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Should Parents Spank Their Children?

Updated on July 8, 2024.

According to National Family Violence Surveys and a number of research studies, over 90 percent of parents use some form of punishment that involves inflicting physical pain when disciplining their children.

In considering this statistic, the questions that come to mind are:

  1. Can spanking our children lead to them having emotional problems in the future?

  2. Are there methods of disciplining our children that do not involve hitting our children?

According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, corporal punishment can lead to emotional and behavioral problems down the road. In fact, this study suggests that children who are spanked even occasionally are more likely to experience depression or low self-esteem compared to children who are not spanked.

The study in question was conducted by Dr. Paul Frick of the University of New Orleans in Louisiana. Dr. Frick and his research team were not able to find any positive effects that come from spanking.

In fact, they found that children who are spanked can learn that when they are angry and upset at another person, hitting is appropriate behavior. Put another way, getting spanked does not help children identify inappropriate behavior, nor does it teach them what they can do differently in similar circumstances in the future.

Alternatives To Spanking

Dr. Frick and his team suggest that taking away privileges, assigning extra chores, and applying "time outs" are more effective and useful forms of discipline than spanking.

They also suggest that the key is to be consistent with whatever form of non-hitting discipline that parents choose to apply, and to vary the forms of discipline used according to the age of the child. In general, Dr. Frick has found that assigning a time out is effective for younger children, while taking away privileges like television and toys tends to be effective for older children.

Once children are old enough to understand and communicate with their parents, the key is to provide clear choices when they are behaving inappropriately, and then to make it clear that any discipline that arises is due to them making the wrong choice.

For example, if Johnny hits his mother on her leg with his tennis racket, his mother can say "Johnny, when you hit mommy or anyone else it hurts, so you can either play nicely with your tennis racket, or mommy will have to take it away."

If, after having understood this, Johnny hits his mother or anyone else again, his mother can say "I see from your behavior that you don't want to play with your tennis racket right now," and take the racket away for an appropriate amount of time.

Parents who are interested in learning more about this style of parenting can read:

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk


How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk

To be clear, my belief is that parents should not spank their children.

If parents are not going to spank their children when their children are big and strong enough to physically overpower their parents, it seems to me that choosing to spank them when they are small is not an ideal approach to teaching.

If parents choose to spank their children, I can only hope that they do so with broken hearts rather than out of anger. To discipline out of anger makes the discipline more about the parent's lack of emotional control rather than about teaching their children how to mature into emotionally intelligent adults.

If you would like some ideas on how to effectively raise emotionally healthy children without violence or physical intimidation, please view the related article below:

Related Article:

Ways to Foster a Good Relationship With Your Children and Influence Their Behaviour Without Intimidation or Violence


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I feel a mild amount of spanking that is not intended to inflict harm but rather to caution a child is fine. Not that anyone should want to do it. It's just that, we've been using it for ages and it worked. It just seems ludicrous that someone has to come along to tell us that spanking is wrong.

I've seen the flip side of not spanking kids. One is, badly behaved children, with no respect for authority, and two, very unpopular parents.

My $0.02


"I've seen the flip side of not spanking kids. One is, badly behaved children, with no respect for authority, and two, very unpopular parents."

I was "struck" by the above statement. Now that I am past the age of young children in my home, I see more clearly that spanking or not spanking is not the issue. However, the lack of applying loving, consistent guidance with appropriate consequences is.

Yes, I have spanked - ONCE and not in anger, but after the fact and certainly with a "broken heart." I can still feel just how confused and humiliated "I" felt. My stepson was maybe 9-10 and we had read many books, attended workshops, etc on methods of child rearing and discipline. An incident occurred (now long forgotten) that we felt it was important that he be spanked and that it be by me. Prior to that, as the stepparent, we had felt it more appropriate that I not be part of such physical discipline. The time came, the discussion was had with him, and I spanked him. I have never felt less like an adult than I did at that moment. I can only hope that it left more of an impression on me than it did on him. I felt humilated that I had not found within me a better way of handling the situation.

"we've been using it for ages and it worked" has two fallacies... that just because we have always done something, is the reason to continue and the assumption that it worked. Being human is about evolution - we are creatures that are self aware. We have the capacity to become more than we have been. It seems to me that the treatment of our most vulnerable warrants the time it may take to apply more loving and long term successful methods of consequences fitting the situation. Ultimately the behavior changes and the child (or "misbehaving" adult) learns that choices create their reality.

May all the children - including the child within each of us - experience love and the empowerment that comes from learning "WE" have the ultimate control of our experiences.

I believe that spanking IS harmful, and teaches children that violence is an acceptable way of dealing with things you don't like. I do not believe it is acceptable to hit a human being (large or small) for any reason. I wish it were illegal in the US.I spanked my son once for running out in traffic. I realized that it was because I WAS SCARED. and that I was reacting to the situation, and not thinking rationally. I never spanked either of my children again. I am very glad about that.

It was my experience that some of the most badly behaved children were hit and yelled at all the time.

I wish I had been so well informed and prepared 18 years ago when my first child was born. I have to admit that we spanked him 4-5 times when he did something dangerous to "educate" him. I didn't know any better, because we were raised this way and I was always told what the person in the first reply cited, i.e. a mild spanking once in a while does not do any harm. By the time our daughter was born 3 years later I had read several books on child care, and learned better ways to handle those situations. I don't say it was easy but we learned to control ourselves. I am sure that no parent should spank their children, and they should be taught how to handle and discipline children before they would have any.
Anybody who spanks their child is either ignorant or cannot control their frustration over the child's behavior.

