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5 Reasons to Stop the Spankings

5 Reasons to Stop the Spankings

The spanking debate is one that always sends sparks flying on Circle of Moms, and it was no different when member Gloria S. asked whether there are ever "circumstances when spanking a child over age five is warranted.” Do moms who spank generally decide to stop when their kids reach a certain age?

Some Circle of Moms members who spank insist that spanking remains necessary during the grade school years  for certain types of children. Michelle R., a mom of four who spanks all of her kids, including her 11-year-old, explains: "Every child is different, so if you know that you can go to your child and verbally reprimand them and it is effective, then you don't need to spank that child. . . . My oldest son still gets a spanking because I know that is the ONLY way that I can get through to him when he has disobeyed. . . .You must do what you know is best for your children. I was spanked as a child and it worked back then and it still works today.”

Still, many Circle of Moms members, including Sandra S., believe very strongly that children should never be spanked, no matter their ages or the circumstances. Here are the reasons why Sandra and others believe spanking is an inappropriate form of discipline for kids once they hit the grade school years. (For another perspective, read Why I Spanked.)



1. Spanking is hitting

Many Circle of Moms members believe spanking is wrong in the same way that it is wrong for adults to hit each other. “Let’s call a spade a spade,” says Teal R. “Hitting a child is wrong. As wrong as if your husband hit you, or you hit an animal. Discipline means to teach, not to hit. Spanking is an emotional minefield. It's cruel, mean, unkind, spiteful, violent and never, ever necessary. . . .Why would I trust someone who is supposed to love and keep me safe if they hit me? I have never respected anyone who hits another person.”

2. Spankings humiliate older kids

Though numerous Circle of Moms members feel that a gentle spank on the bottom can be effective for younger children, when children get older, spanking can be especially humiliating and have a lasting impact on self esteem. Kimberly B. explains: "Spankings were only effective for me when my children were very young and these were spankings to prevent them from harming themselves or others. After that point it was all about punishments or rewards, because as they get older, the message we are sending children is that we are hitting them." Rebecca J. agrees: "I think that spanking should stop when your child hits puberty," she says.

Many Circle of Moms members who do spank avoid doing it in public  for kids of any age  for this reason. As Melissa T. explains, "No one likes to be humiliated. I don't judge people who do spank their children, as long as they don't do it in public or in front of other people, because then you are humiliating and belittling your child. . . some people could consider that emotional abuse."


3. Spanking instills unnecessary fear

Many Circle of Moms members maintain spanking is too harsh of a punishment and provokes unnecessary fear in children  fear that can backfire. “As a child and youth counselor and mother, I would recommend some other alternatives to spanking,” says Kalloosit D. “Spanking is just a glorified [and] physical method of instilling fear in the child.” Other Circle of Moms members, including Teal R. and Kathy S., who were both spanked as children, say it permanently damaged their relationships with their parents. Teal shares that her parents' insistence on spankings cost them her "respect, love and trust;" Kathy that she "lost respect" for hers.

4. Spanking teaches that violence is okay

Many Circle of Moms members, including Katherine C., believe that spanking demonstrates a lack of emotional control on the part of the parents. “It's just a form of corporal punishment showing power. A child is supposed to learn from you. What do they learn from this? Violence. I'll admit I have gotten angry and done it, but then cried because I felt so terrible. Hurting does not teach or guide. It just shows a lack of emotional control. It makes you feel terrible.”

5. There are more effective ways to discipline

Many moms say spanking is often a reactive, poorly thought out punishment, and that there are other, more effective ways to discipline older kids, such as grounding or removal of privileges. As Circle of Moms members Betty J. says, “Time outs work fine for me. They take a little more time but it's worth it when it means teaching your children right from wrong. When I do the time outs I just sit her in a designated area and give her time to calm down."

And Kathy S. explains it this way: “I really believe that spanking is the easy way out. Proper discipline (teaching, guiding) is hard. It’s hard, but so worth it. I get so tired of the argument that if you don't spank them you'll lose your authority and they'll run wild . . . My three kids were never hit. They are now beautiful, gentle, well-balanced young women."

What do you do to discipline an older child effectively and without spanking?

