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In Defense of Spanking

In Defense of Spanking

Spanking is one of the most contentious and hotly debated issues in the world of parenting. When we last visited the issue here on the RoundUp, it was to feature the anti-spanking viewpoint (Why Spanking Is Wrong). We return to the debate this time with the other point of view. Here, moms who spank share the reasons they consider it an invaluable discipline tool.

1. Spanking is NOT the Same as Beating

"There is a difference between spanking and beating. I think that's the main thing that people fail to understand. If it's a true spanking, then there's nothing wrong with it... If the line is ever crossed and it becomes a beating, then immediate action must be taken. Statistically though, spankers don't turn into beaters.....beaters are abusive no matter what. I've seen people rip a child's arm off to throw the child in a corner. That's far worse than a parent that issues a controlled spanking." -Elaine of Commotion from the Ocean of Life

"One whack on the bootie and a discussion of why it was done can be very effective. Used in such a way it is not abuse or scarring them for life. There is a clear distinction between spanking and hitting your child. Disciplining them shows we are truly concerned for them and love them and should be used as such." -TerriAnn von Gosliga of Cookies and Clogs


2. Some Children Need It

"Every child is different, so an effective way of disciplining one might not be as effective on another. I see that very clearly with my two boys. And sometimes, the effectiveness of the discipline seems to depend on the day." -Elaine of Commotion from the Ocean of Life


"For our kids, I am starting with explaining what they did wrong, time outs and loss of privileges, but if one of my children doesn't respond to these [and] does to spanking, I'd be willing to explore that option, as long as it was done in a loving way." -Teresa Johnson of Away We Go

"Every child is different and this is sometimes all that's effective for certain children. They don't turn out to be abusers or anything else, it's just what works for them. [With] other children, there's never a need to spank, and [so] they shouldn't be [spanked]." -Elaine of Commotion from the Ocean of Life

3. It's Not Done Out of Anger or in Public 

"Spanking, or correcting, should be done in private, not out in the open, because that often brings shame or embarrassment on the child.  In private they can be reminded of why they are being spanked and they can also be reminded they are loved and how they could have done things differently.  The key is to also remain calm and then carry on. Not dwelling on the wrong behavior." -Jacqueline Mukeweto of Chez Mukweto

"My husband was spanked, but he remembers his father doing it in proper way and and always knew that his father loved him and would talk about the reason for the discipline." -Teresa Johnson of Away We Go

"I have never thought spanking was unacceptable when administered properly. For some children, this is an important tool in their upbringing but it should never be done in anger." -TerriAnn von Gosliga of Cookies and Clogs

A Final Word

"No matter what, a parent has the right to make that choice and do what's right for their family without others interfering with that decision. ... The circumstances must be decided by each parent and it must be handled in a correct manner. Nobody has the right to say what's right for another person or family." -Elaine of Commotion from the Ocean of Life

Tonyconrad1415999564 Tonyconrad1415999564 2 years

I think this article is very wise. Parents have certain rights and most will use wisdom in how they disciplne their loved ones. To deny them this right is very shortsighted. Most of those who I know who use it do have lively and well behaved children.