I understand that spanking is a touchy subject, but I also think that we shouldn't always say that spanking is "hitting" or " beating" our children.

```Anybody who spanks their child is either ignorant or cannot control their frustration over the child's behavior.````

I am not ignorant of other methods nor am I frustrated when I spank my son. As said by others, consequences should be delivered based on the actions the child takes at the time. Spankings are rare in our house, but it is used when needed. It is only applied to the bare bottom. There is a conversation before and after the spanking. And there is always expressions of love through the whole process and with any form of discipline delivered. He gets tons of positive reinforcement as well. With everything, there needs to be balance. It shouldn't be the states' legal rights to determine whether or not a child can be spanked.It can cause greater damage for the families that use it effectively without damaging the spirit of the child. It is true that not all children need spankings. It all boils down to knowing your child, communicating with them, and delivering the proper consequence based on these factors. That is why there are some people that do well with spankings and some that do better without spankings. The main thing is to love your children and give them the tools they need to keep life in balance; plus, the ability to successfully handle things when life tilts out of balance.

"Anybody who spanks their child is either ignorant or cannot control their frustration over the child's behavior."

I don't agree with you there. Yeah some parents spank their children because of those reasons but not every parent that does it.

My parents spanked me when i was younger and i am thankful for every one they gave me because it made me the person i am today. Alot of people are saying spanking a child makes them think violence is ok when your mad but that's not true. Abused children tend to use violence in their families when they get older and have one. Spanking a child a abusing them is totally different. Abuse a child is taking out anger or emotions on them. Spanking children is a good way to discipline your child. I'm in high school and alot of the kids who are miss behaved didn't get spankings when they were younger. I'm not saying that other ways of discipline are bad but think about this: when you've put your child in timeouts and grounded him/her what do you do when they continue to miss behave and have nothing else to lose?

I wished that I had heard all of this before I had my daughter. I thought that spanking would be ok if done the "right" way, which to me was not doing it in anger and explaining to the child why they were getting one. I also only used it as a last esort, when coaxing, lectures, time-outs, etc did not work. I wish now that I had never given her one. I always felt terrible and would cry with her and hold her afterwards. Maybe we are both too sensitive but I have since learned that it is rare in other cultures to spank a child. It is usually only done in some European countries and in North America. Many parents in other countries would never think to spank their child but here we think it is normal. There are so many other ways to discipline a child that it is unnecessary. I truly believe that it damages their spirit in one way or another. I too was spanked as a child and remember being terrified each time and how nothing could console me afterwards. I don't remember if I was spanked hard and it doesn't seem to matter because when I spanked my daughter I did it lightly so that if I had done it across your face it would not have hurt. It didn't matter, it was the action that caused the tears. Of course it is up to each parent to decide but if I had known all this I would never have done it and unfortunately we can never get that time back with our kids. I seldom have met anyone who did not regret the decision they made to give a spanking. Think it through, and if it is done without anger, after you have calmed down you will not want to give a spanking.

I also agree with that spanking or any kind of physical hitting will teach children to use violence to solve situations.
I believe that this also will led to an acceptances of violence in the society.
As many people who use spanking are writing they say that it should be used in the right way? ( I don´t agree with spanking or hitting) and not as in some cases. Should it be a lottery for children how they will be hit? who is to define the line of child assault should go when physically hitting?

I have read that when we get angry, scared and stressed we get stronger and ower muscles get stronger. Arn´t parrent stressed when they feel and thing that there child is misbehaving or not following the agreements or boundaries.
Many says that they don´t spank(hit) in anger but if they are stressed or scared there muscles will become stronger which leads to stronger physically hitting.

If parent cant follow a common rule( boundary) of not using physically punishment. How can they then teach there children to follow boundaries when they self can´t act on it?

Why do you think that spanking is harmful? What if you child does not learn with the time out? What do you do after that? Do you just say that it is over with? Me personaly I think that as long as you don't hit your child hard it should be alright and also that you control your anger. I dont mean to offend you but that is just my opinin. I just wanted you to answer these questions because some techniques just dont work on some kids. That is just life. I do agree with you that you gave him a spankin' after he ran out on trafic but I just hope that you did not do it hard to harm your child...because you said that you did it just because you were scared and I am pretty sure that you didn't know what to do. So I do respect that you totally do not like spanking your kids but I just did not quite agree with you but I do totally repect your opinion.

Thank you very much,


Coming from a young adult who grew up in an old fashioned family I have to say physical punishment was my parents best choice people mention that it teaches children that violence is ok but I noticed that I didn't make the same mistake twice and none of this affected mine and my parents relationship I feel that we are closer now then most other families.
My major concern is the kids you see today feel like they can do what ever they please with no consequences. This concerns me because there is no fear or respect for adults.parents today are so caught up in making sure there children feelings don't get hurt rather then sending them the message of right and wrong as well as respect for others
In conclusion I'm not saying beat your kids but make sure the consequences suit there actions have that balance of fear and love in your home the last thing we need is a bunch of people running the country throwing tantrums when things don't go there way if you need to see where I'm coming from look up kid freaks out over wow on you tube if this doesn't concern you then you have alot more faith then me

i agree with you totally. dont beat them but they need to learn somehow and some kids dont learn with getting talk to or a time out.

My wife and I raised two sons without spanking or hitting either of them. They are both grown and fine men now.

I was hit a lot when I was growing up, and I hated it and lost respect for my father for striking me. Growing up with parents who condoned and practiced hitting (and for me that included the so-called "Little, gentle spanks") soured our entire relationship on levels I didn't even realize until I became an adult and father myself.

Creative mothers and fathers can devise plenty of ways to help children learn self-discipline. Parents who resort to physical punishment instill fear and resentment in their kids.