Image Source: Creative Donkey via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Join The Conversation
JanetSword JanetSword 5 years
I am sorry for those of you who believe spanking is wrong. The bible teaches that a parent who "chastizes (SP?) NOT, loveth Not" that child. In my opinion chastizing is spanking therefore if I don't spank I don't love my child. You can spank and still show that child love. I was spanked when I was a child and I know that my parents loved me enough to teach me right from wrong. This garbage about time out does NOT WORK. grounding DOES NOT WORK either. There is a big difference between spanking and beating a child. Parents who beat their kids should be thrown in jail and the key thrown away but there is NOTHING wrong with spanking
MonikaCallahan MonikaCallahan 5 years
" Debby Elovsson - commented on Dec 29, 2011 Those of you who spank, would you spank an elderly relative that became demented and misbehaved like a child? How is spanking children different from that kind of violence? Or any other? Would you spank a dog or animal? When children hit each other, do you condone that on the basis it doesn't cause mental damage? " ummm when an older person is loosing there mind, thats what it is and we know we cant blame them for that... but a child is not looseing there mind... there gaining and the more we teach and make it clear the rights and wrongs and what happens to you in both aspects a child will learn sometimes we have to spank and it is ok, i wish i was spanked more often, i would have learned things better.
MonikaCallahan MonikaCallahan 5 years
I agree with bothsides, I for one will tell you now that out of 4 kids my parents didnt spank me and showed me love, they would punish with time outs or loosing things that are importent to me but in the long run to be honest I can be rude and disrespectful and when i raised my own child he acted the same as me and he is a handful. time outs dont work,loosing privledges didnt work i even thru away his toys for a last and finel plead for him to get the picture but nothing! so then i did i tryed it i spanked him on his toosh and he got it, more respect then i imagened. now yes he quickly fell back into being himself but he no longer hits others and can keep his hands to him self. and at 6 yrs old he can tell you why he got spanked and and his words are becuase i need to gain some more respect inside so i can show it on the outside. he hardly ever gets spanked, only for hitting others and for the back talk/cursing. now days when i ground him to his room he gets it so i dont even have to spank him, so I think it works, its all abuot how the parents handles it, if you spank with anger and negative feelings its not going to leave posative reaction if the child feels the anger they will take it more to heart feeling hates or unwanted but when you go in and you explaine what is about to happen and why then they get it and i feel that they understand that your doing it to teach them something. we all need to give our children more credit then they get, they are vary smart and can understand more then you know. so like i said i ride the fence on this one. its all about how the parents handle it!
BriannePennington BriannePennington 5 years
I was spanked and spank my kiddo if he is acting up. I don't feel like spanking showed me violence is ok, etc. Now if I was smacking his face or another place I can see how that would be wrong. A nice pat on the butt is not bad.
AngieCrawford11741 AngieCrawford11741 5 years
I have 3 children ages 10 , 8 and 6 and I know for sure that an occasional spank works . I was beaten as a child and there was very little "disciplining" going on during those beatings although the original intention might have been to discipline me for my actions most of the time it just turned into abuse which I still have nightmares about. That being said I was completely against spanking when I had my first child . I couldn't bear the thought of raising a hand to my sweet baby girl but as she got older and more defiant at 11 months old she got her first swat on the behind for climbing out of her crib, which is totally dangerous ,for the millionth time! Ever since then she would get an occasional swat if she was being naughty or doing something dangerous. But it was always done when I was calm and and collected and was only meant to correct her not hurt her. I have used spanking with my other 2 children as well and I believe for them it works. It gets the message across that their behavior is unacceptable . But now that my oldest daughter is 10 we don't have to use spankings anymore to correct her. I am getting to that point with my 8 yr old and a good "talking to" or taking away her favorite toys or her hamster works very well. I still however need to spank my 6 yr old he just doesn't get it sometimes and time outs and taking things away from him simply don't work. But a good swat on the behind does! All that being said I am very careful to never do it out of anger and am always calm before hand . I don't want my kids to experience the trauma that I did growing up of having a totally uncontrollable parent who came out swinging with the belt if we were "just being kids" or weren't being quiet enough. I hope that this topic helps parents oput there who are debating weather or not to spank their child . I dont beleive spanking is violence as it has been referred to in several comments but I do think a beating is violence and I don't ever want my kids to know what that's like . Thanks for reading