StephanieRobertson74422 StephanieRobertson74422 3 years
Every parent has a right to decide for themselves, but here are the reasons why I personally choose NOT to spank…
CaitlinHutchison CaitlinHutchison 5 years
I used to be hit a lot with whatever my dad could find. Hangers, curtain rods... you name it. He used it. Growing up, my childhood was hell. When I was 16 I suffered severe depression, suicidal thoughts and I was a cutter until I was about 20 years old. Then I had my daughter at 21. She'll be 3 in June. Due I SWAT her on the butt? Sure. It's not a beating or even a very hard tap. Is it effective? Of course not. The kid is such a tough cookie she laughs. The little swat to the bum only comes when she runs into the street (which she does quite a bit) or something else along those lines. I think it honestly depends on the situation and the child. Swatting is becoming less and less during these things because thankfully time outs are getting through to her. She is a very happy, loving little girl who is very bright for her age (try thinking like a 4 1/2 year old). I also find that if you keep them busy, they aren't likely to get into much trouble. Only time I have a lot of problems with my daughter now is because she's getting to the point where nap time doesn't happen so she'll be tired but not sleep... and the other day when she drew on her walls in her room but a swat on the butt isn't going to do emotional scarring to a child. Spanking would kill the kid. Beatings and telling your child that you're worthless from the age of 6... that will do damage to the child.
JulieSullivan3861 JulieSullivan3861 5 years
Very valid points and I agree with all of them.
letascaowens letascaowens 5 years
For all of those who think that spanking a child is unacceptable what is your best form of punishment
JenniferTaylor86638 JenniferTaylor86638 5 years
Wow! Seeing all these criticizing mothers talking crap to everyone kind of makes me not want to post, but I will anyways! :) I didn't get spanked very often as a child bc I did what I was supposed to. But, I have a 3, soon to be 4 yr old son whom is very hyper and doesn't seem to want to listen to his mother! I've tried time out. He scoots all across the floor and plays with whatever is around while in time out. It could be the carpet, wall etc he doesn't care! It really aggravates me! I've tried taking away toys, but he doesn't seem to mind. So yes I spank my child when needed! And which is quite often. And even spanking him doesn't seem to work. He listens more to his father bc I'm a stay at home mother so we are together constantly and he thinks he can get by with whatever w me. To me when their younger and you start spanking them they might see it as hitting. I felt that way bc my son would hit so I thought maybe it's bc he thinks I'm hitting him? Now my son will find a reason and try giving me spankings! Lol idk you have to find what works best with your child. I still haven't figured it out with mine :/
BrendaOrtega BrendaOrtega 5 years
This is so wrong
LauryanRitzlmayr LauryanRitzlmayr 5 years
Oh, and for those that say "more people don't spank and look at the world today" - you only have to add up the comments here to see that more people DO spank still. So if you are going to lay the blame, lay it squarely at the people who hit their kids and then expect those same kids to grow up and NOT use violence to get their own views across to others. In countries where hitting is illegal, prisons are closing, homicides are at all-time lows, bullying is not tolerated and rarely happens, they have YEARS with no children being killed or abused sexually or in any other way, their drug usage rates are right down, teenage vandalism and petty crime rate is right down... the proof is there! If I hit someone, it's called Assault, if I hit an elderly person or mentally handicapped person, it's abuse. So why should anyone be able to get away with hitting a child, who has zero ability to react or take action against the person hitting them?
LauryanRitzlmayr LauryanRitzlmayr 5 years
I cannot believe that people still say things like "I was hit and I turned out okay" or "That's the problem with the world today, kids are not hit enough". or they say "you should hit in private and not leave marks". All of these statements show that the parents hitting their children have not even once studied up on the effects of punitive parenting OR the benefits of Postive Parenting. Anytime you try and change your child's behaviour to fit YOUR desires and YOUR needs, you are negating the fact that your child is an individual with her own feelings, her own likes and dislikes and her own abilities and brain. It is fully possible to help your child learn self-control and self-discipline without bribery, fear, pain, humiliation, time outs and all those sorts of things. Sure it's harder and it takes more effort, more energy, more consideration and more patience. Perhaps consider your GOAL in parenting your little ones: is it to have a fully compliant, obedient without question child? Or is it to raise an adult who has a healthy self-image, who is capable of self-regulation, able to handle his/her emotions well (not just ignore them), commit fully to a stable and loving relationship, shows Empathy to all around them and is self disciplined? If your goal is the latter, it's EQ you want to be building in your child and that will never happen when you teach your child through physical, emotional or mental force. Teach your child through consistent example and they will emulate you. "If all other options fail" then you need to be honest with yourself and ask why your child is not responding to you. Most likely, they do not feel a strong enough connection to you, and its time to connect instead of correct all the time. Often as adults we expect so much more from our little ones than we expect from ourselves. We cannot control our anger, fear, pain, worry, stress, anxiety, jealousy, sadness and yet we expect our children as young as 3 to have mastered these very BIG emotions. It's not realistic and its not fair to expect it of them. I challenge every single person who believes that spanking helps kids to be better people - do some research into it. Go study up Sweden, go study up Martin Teicher's