My sons were always well-behaved around other adults, much more so than their friends who were more-often-than-not being "brought up by hand," as Dickens puts it in his wonderful novel, Great Expectations.

Regarding the "respect for authority" issue, isn't that all too often an illusion that's actually something low and nasty rooted in fear of those who hold power over them?

Chet Day

I agree with the Dr.

There's alot to say on this topic, but it just boils down to one thing for me; If a man or woman hits/strikes/spanks (whatever) their spouse, for instance, it would be considered domestic violence and that person could and would be arrested for such behavior. So how is that hitting/spanking a child is ok?
I have 2 healthy, happy, confident, respectful, grateful, spiritual children, and they have never been spanked. That is not to say that they don't need discipline, we just choose more meaningful and behavior changing ways.

Again, we have to point out that hitting another adult is called assault and punishable by imprisonment. Children are by hitting them we raise another generation of people who will use violence on each other.

We have never spanked our kids, but used alternative means of shaping their behavior. Our children are not badly behaved, nor do they have a lack of respect for authority. Other methods ARE effective and worth the time to learn. These methods often take more time and energy, but these are your CHILDREN........aren't they worth it??? Remember, these are the people who will take care of you when you're old and infirm!

I agree with this lady. Too many children do not respect their parents. Seems parents just want to be friends with their children. Being friends is fine but it takes a lot of love to raise a child correctly and that includes spanking once in awhile. Nothing harsh.

WOW!! spanking is bad!!

Spanking should never ever be used in children under any age. 63% of abused incidents were caused from parents spanking their children for misbehavior. IT IS WRONG. And the reason why some people don't make the connection is because this concept conflicts with cultural norms. Just because some find parents to be ineffective from not using corporal punishment does not make it right.

We have been using discipline for ages, we all grew up with it. all the older people have respect for others and morals. Where the younger generations are running wild, and doing worst off crimes and etc... then ever before. Because they never learned discipline from parents when they were young. So they are taught theres no conscientious for thier actions. Americans citizens should rise up to revoke the law about hit thier kids. We are paying dearly for this in property taxes, paying more at stores, and etc.... We should also be twice as strict when punishing citizens in the courthouses. Where crimminals should have to always serve the minimiun time for the offense. We straighten these few things out society will be better and kids will learn to stop the stupid stuff.

there is a huge difference between VIOLENT discipline and GENTLE discipline.
it is not black and white...with only 2 ways to parent - a)either hit your children into submission b) let them run around a much with no guidance or discipline.
*Hitting is lazy. it 'works' short term and is destructive.
*being permissive and allowing your children to do whatever they want, with no direction is just as destructive
*investing energy and love into your children and guiding them and teaching them to make the correct choices, is gentle and healthy - for both your relationship with them and their mental/emotional development.

when we know better - we can do better for our families.

U bloody parents have nO rights to hit us!...

me and my sister were spanked when we were children for what we did wrong and we grew up to be just fine. my little sister was not spanked when she was younger and now that she is becoming a teenager she is out of control at times. she does what she wants and knows that she can get away with it without being spanked or disciplined or anything. it is ok to spank your children as long as you are not doing it out of anger, and when you spank your child you need to explain why they are getting spanked. when you do this they know that there will be consequences for their bad actions they choose to do.

There were times when I would lament spanking my 5yo when he was younger. Then I would see his 6yo step-sister constantly whine, throw fits like a toddler, and kick/hit/throw things at her mom & dad (over just about every issue)... and I was grateful I'd done the right thing for us. They aren't even major issues, and she does it all day... every day. I've tried my best to help them steer away from permissive parenting, and ignore her when she does this to try to illicit control over them. However, changing parenting styles, and how you deal with things, mid-stream is difficult. I just don't want my step-daughter to have serious issues with interpersonal relationships as she grows, because I know adults like her, and they seem to have major difficulties in their daily lives.
I have to point out though that I feel very strongly that spanking should only be done when *you* are not angry, and are the type of person who can stop before physical damage is done and when the point has been made. You do not have to beat them black & blue or even leave lasting red marks. If you're not able to keep control over yourself, DO NOT spank your kids. Find an alternative that works for *you*.

I think it depends upon the child. Growing up, both my brother and I knew that if we misbehaved and continued to misbehave after being told we were misbehaving, we would be spanked. My brother rarely needed more than one comment from either parent that he was misbehaving.

I, on the other hand, always pushed to see just how far the boundary would go. I typically got three warnings, and then a spanking. I do not remember the spankings as ever hurting me physically, but boy, I remember the shame of doing something to warrant a spanking. I also remember thinking that I did deserve it because I chose to misbehave.

Spankings rarely occurred in our home, and I don't remember getting spanked because my parents were angry with me. The rules and boundaries were clearly defined for me (until such an age where I could institute my own), and if I chose to break those boundaries, there was punishment. I must have learned early on that my parents were consistent in enforcing the boundaries because I don't remember being spanked after the age of six.

Once we knew that the boundaries were going to be enforced, we could decide what we wanted to do: respect them or suffer the consequences.

My cousins had a similar set up in their house, and again, one of the children was more eager to stay within the boundaries than the other. The other one, though spanked, still chose to misbehave. Giving him "time-outs" (although we then referred to it as "having to sit in the corner") were far more effective a punishment.

I had to do that a few times, but I like being alone, so it didn't feel like a punishment to me.

I do think the boundaries my parents set up for us were fair. At the time I wanted more freedom, of course, and there were times where I felt my parents were a bit slow in expanding the boundaries.

My mother figured out early on that her two children were wired differently. I was much more an explorer than my brother and far less fearful, and that was often the reason I went beyond the boundaries they set. Once she realized that, she, and to a lesser extent, my father tried to channel that desire to explore in ways that were safer for me (or from my perspective, ones that didn't make them worry as much!).

Sorry, I'm veering off the original topic, but I don't always think spanking is wrong. I don't always think it's right, either. In my family, it was regarded as punishment for something you did wrong, and something you knew clearly you did wrong. I think that was key. It wasn't as if we were spanked willy-nilly or as some of my classmates, truly beaten. :0( There was never any ambiguity about why we were spanked. I also never remember my parents spanking me in anger. I never asked them if it upset them to have to mete out the punishment, and don't have the chance to ask them now, since they're no longer on the planet.