MizaHambaliKhairul MizaHambaliKhairul 5 years
When my daughter just turned 2 and ran into a busy street, I pulled her to the side and firmly said to her, "Mia, that's very dangerous. No running. Lots of cars". I kept repeating "dangerous" "lots of cars" and "no running". She doesn't have a lot of vocabularies yet so I felt it'll be impossible for her to understand more than that. But the repeat with firm voice helped. Next time we stopped and she was released from her carseat, she'd say "no running" "cars". You see, young children knows voice tones and when you're unhappy with them. The word "dangerous" itself give sounds to dark, angry, unhappy, unpleasant things. They're very smart and picks up real quick. It's a big no-no. Key is consistency and lots of repeats. Like I said, there is no reason to inflict physical pain to others or to yourself and that's what I want to instill in her.
MizaHambaliKhairul MizaHambaliKhairul 5 years
I view spanking/hitting as hurting others. And put it to my daughter that way. It hurts. And we don't hurt people or ourselves. I taught her if someones says he/she wants to spank her, tell them "no, it hurts". I find there are so many other ways to send messages (or to teach them a lesson) than inflicting pain on them.
DonnaButler46767 DonnaButler46767 5 years
I have ten children and I try not to ever spank them. When the older ones were younger, I listened to all the wrong people and tried it as a last resort with when one of my sons was especially stubborn. It didn't help either. I had to actually do my research and invest the time in finding out what was driving his behavior and how to correct it without violence I won't judge others who do choose to spank their children. I would prefer that they not do it in public because I don't want my children to have to witness an out of control parent hitting their child in the aisle at the local store. However, I think it is hilarious that people use the logic that they and/or their children were spanked and are all model citizens to validate usage of that form of discipline. I would imagine that if you did a survey in every local prison, you would find that the majority of those people were spanked as children also. You cannot use the success or failure in your specific situation to validate a discipline method for all of society. My children are in an elementary school that does have corporal punishment under the current principal but that did not under the previous one. Guess what? Discipline problems have not decreased and children are not suddenly behaving better and almost all of these children are spanked at home. As a matter of fact, the children that are spanked at school are the same ones who are repeatedly sent to the office for discipline issues. It's not like they are "learning their lesson". If you choose to spank your children in the United States, that is legally your business. Please don't act like the choice of others to not do so is what is wrong with our society though. For the record, most people think my kids are pretty great too even without spankings. I don't think that makes me superior to anyone else as a parent and I certainly don't think that gives me the right to tell other people how to raise their kids.
AnnemarieMcIntyre AnnemarieMcIntyre 5 years
No child needs beaten. I was smacked as a child and I will still flinch if someone moves sharply in close proximity to me. I didn't want that for my son. I can understand why some people smack as a last resort. I smacked my son once in his life and I still feel bad about it. He was about 4 and I was picking him up from play group. He was so excited and giddy that he ran out into the road and almost got hit by a car. The car stopped just in time but I was the single most frighting experience i have had in my life. When I got him over to the other side and I pulled down his shorts and I smacked the bum clean off him right there at the side of the road. The entire experience was horrific. I was crying, he was crying one big mess.
HeatherEhnat HeatherEhnat 5 years
Look at it this way- let's say you are speeding and you get pulled over by a police officer. He asks you to get out of the car and proceeds to hit you. This would cause an outcry, be all over the news as excessive force. How is spanking a child any different??? It only teaches violence as a solution to problems. If you hit a child, that child will remember being hit- not the lesson behind it. Our job as parents is to model behavior, and I don't want my children hitting people when they can't seem to get along with them. Believe me, I have a child that taxes my patience more than I ever thought possible. Spanking is the easy way out- it takes a lot more creativity and effort to teach without it. But I believe the results are far far better.
SandraRussow SandraRussow 5 years
My daughter is 3 years old and does not listen for anything! My son is 5, and I know when he was 3 he tested us with not listening a lot too, but nothing like my daughter. He responded to time outs and still does, and we do use spankings if neccessary but mostly he is not spanked anymore. With my daughter, she is very smart, sassy, doesn't respond to time outs, taking things away from her, talking. I was just wondering if anyone has any suggestions. She is not always like that, she can also be very sweet, but sometimes even when she is being nice and sweet, she is doing just to get what she wants.
