m afraid of being a father cause I keep having feelings that people don’t take me seriously. But if I’m in that momment you got to do what you have to get the kids to listen. It’s not about abuse, itz about DISAPLINE.

  85. PDeverit says:

    Child buttock-battering vs. DISCIPLINE:

    Child buttock-battering for the purpose of gaining compliance is nothing more than an inherited bad habit.

    Its a good idea for people to take a look at what they are doing, and learn how to DISCIPLINE instead of hit.

    I think the reason why television shows like “Supernanny” and “Dr. Phil” are so popular is because that is precisely what many (not all) people are trying to do.

    There are several reasons why child bottom-slapping isn’t a good idea. Here are some good, quick reads recommended by professionals:

    Plain Talk About Spanking
    by Jordan Riak,

    The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children
    by Tom Johnson,

    by Lesli Taylor M.D. and Adah Maurer Ph.D.

    Most compelling of all reasons to abandon this worst of all bad habits is the fact that buttock-battering can be unintentional sexual abuse for some children. There is an abundance of educational resources, testimony, documentation, etc available on the subject that can easily be found by doing a little research with the recommended reads-visit http://www.nospank.net.

    Just a handful of those helping to raise awareness of why child bottom-slapping isn’t a good idea:

    American Academy of Pediatrics,
    American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
    Center For Effective Discipline,
    PsycHealth Ltd Behavioral Health Professionals,
    Churches’ Network For Non-Violence,
    Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
    Parenting In Jesus’ Footsteps,
    Global Initiative To End All Corporal Punishment of Children,
    United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    In 26 countries, child corporal punishment is prohibited by law (with more in process). In fact, the US was the only UN member that did not ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  86. whall says:

    People who have so much time on their hands that they can write about spanking probably should have been spanked when they were avoiding doing real work.

    Scenario 1:
    Mom: Go clean your room
    Kid: No
    Mom: Please?
    Kid: Um, no.
    Mom: I’m going to count to three!
    Kid: [ignores mom]
    Mom: One.. Two, Now I mean it…
    Kid: [ignores mom]
    Mom: I’m going to take away something!
    Kid: [ignores mom]
    Mom: Come on sweetie, if you do it I’ll give you ice cream
    Kid: [ignores mom]
    Mom: Look, you really need to clean your room
    Kid: [ignores mom]
    Mom: If you don’t do it right now, I’m going to spank you!
    Kid: [ignores mom]
    Mom: I MEAN IT!
    Kid: Mom, look. You and I both know that spanking is an expression of repressed anger and only leads to sexual deviancy on the part of the child. There are several studies that show spanking is only used when proper negotiation and flexible boundaries are set, and there are highly credentialed laureates who expound on the virtues of avoiding spanking and the irrevocable damages they can incur on the fragile psyches of children.
    Mom: I’m going to get some Valium.
    Kid: [continues without having cleaned room]

    Scenario 2:

    Mom: Go clean your room
    Kid: No
    Mom: Clean it now.
    Kid: Mom, look. You and I both know that
    Mom: [SPANK!]
    Kid: WHAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!
    Kid: [cleans room]
    Kid: [listens better the next time]

  87. Whaack! says:

    Its sad that we’ve turned into a society where kids can bring legal action against parents who spank. SPANK, not BEAT. These are two very different things. I really don’t understand the people who think giving a well-deserved whack on the bottom to their misbehaving child is out of line. Look around anywhere, and you’ll see kids walking all over their parents. I NEVER would have thought to mouth off or disobey my parents like I see so many doing today. I was spanked when I deserved it, and I thought twice about repeating my actions.

    We’ve become so soft-minded that we have to appease everyone, all the time. Special interest groups whine to the government about things, and get their way. Criminals hire lawyers who get them off the hook because THEIR rights were somehow violated. Um, you committed a crime. You should lose your rights, according to the degree of crime. Parents don’t want to spank their kids because…..why? I dunno. You’re not waterboarding them or anything. Maybe its because the child has more control in your relationship with them than you do.

    What about parents who don’t spank because they think its not good for their child’s developmental process or whatever, but have little Johnny on 12 different meds to calm him down? Yeah, thats good for him. Or how about parents who try alternative methods, only to still have a rebellious child after several years? Your alternatives don’t work. I’m not saying spanking is good for every child all the time, but people, quit being a bunch of sissies. Don’t beat your kids, but give ‘em a good whack on the butt with your hand.

    I think parents negotiate with their kids way too much. Give ‘em too much leeway too much of the time. What ever happened to laying down a little law once in a while? And as a side note, same goes for our government. Quit coddling our criminals! Punish the hell outta them. Why do you think we have so many repeat offenders and increasing crime rates? (Ya I know there are many other factors in crime rates).

    Anyways, as I always say, kids should be beat less, and spanked more.

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