I like this comment, it is very balanced - thank you.

Spanking your children whom you love is no more like violence than making love to your spouse is like prostitution. The relationship precedes the method or mode of communication as the does the message being communicated. This is why I get tired of books written by these so-called doctors who studied childcare from an objective view - is there such thing as an objective view? Intimate knowledge of someone you love is never objective, but whole-hearted subjective. I think my kids are the greatest kids in the world and my spouse is the best (well, sometimes, heh), but don't we all think the same of those whom we love?

Most of my friends spank, my parents hit my sibs & I insanely, so I vowed never to spank. But I was on my way to spoiling my daughter in the worst way, time-outs did nothing, removing toys was ineffective; I was raising a demanding little princess with no boundaries, stepping all over me and her little brother whom she preferred I "send back to the hospital." It was a spiritual journey and struggle for me to employ some authority over her, to stop being just a playmate and I love playing with her, she was the apple of my eye. We are still trying to find our way, she still pushes her limits (at age 4.5 now) and I try to nip it in the bud. We talk about the spanking and I'm sure I've gone too far, have spanked out of anger at least once. But none of us are perfect. To judge others or others' children with blanket statements is something we need to refrain from doing, because it doesn't help anyone.

Let's agree to disagree and nobody knows everything, not even the "experts."

I feel that spanking is so often wrongly characterized, such as in the this article. This could be because it is not usually practiced properly.

A child should not be struck out of anger ("laziness, thoughtlessness or cowardess"). A spanking is something that is done when a parent is calm and has an expected consequence to direct disobedience. It is not done to punish a child for being childish (such as for spilling his milk at dinner). A spanking is done when a child disobeys a direct direction as an act rebellion. Such a scenario might be, "Do not play in the street." And the child does because he thinks it's a better place to kick his ball. That is disobedience and would merit a spanking in our home (if such a thing were to happen). But, the parent would not be angry, out of control, or behaving cowardly.

The parent says, "I told you not to play in the street. You disobeyed. Daddy/Mommy loves you too much to let you behave that way." The child gets the consequence and then reassurance of the parents love after the spanking is finished.

A spanking is never used as a threat, an outlet for anger or in the place of properly and clearly set bounderies. It is used in specific cases where it is the most effective and especially for a strong-willed child with whom reasoning does not work as effectively.

I feel it would be overstepping parental authority and rights to outlaw spanking. Do we need to invite the State into our living rooms to regulate personal styles of parenting that do not harm children? And how would such a law be enforced? There are simply too many variables.


As with any controversial topic such as spanking, it does not have to be an absolute. As many people have already posted, the controversy comes when parents spank out of anger and frustration, when this physically hurts the child.

Many of today's parents aren't taught to be parents, and don't have good examples of how to effectively raise their children. I see parents all the time yell, "I TOLD you to STOP THAT..." and continue on with whatever it was that the child "interrupted with their bad behavior."

The bad behaving children aren't a product of spanking vs not spanking, but of parents who don't take time to stop and explain to the child WHAT they did wrong and WHY it is wrong, and HOW to behave better (be more gentle when you play with your baby brother, like this). How is the child supposed to know why they are being yelled at, and why it was wrong? And because the parent doesn't do anything about it, yelling doesn't change the child's behavior.

Consequences (I don't like using the word punishment) such as time out, loss of privilege, can be very effective if it is applied consistently so the child can think through for themselves whether an action is worth the consequences. They should be paired with a talk so that the child can learn to voice why parents think this is wrong. (Dangerous to run out in the street without waiting for mommy, you might get hurt by the cars).

And these consequences should try to fit closely to the behavior. If the bad behavior was to knock over a pile of leaves, you get to pile them back up. Or if you spill milk, the proper response is to get a cloth and wipe it up. Not a "punnishment", but an accident still warrants certain follow up behavior.

My dad "spanked" me when I was young, though it was more like 2 mildly firm swats that made an impression. It wasn't done out of anger, and while he could have used a time out, that wasn't, to my knowledge, a well known consequence of the early 70's.

I personally don't use spanking. I have "The Voice" and "The Look", and usually that is enough to get their attention. I am consistent, and they know I will follow through.

I don't believe a law will fix anything. Parents determined to spank their kids will always find a way to do this. And I think for those who use "spanking" in the "proper" way, without anger, and very mildly, will get caught more than the ones we are trying to stop.

It would be hard to word a law to stop the kind of beatings/hard hits that are termed "spanking", but not also catch those who do this correctly. Because this is subject to people's perception of degree, it will be very hard to prove one way or the other. Even if we were to do this, this would likely take citizen involvement, and some people don't like getting involved in "other people's problems."

I didn't get "spanked" as a child, I got the snot knocked out of me! As an adult I thanked my parents for making me tough. Otherwise, I would have ended up being one of those women who hide in the corner and cry when things get out of hand. And, I didn't come out of it with any emotional scars!

I have 3 kids of my own now, and they get spanked, when it's necessary. Just as many of the others have said, it isn't out of anger. It is a definate consequence. For example one of my children is behaving improperly, I give him a choice: "Are you going to stop that, or are you getting a spanking?" He therein decides which will work out better for him, stopping, or receiving the spanking.

And it isn't always necessary with every child, but sometimes it is the only way to get some children to cooperate.

The main thing to keep in mind is that spanking, and abuse are 2 very different things! And that time outs and removal of toys and fun, don't always work with every child.

I have used both methods.
Just exactly are you suppose to do when taking away privileges doesn't work?
When my daughter got older (junior high)she started lying among other things.
While younger she was a very good child. I stopped spanking when she got older because I felt she was to old for it.
I took away TV, riding horses, going out with friends, sleep overs, grounding etc. None of that worked!
I finally ended up giving up and spanking her when she lied to me for no reason about where she was going and the friend she was with car broke down. We had no idea where she was and she came home extremely late. She had a nasty attitude and continued to lie.