EunshilTustison EunshilTustison 5 years
I was spanked as a child, and I learned that next time I need to work harder at not getting caught. From my perspective, spanking focuses too much on the punishment and not the lesson.
ClaireSmyth ClaireSmyth 5 years
i have 2 children of my own, aged 3 and 7, i have worked with under fives for more than 15 years. i would never spank another persons child and vowed never to do it to my youngest has never been spanked and my eldest has only ever been spanked once. he was spanked once when he was 3, we were driving along a very busy motorway doing the speed limit when he took off his seat belt and tried to climb in the front of the car with me, i had no choice but to pull over on the hard shoulder. he did this 2x, the first time i talked to him about how dangerous it was and how he shouldn't do it etc etc, i did his seat belt up we carried on our journey, he did it again, again on a busy motorway and again i had to pull over on the hard shoulder, this time he got a smack, not a hard 1, but enough to shock him. he never did it again. although i'm very much against spanking, it worked. usually i would use a time out to manage any unacceptable behaviour, but that was not possible to do in a car, and what he had done was extremely dangerous.
SagreeChetty SagreeChetty 5 years
I salute the women here who have never spanked their kids. That means you either have very disciplined kids, or you have much patience and understanding. I personally was against spanking as I was spanked as a child. I promised never to spank my own kids. But as my son got older (he's 5 now) and took advantage of certain situations that he knew he could manipulate himself out of, I found myself changing my stance. A smack on the bum sends the message across that he is being punished for being naughty. And I do the same with my 3 year old girl. It also made me look at my spankings as a child differently. I was spanked because I was naughty. Ladies, as much as we love our kids, they are manipulaters. So for me, talks come first and then some other form of punishment like a time out, the naughty corner or taking away certain privileges, and if still theres no change, then the spanking comes in. So for those of you than refrain from spanking, well done. You're a good parent. Hell, you're a great parent - esp if yr kids get the message after whatever tactic you use to straighten them out. And for those of us that use spanking, we're great parents too! We're just doing it our way, for our family, that we are responsible for!
WendyDarnell WendyDarnell 5 years
I agree in some ways with not spanking in public or in front of other children, that can be humiliating, but I was spanked right up to the time I was 17yrs by my mom, even then she set me down and told me why, it gave me a respectful fear of her which I think was very important. I think people have gone to far with the whole "don't hit yours kids" crap, we are there parents and are responsible for them and what kind of adults they become and that includes setting boundaries. I also believe that people saying it is a crime have not looked at the fact that kids are more out of control and in more trouble in this day in age then back when you had to go get your own stick off the tree cause you were acting like an idiot, I remember being swatted on the mouth for smacking, and I am not damaged in any way, I can't stand smacking but, lol, but I won't be smacking my son on the lips any time soon either but his butt is fair game. I think we have given children entirely to much control these days to the point of them saying "if you spank me I am calling the police on you" now that is RIDICULOUS, I will personally be spanking my son when he is out of control so that he knows what line he can cross and not, but he also already knows that he can always come to me the same way I knew with my mom, if I went to her before making an idiot decision or mistake and discussed it with her the outcome was much different, but just going ahead and being ignorant, which some kids are and will be and some point, then I payed for it. I love my son more than my own life and will do whatever possible to have him grow up as a productive, respectful, caring man.
AlisonJones58276 AlisonJones58276 5 years
I do think there is a line between spanking as discipline and BEATING as abuse. I was spanked growing up and there is not ONE time I was spanked that I did not know exactly what rule I had broken and why I was getting spanked. I use spanking as ONE form of discipline and not the ONLY form of discipline. I do not spank out of anger, I spank to drive home and important point that doesn't have room for running in the street w/out holding my hand....touching the fireplace/oven/stove, etc. I use spanking when I want my kids to know that there is NO OTHER option but to obey at this exact moment. I use discussion, options, time-out, removal of privileges for things that don't require immediate correction. People who say their relationship with their was irreparably damaged by spanking were probably abused or is due to other issues. Kids nowadays are rude, disrespectful and out of order. The way I hear some kids talk to their parents, I wanna smack them in the mouth. I believe spanking teaches kids to respect authority and I think it's a good lesson BEFORE the authority is the police or coroner. Too much of ANY form of discipline is wrong and I think they way you discipline should be what the child needs. My daughter just needs a raised son sometimes needs a little reinforcement.