work, De Mause's work, and so many others. Realise that the way that society raises and treats its children has an impact on the future of the society and the world in which you live - if you truly want a peaceful community, a peaceful world, then we need to set respectful boundaries and teach our children instead of telling them. This will help them CHOOSE to co-operate instead of obey out of fear. All the sad and bad things in the world - Genocide, War, bullying etc are caused and aided by "obedience". I'd much rather my children choose to do the things that they know build up themselves and our family and our community instead of being forced to do it because I want them to. It's not permissive parenting, it's Positive parenting - it's teaching by example, loving them unconditionally and allowing them to learn from their mistakes. I have seen the positive effects this has on my 3 and 5 year old, and as we are changing the way we parent them, I can already see that they are choosing to do the things that lead to co-operation in our home, the things that lead to them boosting their own self confidence and their own self-belief. simply because they can see and feel for themselves the positive benefits of choosing that which serves everyone best. They are able to make the consious choice and live through the benefits thereof. That works for me better than forcing them to comply to my will ever will.
CharleneYoung53857 CharleneYoung53857 5 years
I just detest these holier than thou parents that chime in with their judgmental "opinions" on spanking. Give me a break. Research also shows that some children benefit greatly from the right kind of discipline - that can include spanking if other options fail - while others suffer later in life from not having enough discipline (volunteering in my daughter's class, I can spot these kids out immediately). It's been said a million times, "every child is different" and sometimes more drastic measures are required to ensure a child's proper development. I rarely have to spank my 5 year old daughter b/c she will alter her behavior immediately when I mention it. When I do spank her I do it in private and she will then behave perfectly. It works for me. I don't judge those that don't spank their children but there are times I may think to myself, "that child would benefit from a good swat on the backside." I also notice a lot of parents that say they don't spank, often yank their children around when misbehaving in a very forceful manner. These parents will also shake or push their children into submission. I don't think they get's basically the same thing. It just makes them feel better to say they don't spank. We all do the best we can given the child we have. Stop judging and review a greater variety of research studies. Lastly, I'm friends with a PhD Child Psychologist who says spanking is sometimes a good form of discipline when others measures fail.
AngelaBarker74092 AngelaBarker74092 5 years
So ...... if spanking's OK when done "correctly" - all those countries in the world where it's actually against the Law to strike your children, they have it wrong and are stupid countries? As for this argument from above: "For our kids, I am starting with explaining what they did wrong, time outs and loss of privileges, but if one of my children doesn't respond to these [and] does to spanking, I'd be willing to explore that option" I just want to clarify this - if one child is punished/corrected by SPANKING but siblings are corrected by other means - does this mean that the spanked child does NOT lose privileges (essentially because he/she was spanked and it's unfair to punish twice)? Because a hardy, cunning child will be "cute" enough to accept a spanking without loss of privileges and be additionally cute enough to pretend to be extremely distressed by the spanking. Sorry, but for me there is no middle ground. I doubt there are any children who say they accepted their spanking as their parents' "love" and it was OK - unless these are grown children who are spanking their own offspring! I feel the vast majority of spanked children fall into 2 camps - the ones who are angry, resentful and HURT by the experience - and the ones who are manipulative and calculating - will take a spanking as a swifter form of retribution for wrongdoing to avoid losing privileges - all the time pretending that they are emotionally wounded, "sorry" etc ... in order to make the spanking experience swifter and shorter.
AvaWilson AvaWilson 5 years
This is pretty deplorable. There is NO difference between spanking and hitting. All you teach your child when you spank them is that they can solve their problems by hitting. How about you set an EXAMPLE for how your kids should act as adults and teach them to work through their problems without being physical? I have never had to spank my daughter. I redirect her attention and explain why doing something is bad. I might take away a toy or make her sit somewhere for five minutes. But my daughter is one of the most polite and well-behaved kids. I've never had to 'spank' that into her. I think when you spank your child you teach them that when they're frustrated with another person's actions, taking it to a physical level is the appropriate action. As someone said below, studies being produced recently have shown that spanking has NO beneficial effect on a child. When you say 'I'm going to spank you', what you're really telling your child is 'I'm about to violate the trust you have for me to protect and not harm you, and I'm going to hit you, but it's okay because you did something bad and you need to understand that'. Pretty sure not that long ago it was also okay for a husband to hit a wife if she stepped out of line, 'as discipline'. Think we proved that isn't effective either.
LiliGeller LiliGeller 5 years
I am seriously considering getting off circle of moms list after this article. I completely agree that we need to teach tolerance but I never tolerate hitting when my children do it so what am I teaching them if I tolerate someone else who accepts that behavior. Discipline means to teach. Spanking teaches fear. I definitely believe a child needs to understand their role within the hierarchy of the family but that is called respect, not fear. Let's face it, being a parent is hard work and we all get frustrated and do things we regret from time to time but to condone it as a form of discipline is just too simple minded.