If she had let me know where she was going it wouldn't have been a problem. I wouldn't have forbidden her to go.
She lied and I don't have any idea why.
Every time I gave her another chance and she would do it again.
She finally ran off.
I didn't talk to her for years.
She ended up back home 6 years later.
I can't get back the way it used to be. It's like she is a stranger that just happens to live with us.

When did you stop spanking your children as a form of discipline? I genuinely would like to know why you stopped spanking if you thought it was such an effective method of teaching a lesson. I am assuming you did not spank your teenagers or adult children when they did something against your wishes. Why not? Presumably many teenagers and some adult children still need to be set straight by their parents, so why not turn them over your knee and give them a good spank?

I suspect I won't get any replies to my queries.


There is a point, that is different in every child, where it is no longer a effective means of punishment. That should be decided by parent and child, not by an arbitrary law.

My daughter who is six years old does not get spanked anymore. She has developed an inner set of bounderies and self-dicsipline making spanking unncessary. If she misbehaves she has the congnitive skills to be reasoned with and we put together her consequences. Even that is rarely necessary as she does not act out of disobedience or rebellion anymore.

She is, of course, still a child and does childish things. But those are not the things I have ever spanked for anyway.

How silly to even imagining that spanking an adult child would be beneficial.

A little child needs to know what pain is so that when it is older it can differentiate between violence and pain. If they don't learn it from you a wise parent, they will learn it from the ruffians out there in the world. And the lesson MIGHT be sufficient to be deadly.

Don't spank to kill - spank to teach.

I am a believer in the fact that God told us that the father that spares the rod, spoils the child. In the same respect God also tells us not to provoke the child to anger.

There definately is a time to spank as a form of punishment and a time to withhold it. When my daughter was five I would give her the option of going to bed with a spanking or without a spanking, but she WAS going to bed. I let her make her own decision.

Before each administration of a spanking I would ask my child "how old are you?" When the response was given, that's how many smacks they got. My daughter remembers the last spanking she received and refers to it occassionally. She says "I was 12, and knowing that 12 smacks was coming was enough to make me learn to control my behavior".

My older daughter needed only a stern look to elicit corrected behavior from her. Each child is different.

Like you Kathy, I trust the decision-making on spanking to the Lord. He is wiser than all humans, so I employ the traditional, timeless tactic when absolutely necessary.

The more traditional methods of parenting are questioned and/or abandoned, the worse things seem to get when it comes to family life. I see inevitable societal deterioration resulting from increasingly "progressive" parenting, not progress.

To me, spanking's biggest benefit is to remind the children who is in charge: the ADULTS, not the children. That is a critical ideology in proper parenting IMO and teaches children humility and respect for authority - key disciplines that have been steadily eroding ever since the rebellion of the 1960s. No stern talking, timeouts, or TV removal have quite the same effect.

It is truly terrifying in America to think that any government could intrude so heavily upon our freedoms that they would dare take control of parenting by making it "illegal" to spank children. Even the idea makes me shudder and think that the worlds of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 are on the horizon with Big Brother taking over our family lives.

The government should prevent abuse, not discipline, and there's a big difference.

Dr. Kim,

I love your insight and agree with your opinions about 99% of the time, but in this case I respectfully disagree. I think spanking has been employed since the beginning of time for a reason: because it works.

Good point, I think this is why PRISONS in the U.S. are filling up fast!

we spanked my son two times in his young life. He had committed some very serious offenses repeatedly that nothing else had worked on. We did the spankings a) because we had added them as a possible consequence and b) to get his attention. It worked. We got his attention and only then did the message get through. I agonized over the decision to spank and seriously hope I do not ever have to do it again, but its a tool we have if we need it. He has been spanked and knows 1st hand that he doesn't want that to happen again. So when appropriate it is still an effective consequence to aid in behavior correction almost instantaneously! I believe he was maybe 3 and half when we spanked (no more than 4) and he will 6 in a couple of weeks. So far so good! Hope this helps with your query.

Well Talia,

All disipline (of children) is actually the artificial implementation of consequences. What do i mean? Well the real life consequence of running in the street is, if you do it enough times you WILL get run over. Well a parent may choose to spank a child as an artificial consequence, because a child does not have enough life experiance and critical think ability to undetstand the danger of running in the street. I think you may agree, that no matter how sensible your explination of the danger is, children don't always comprehend danger, so to some parents it is much more resonable to spank in that instance then leaving their child to his/her own decisions.

As a child becomes a teen/adult a parent can start to back away from imposing artificial consequences and transition to giving advice and let life supply the consequences. The child/teen is sensible enough to be reasoned with, to some extent. So, as time progresses it becomes more and more reasonable to leave your children to their own decisions rather than imposing the artificial consequences.

hope that helps you understand those of use whom do spank, but not older children.

I will answer. I stopped when they realized that I ment business. I never told them a lie when I said I will count to 10 and if they didn't stop misbehaving they will get a spanking. Children and adults need to know where you stand on an issue and are true to yourself and them too. I always treat them with respect and expect the same from them and if they don't then they know we will have issues to resolve. The older they are the worse it gets if they lose respect. My children know that I do not tolerate disrespecfulness from others and much less from them for they know me better. You may think that I am a mean person, well I am not, I know that children will always test parents to see if you are paying attention to them or not and will pull a lot of tricks behind your back. When they get caught and you don't carry out your punishment they will disrespect you and later on will disrespect the laws too and end up in jail.
Would you rather punish them and keep them straight while young or would you rather not punish them and allow them to think that they can get away with criminal acts and end up in jail? Spanking does not mean leaving bruses and marks all over their bodies, it means giving a child a discomfort on their buttocks only of two to three spanks to desmonstrate that what they did was wrong and should not be repeated again. I didn't have to resort to spanking much because I would only have to change my tone of voice and a mean look to let them know I meant business. All my children are good today. Even now when they behave poorly, I let them know that now they are adults and would have to deal with the law instead of being spanked by me. God will be spanking them from now on and he is much meaner than me.