wolfcat87 wolfcat87 5 years
People who spank children lack the intelligence to come up with an alternative solution. It teaches children that violence is okay, especially against someone/something weaker than you if they do anything you don't want them to. It curbs natural child behavior and therefor development. I don't spank my children and they are angels I'm always being complemented on how well behaved, polite, and social they are.
JenniferTritsch JenniferTritsch 5 years
In my experience as a pre-k teacher, the children that were spanked were the same ones that got in the most trouble at school. It was as if they had already experienced the worst their parents could do, so they had nothing more to lose by acting up in class. The best children in class were the ones that received creative discipline adjusted specifically to them. The group that caused some trouble were the children that were never told no and have little to no discipine, then the ones that get spanked and spoken to harshly were always the worst kids in class.
JenniferTritsch JenniferTritsch 5 years
so true
TriciaBritton TriciaBritton 5 years
AMEN Mandi Baladez...Couldn't have said it better myself!!!
MandiBaladez MandiBaladez 5 years
"He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly."-Proverbs 13:24 "Foolishness [is] bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him."-Proverbs 22:15 "The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left [to himself] brings shame to his mother."-Proverbs 29:15 I stand firm on what God says about what we should do about correcting our children, but I also respect what other families do that work for them. I also think that those against spanking, need to only worry about their own children and stop sticking their nose into other people's business just because they are lacking in wisdom. God uses His own method of inflicting pain to teach us a lesson and He leaves His little children into the hands of us to do the same. I do use the rod to inflict a little temporary pain to teach my child that that kind of behavior will not be tolerated. I also know that we are not to break the spirits of these children so disciplining out of anger is unsafe because people can lose themselves to this anger and lose control of their actions and that's where it is taken too far. Practice some self-control, take some deep breaths first, count to 10 and go in to do the job when you are calm enough. Spanking when in control of your emotions is good, it teaches boundaries to your children. I don't leave them to feel unloved afterward either, I give them time to get over it and then I explain to them why I spanked them and then I tell them I love them. I balance love and affection with the disciplining. I also know that consistency is key, I try to stay on top of the spanking, and not ignore the act of disobedience. I am at fault of this sometimes and I notice that when I do ignore and allow the rebellious acts to go on, the harder it is when I do discipline them. When I get too busy and just raise my voice or give them warning after warning, they see that they are getting away with it and they test that freedom. That's where blow up parents mess up, they finally get to the point of being fed up to where they are boiling at the temples and that's when they decide to take action. Discipline the first time and they will learn that it shouldn't be done again, if they continue to do it again and test your consistency, keep spanking till they get the message. I learned my wisdom from the Bible and Dr. James Dobson's book on disciplining children. I also read "To Train Up a Child" by Micheal and Debbie Pearl. Great tools to have good disciplining wisdom without feeling like you're beating your child. Now I do believe that when a child gets to a certain age, then spankings become useless. My 10 1/2 year old is starting to get to that point. I find that I have to spank harder just to get the point out and sometimes that doesn't work, so I am now incorporating loss of favorite privileges. She's about to get her own room and I've already made it clear to her that that is a privilege and will be taken away if she neglects to behave accordingly. Things like tv, wii privileges, playing with friends, sleep overs, parties, treats and allowance are things I am learning to make her go without to teach the point, but sometimes things just need to be addressed with a spanking; like when she gets physical with one of her sisters and hurts them. I believe that the devil uses those people that are so strongly against spanking that they go as far as ripping the family apart by calling CPS on the parents. So wrong! People these days are quick to let the government take care of something that they "think" is wrong. I tell you what, there is absolutely no God in government, and definitely not present in the child protective services, only the devil lives there! Discipline your children the way you feel works for you, but don't reprimand people and split their families apart by their methods just because they are different than