KariDelinger KariDelinger 5 years
Also, (and this is for both sides of the discussion) there is an awesome book called The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman. It has been a very useful tool for me to not only learn how to communicate love in a way that my children will better understand it, but also to help learn the best way to discipline them.
KariDelinger KariDelinger 5 years
Just for the record, I've never yanked my child by the arm and given her a spanking. I've also never pulled her pants down to spank her bare bottom. When you have children, it is your right to chose how you will discipline, and do know that that will most likely change numerous times in their lives. It's not fair to assume that all people who choose spanking lash out in anger when doing so. I know people who scream and yell at their children and/or yank them by the arm to put them in their rooms in a time out. I believe that would be more scarring than a spanking, just my opinion. The crazy thing about this is we're not going to change anyone else's opinion about whether or not to spank. So, spankers---don't judge people who chose other ways to discipline their children, and non-spankers---don't call people who spank child abusers. One of the greatest things we should be teaching our children is tolerance. On some things, we should just agree to disagree, but be respectful, please.
Rebecca84518 Rebecca84518 5 years
I knew I'd see the "but my kid ran out into traffic" rationalizaton.
ElizabethM41074 ElizabethM41074 5 years
I'm sorry this is outrageous!!! I have the right to disagree with hitting a child thank you very much! Its physical violence however you want to dress it up. Frankly I am shocked to have received an email titled when to spank! I have not once lifted my hand to my son and he is by no means an angel. Using a stern voice and occasionally a time out works for us. He is only 2. I was hit as a child and I remember it clearly, instilling fear in your own flesh and blood by causing them pain is always about anger from the parent, can't see how you could 'calmlY' decide to lash out.
CoMMember13614883468179 CoMMember13614883468179 5 years
I get a little agitated at people who say spanking damages children, causes them to fear their parents and teaches them that hitting is OK. I was spanked as a child. Not beat, spanked, a quick pop to my rear end. I never feared my parents, I love them, and trust them completely. I am a well rounded adult and mother of my own daughter, I have never been in trouble with the law, I got decent grades in school and I never felt that hitting was appropriate way to show my anger (probably because my parents never spanked me out of anger). If you don't want to spank your child that is ok it is your choice on how to discipline your own child and you are entitled to your opinion that it is wrong, but you should never accuse someone else of abusing their child because they spank.
MicheleQuinn69875 MicheleQuinn69875 5 years
How about this...control yourself and don't spank...there are more challenging ways to handle it, but they are most effective and don't teach your children to hit/lash out when they are angry, frustrated, or scared.
JenniferPare JenniferPare 5 years
Study after study demonstrates that spanking is NOT an effective discipline technique and routinely produces more aggressive children and still people desperately try to rationalize and justify it! Spanking is not a legitimate discipline strategy. In fact it is usually what people resort to when they can't think of anything else to do out of frustration and anger! Let's be honest, people spank when they're angry and it can easily escalate into a situation that gets out of control and where a child can truly be injured. And NO, you do not have the right to hurt or abuse your child under the guise of "discipline." Intentionally physically hurting your child is child abuse, and it's illegal, at least where I live. The word discipline literally means to teach--children need to be socialized with patience and compassion, they deserve to be taught not terrorized by the people they love and trust the most.
StephanieBoyce11045 StephanieBoyce11045 5 years
Isn't it ironic that as a society we are becoming more violent, and yet fewer parents discipline by spanking? Yes, hauling off in anger and spanking your child is wrong and violent. Sending your child to a safe place, and coming to them in 2 - 5 minutes (depending on the age), explaining the discipline, delivering the spanking, and then loving them after it is a very loving way to spank a child, and very effective and not violent in the least. How effective is it to repeatedly warn, threaten with privileges being pulled, and then finally following through after several times? Reality is if you mess up as an adult you don't get multiple chances. The goal of an effective parent is to help the child mature into a respectful, successful adult. Our form of discipline has worked for our kids, and not one of them see themselves as abused. (Two are grown adults now).
Rebecca84518 Rebecca84518 5 years
Sorry, Elaine of Commotion etc. I DO have the right to say that hitting a child is wrong. I don't care whose family does it. Some versions of it aren't illegal so, no, I can't call the cops and I have no authority to do anything, but I can still say that it's wrong. THAT is MY right.
Rebecca84518 Rebecca84518 5 years
They are rationalizing HITTING their children. Period. They should call it that. Calling it spanking, swatting or whatever lets them off the hook.It is understandable that a parent could lose their cool and then regret it later. We've all made mistakes, but to then say it was the right thing to do is awful, and makes me question their mental health. HITTING a child is not ok. It's abusive and a very lazy, violent method of parenting. They are teaching their kids to hit when they are upset with others -- and then the rest of us pay the price for that too.They need some help.
michelleshoesmith michelleshoesmith 5 years
Yep agree.
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