Early in the twentieth century, a psychologist named B.F. Skinner developed a theory of learning which came to be known as Behaviourism. Skinner found that by providing certain types of rewards or consequences, he could train rats and pigeons to do what he wanted. He called these rewards “Positive Reinforcement” and consequences “Negative Reinforcement”.

The concept of positive reinforcement is very easy to understand. When a desired behaviour is performed, it is rewarded. The purpose is to encourage repetition of the desired behaviour. In the case of the rats and pigeons, the reward was food.

The concept of negative reinforcement, on the other hand, is often misunderstood. It is often explained as inflicting punishment when an undesired behaviour is performed in order to discourage repetition of the behaviour. This is incorrect. The true definition of negative reinforcement is to fail to provide an expected positive reinforcer when an undesired behaviour is performed, or to remove an existing positive reinforcer. In the case of Skinner and his experiments, he negatively reinforced undesired behaviour by withholding the food that the animals expected.

To help make things clearer, we can think of this in terms of mathematical symbols. The positive (+) symbol in math indicates that something is added. The negative (-) symbol indicates that something is taken away.

Thus, by using rewards and consequences that did not involve physical means, Skinner was able to teach his rats and his pigeons certain lessons.

I think to say that we need to use physical forms of punishment in order to teach our children lessons is to seriously underestimate their intelligence. To claim that we can’t shape our children’s behaviour unless we use physical means is to suggest that their cognitive functioning is below that of rats and pigeons.

I will disagree with the individual who posted that alternatives such as time out, taking toys away, etc. don’t work for every child. I believe alternatives to spanking and hitting do work for every child, but parents need to find and apply the right one. The fact is that it takes more time and effort to think of and use an alternative to hitting than to just spank a child, and many parents don’t take that time and make that effort.

In response to the individual who suggested it was silly to imagine that striking an adult child would be beneficial, I would say the same thing about striking small children. If hitting a child is a good and effective teaching method, it should be allowed anywhere and anyone should be allowed to teach in this way. Daycare providers should be able to give a smack to one of their wards should misbehaviour occur, and teachers should be allowed to spank their students as a way of teaching lessons – especially the littlest ones in preschool, as the reasoning I have read here appears to be that children around that particular age just can’t understand alternatives to spanking. I doubt, however, that most parents would be excited if they were told that legislation had been introduced which allowed daycare providers and teachers to hit their children as a means of teaching them lessons.

In my opinion there is no excuse to use hitting or spanking to “teach” a child something. In this day and age there are many resources for parents to learn how to deal with their child’s undesirable behaviour in non-violent ways. There are parenting courses and workshops available, as well as books and resources online.

I find it unfortunate, to say the least, that if an adult strikes another adult this is called assault, but if an adult strikes a child it is called discipline. While children are much smaller than us and don’t know as much about the world as we do, they are still human beings and should be treated as such.

Margaret Chuong-Kim

it is possible to teach good behaviour without spanking. The question is: Do we want to try different methods? Are we good hearted enough to make the effort to talk to our kids 5.000.000 times if that's what it takes, about what they have done wrong and why they should not do it again? I don't think many of us are that good. Most of us want everything quickly. If things are due next june. We want them done 1000 years ago. Well, if not a 1000 years ago. atleast 10 years ago. This is what our problem is.

I have just come across this site, looking for some answers re sugar in fruit. But digressed to this discussion re spanking!

I am just writing in to say I am horrified at the majority views, advocating spanking, and very soon realised that it must be in the US.

I wasn't spanked, nor my siblings. I did not spank my own children either. They have turned out to be a huge credit to me, as I did to my own parents.

No wonder the US is such a violent place and bent on policing and controlling the world.

Susan (UK educationalist & Adult psychoanaytic focused psychotherapst)

It is so sad that so much of the US is so mislead and closeminded when it come to this topic. I am happy to report that me and my family are breaking the vicious cycle and raising out children with gentle non punitive non violent dicipline. It's hard and the most challanging thing I will probably ever do and I am always learning new tools. I wanted to add here there we are christians and have come to the realization that those biblical "commands" to spank that folks like to use to validate their spanking are under the old testement law and we as christian are under the new testement or the testement of GRACE now and so no longer are we to dicipline our children in that old manner. If we look at how Jesus interacted with children and even with adults we see that he taught them with stories, parables, and by his own example. We are to show our children the characture of God and he show us grace not punishment.

So i can rip out the old testament from my bible then?

Most Biblical references to 'rod' are speaking of the law as written on scrolls rolled around rods. The scripture refers to the fact that children (and adults) should live with rules or face consistent, logical consequences .

I was spanked as a child, and as a child and adult I never took to hitting whenever I became angry. I never chose a violent relationship, and when I was in that type of situation I immediately told my mate that behavior would not be tolerated and if he did it again I would leave permanently; he never did it again.

I did not begin disciplining my son with spanking. But when he was 3 and looked at me and said “Let me guess, I am grounded from TV, going anywhere, and from my toys for the weekend, and I can go to my room now, fine”, and goes to his room, I stepped up to spanking. This was after many months of behavior problems, and constant calls from his daycare. My son did not care how much was taken away from him. He could be grounded for over 8 months solid, without caring. As a parent I was at the end of my rope trying to get him to get a grip on what he was doing.

He is still a struggle, and he is 14 now. So far he does not seem to have a reaction to any discipline, whether it be taking things away, or spanking. And I am religious to the disciplining. If I say 1 week it is 1 week. As I have mentioned, he has been grounded for over 8 months at a time without me giving in. But he does not care. He wants to do what he wants to do not matter what the consequence is. He has missed trips to see family members, he has missed going on special outings, and he did not care.

With my son nothing works.

I want to refer to the last entry: I feel such a great sadness from those words "with my son nothing works". Who wants to say that about ones child? I believe that you truly want the best for him but you are discouraged by what is happening between the two of you. To me it sounds like your son is trying to communicate something with his behavior rather than not caring or disobeying. This sounds like a deeply troubled relationship (between the two of you?) rather than a discipline problem. You sound like you are too hard on yourself. Forgive yourself and reconnect with your son. It sounds to me that that is what you really want.