yours. I guarantee that those children will be more messed up because they were separated from their family. They are more likely to get caught up in drugs, alcohol, sex and being broken in spirit, lost and confused. They become bitter and take their frustrations out on life, the people around them. They alienate themselves, so is splitting a family up just because their parents use the belt really necessary? I've been there, and it sucks! Stop breaking families apart because of a mere spanking. Reach out to them, give the parents a godly home if they're into drugs and alcohol. Help them before you try to hurt them. When the child is in serious danger, I mean real life or death, beating black and blue, bloody eyes, neglect, malnutrition, etc kind of danger, then and only then is it ok to call someone in to assess the situation. CPS should be a very last resort, God should be the first, because only Jesus can bring healing and peace in the family.
BrendaOrtega BrendaOrtega 5 years
Children aren't animals can verbalize and should never be hit period. Learn to understand your children ladies and read a book a second the prior comment BTW
MalayaMacMurray MalayaMacMurray 5 years
This is the third article I read today from this website. I often enjoy reading the comments of other mothers for some of the questions posed but this morning I am more saddened. The whole idea behind circle of moms seems to be that we would be a community of support and lifting other moms up from all over because we understand that this "job" is the most difficult and the most rewarding of all. It seems though, that some of these topics are meant more to be hot buttons of controversy and we spend more time breaking each other down with our brutal opinions on parenting and marriage. I found myself even doing this in my head while I read topics on vaccinations, separate bank accounts, and this one on spanking. I find it discouraging to see that even in my own heart that I am no longer thinking of this as a community of support but that I am right and I must express my opinion on this subject so that others will see that they are wrong. I am even doing it with the current post. I am not sure that I can continue to read these posts. I don't think they are truly helpful to me but I hope they may be to others. I pray for all of you mothers who are out there just wanting to do our best for these precious gifts we are given.
TammyHansen18341 TammyHansen18341 5 years
I think what people need to realize is that there is a difference between spanking and beating one's child. Too many parents take the spanking too far. I grew up in just such a household where the spankings were no longer just spankings. When a child has bruises or markings on his or her body, that is abuse. Because of the way I grew up, I vowed to break the cycle and never spank my child. I think it sends the wrong message. Violence is never the answer. A child may not understand why he is being hit, especially when the parent does not take the time to talk with the child about why he was spanked. Spanking leaves so many questions unanswered. "Does Mommy hate me?" "Am I a bad person?" I think spanking is a cop-out and a quick solution for many parents. They can just spank their kid and then go about their business. Does the child REALLY learn anything? I have a friend who spanks her children. They haven't learned to stop the behavior that got them spanked. They still do the same bad behaviors, only after she spanks them they are even worse. They scream and cry and throw fits. They also flinch whenever she raises her hand. I find that very disturbing. That same friend has 2 dogs, and she would never think to hit those animals if they did something wrong. If her kids act out, they get slapped accross the face or spanked on their hands, or bottoms. There is something very wrong with that picture.
kristilouie kristilouie 5 years
Children these days are disrespectful, spoiled and rude. Most of this is due to poor parenting and parents who are afraid to do whatever it takes to raise children to become adults who follow the law and respect authority. I grew up being spanked if i needed it and i am grateful for this as i am a well-adjusted woman who knows right from wrong, has morals and values and always treats others how i would like to be treated. I have 6 kids ranging from 28 to 20 months and i have used varying forms of discipline including spanking and each of kids are very well adjusted and polite. It is ridiculous to say that spanking a child teaches them that violence is ok, i certainly understood that when i did something really disrespectful i was spanked for it however, i NEVER have been a violent person and none of my children are violent, on the contrary, kids who are not afraid of their parent will be the bully's - trust me. I have a really hard time swallowing this stuff about not EVER spanking your children especially when you look at all the children who are so poorly behaved in todays society...they are spoiled and not afraid of anyone. If you are a God fearing individual then you should refer to your Bible "spare the rod, spoil the child" - If you are not a "religious" person just spend a day in a childs classroom - it is very, very frightening. The lack of effective discipline is ruining our society and breaking down the morality of our country.
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