I was born and raised in Germany. I was never spanked to get disciplined. My father hit me a couple times out of anger. He pulled down my pants and hit me so hard on my butt that you could see the marks of his hand afterwards. He didn't hit just once when he did that. I remember that I never understood why he did that when it happened. Later on I understood why he was angry, but that doesn't justify the hitting at all and I always knew that (he apologized later). Of course he was hit (with belts and rulers and everything available at the moment...)in his childhood. I consider myself a very well socialized being. I have good values and sometimes I tend to be too hard on myself to try better in the things that I am doing, the life that I am living and the relationships that I am having. And I can say that me being a good person and knowing what's wrong or right has absolutely nothing to do with being spanked. I was raised without religion either...

How can people train whales or wild cats? certainly not with spanking... Positive reinforcement... But our children are not wild animals nor are they adults. An adult has the capability of relating punishment to the decisions that he/she made. A childs world is still growing. A child just starts understanding these principles. This is like trying to explain yourself to somebody that doesn't speak your language. Children have their own language and we can communicate to them. But I dont think it works with a value system that originates from adulthood.

With hitting we hold such a dangerous weapon against our own children. With weapons comes responsibility. But nobody trains us with this one. We have to learn how to drive, to teach in school, to heal... but nobody trains us with raising our children. Nobody watches us when we make our thousand mistakes big and small in raising our children. And everytime it happens we are glad, nobody caught us. We have to be experts from one day to the other and we are glad, nobody asks us if we feel suitable for the challenge. Nobody wants to fail. And nobody wants to be pointed out as a failure. There is no appliable value system for the perfect parent. Being a parent is a scary place sometimes. There is no black and white. We can only try our best...

I am mother of a 7.5 months old son. I always wanted children and having him is a dream come true. I want him to be strong and yet gentle enough to connect to the people that he loves in a healthy way. I want him to learn to obey (or better understand) when it is appropriate. But I want him to learn how to disobey (or disagree) as well when it is appropriate. I am not free of failure. And the worst thing would be to punish him and regret it. And I know it will happen one way or the other. But I want to plant this resistance into him so he will be able to protect himself. Even from his own mother. Because this was one of the hardest lessons in my life so far, to protect myself (emotionally) from my parents. And this has nothing to do with abuse. This is just everyday life. We are only human and I want my son to know that. I am not free of failure and I want him to understand that. Somebody wrote something like "I am spanking to prepare my child from the pain out there". This is my way to protect my son, to give him his own values and reinforce his selfesteem so that he knows when to disagree when somebody tries to abuse him. And to listen, when he has something to say...

I am very afraid that my hand could slip one day. I hope it will never happen...

Well in my opinion u dont want to treat your child how u were as child because you got spankings but believe it or not i am a child and whenever i act up i get hit and i respond to it by feeling more loved. So next time he does something u dont approve of hit him and he will understand that u love him and u want the best because right now he is in a stage of i dont care and all of us kids go through it so adults need to understand that all we are doing is crying out for love in the form of misbehavior.

I am glad you posted this article Dr. Kim! I am in agreement with those of us who have seen the negatives of spanking or any other kind of corporal punishment on children.

I was witness to my mother's repeated physical abuse of my sister that was classified by her as "discipline" at the time. I was also subject to repeated yelling & screaming often only inches from my face. I recently saw a Supernanny episode addressing the intimidation of an adult getting in a child's face to "motivate" them. She said very succinctly, "You are being a bully" & insisted he take a different approach to his children. As a result his children did behave much better & they were handfuls to say the least before.

I have witnessed also another mother I met in this city I moved to who used both intimidation & minor amounts of light spanking to discipline her children. She was recently called into a parent-teacher conference to discuss her son's lack of progress socially in school & his repeated temper tantrums & his violent acting out.. sometimes towards the other children at his school. His teacher was very very concerned. However, this mother only told me of this to complain & couldn't see how her behavior was perhaps a little over the top & only due to her taking her stress out on her young children (they are 7 & 3 respectively). I went to lunch one time with her & that was the last because everyone in the restaurant was staring at her & her repeatedly putting down her children, belittling them, & at times whacking them on the legs. I tried to suggest she take a stress-management course & stop this & she told me I didn't have children so I didn't know anything & I should shut up. Once she started to attempt to abuse me verbally I knew I should back off & I was very sad that I was witness to such behavior. Her son actually looked up at me that day & asked "Can I go home with you instead?" Very sad.

While I believe that discipline is necessary & very real & that sometimes one may have to carry the kids into a room or whatnot as I've seen on Supernanny I have seen no good come of spanking any child.

Any kind of intimidation, disrespect, or abuse where one is spanking out of anger is unquestionably wrong & should be banned as some countries have done. It is insane to think we can raise children properly & to behave respectfully towards others if we do not treat them with the proper respect while they are still young. I believe the reason we should ban spanking is because most of the adults who use spanking to discipline are being abusive & hitting out of anger. They are not disciplining at that point but they are taking out their feelings in a forceful way on another human being. That is the reason I believe hitting is banned. As we cannot assault another human being as adults ... why should we be allowed to merely because they are our children?

I note that I was respectful & reasonable with that mother's eldest son & never did he attempt to hit me once or hurt me. He just wanted some attention & even though I admit I am not the best with children I have found talking to them as I would an adult sometimes actually works very well with them as I suppose they are merely little adults.

Just my two cents.

This is always a hot topic! And so many of you are correct to say that our children are smarter than animals and should be treated better. I agree! My children are so much smarter than a dog that tradtional negative reinforcement doesn't work. They recognize that I am trying to manipulate the situation. Bottom line is that once the government is involved and spanking is 'banned' then anyone can claim you are abusing your child. If your neighbor calls the CPS on you, you are now permanently in the 'system' regardless of the facts and can loose your children! I would not wish that on anyone! And do not agree that the government should be given that control. Once you give it to them you can't get it back. Everyone who has posted obviously has their childrens best interest in mind and has thoughtfully considered their options. We are not talking about parents like us, we are talking about mentally/verbally/physically abusive parents. To lump every form of spanking into that catergory is inconsiderate of the parents who actually do care and are trying their best with the knowledge they have. There are many 'tools' in the child rearing belt and if a parent chooses to use spanking then we have to respect their decision to do so. One thing I do want to add is staking. I don't believe isolation should ever be used. We are training our children and they do understand much more than any animal, isolation is like going to jail and that is the last thing I want to reinforce. When you grow a tomato plant you stake it up as it grows, if it is left to grow on the ground it will not produce good fruit. As with your children stake them to you. Don't send them away to a room, you are missing valuable time to teach and train them. When I stake my children to me they have to be with me and if possible participate in what I am doing (dishes, cooking, etc.). This as a consequence gives me the opportunity to teach what they did wrong and how to correct it in the future. Ultimately they end wanting to spend that time with you anyhow and what a wonderful relationship you will develop.

Parents who claim that having the right conversation before and after striking a child or that striking a child in the right frame of mind is OK remind me of domestic violence disputes in the days of yore in which the perpetrator claims it's a "family matter." They are fully convinced that their violence is defensible.

We have since matured in our views and now the law says otherwise.

Striking any other human being in public or private is considered a prosecutable crime. Why are children, the most vulnerable of us all, exempt from this protection in our country?

I raised 8 children and I'm sorry to say that I did spank them once in a while. I was raised in the era where it seemed all parents spanked - or used the belt as my father did. Now I have 7 beautiful grandchildren and I could not stand it if my children spanked those sweet little ones. And I'm proud to say they don't. They use the "naughty corner" or time outs or they take away toys etc. All without hitting their children. Not all of my 8 are married yet but hopefully the others will see by the example of their siblings who are already parents that they, too, can be good parents without hurting their children.

I raised my 2 boys in the '60-'70's. There was little material available to parents in those days (or I didn't know how to find it.) I knew instinctively it was wrong for me to hit another person, particularly a small child, and I did not spank my children. But, not knowing other resources besides time-out and talking, family meetings, etc., I did use anger and yelling (not "in your face" however) as intimitation and a vent for my frustration. I feel this can be as bad or sometimes worse than physically hitting a child once or twice with teaching. For all parents, I advise: read books, take classes, learn how to control your own emotions and expectations and then teach your children the same. "Positive Discipline" is a great place to start. PS My boys are beautiful people with beautiful families now. But I do see the effects of that emotional upbringing! I especially see the effects of both physical and emotional (mental)abuse in my two daughters-in-law who came from much more abusive situations.

I was spanked by my parents. I believe I turned out just fine, I didn't turn into some violent blood-thirsty human being. I don't resort to violence to solve everything..."Oh no, the dishes are still dirty, I'M GOING TO BREAK THEM ALL because I was spanked when I was younger" I remember a lot of those spankings I received and I remember a lot of the reasons why I got them. I'm glad I got them because sometimes I was an unruly little child with no respect for anything or anyone.

Kids sometimes do really stupid/unsafe/malicious things for no apparent reason other than they are young and testing. I remember one day going outside when I was little and grabbing a handful of rocks from our driveway and throwing them out into traffic.... I'm glad I was spanked for that.

In my experience with how my parents applied their spankings it worked out just fine. I still love and respect my parents and I don't have some distorted view of the world now(other than I think it is highly immoral and only getting worse, if that's distorted).

There are more variables to spankings than people care to acknowledge. It depends on the person applying the spanking, their attitude/mood, the reason for the spanking, the child and his/her response, the parents follow-up with the child. To say that all spanking is bad seems a little strange to me. Yes, there are other ways of dealing with things concerning kids misbehaving that should be tried FIRST, but sometimes(as was my case a few times) spanking is the only thing that will get through. It's easy to target something and place as much blame as you want on that something. All those video games and music make kids shoot up their schools right? It could easily be argued that always smiling, being happy, and smothering your children with hugs and kisses can lead to overly sensitive adults. But that's another article.

Here are a couple important things to keep in mind.... "corporal punishment <strong>CAN</strong> lead to emotional and behavioral problems down the road" The article says it <strong>CAN</strong> lead to problems, not it <strong>DOES</strong> lead to problems. You can change the words in that sentence from "corporal punishment" to whatever your preferred method of discipline is and the sentence would still be true, because the brain and how it can do what it does is too complex to totally understand. And number 2 is that every child, every situation, every disciplinary need, every parent is different. To say that spanking is ALWAYS 100% bad is silly, and to say that there is ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE spanking can cause harm to growing children is equally as silly.

This is a touchy subject though like a couple people have pointed out already. I don't want to stir up any more frustration in others so I'll just end my opinion now.

Hi. While I disapprove of spanking in theory, I nevertheless think that Tim has made a few valid points. If you are going to spank, tho, make sure it's not too much or too hard.

I don't think it can be proved that a few mild spankings will result in seriously messed-up children. It's just not true. We parents should behave according to our conscience, and think before we act, yet, ultimately, our children behave the way they do because of mainly unknown factors; I think that we are born with a kind of stamp on our psyche, and will be required to live according to that.

Yes, the advice in the article on "fostering a good relationship with your children...without intimidation or violence" is very nice, and I agree. But so many children, including mine, were born into a less-than-perfect (MUCH less than perfect) household and domestic situation. Therefore, I could not be the parent I wanted to. God Almighty gives everyone a row to hoe and even though we know we are behaving imperfectly toward our children, there seems to be a force, sometimes, that causes us to act poorly.

Regarding "time out": that is just as bad as spanking lightly, if not worse! Why would anyone think it harmless to isolate a young child that way? This is the equivalent of solitary confinement for a person in jail: they maybe learn to not misbehave any more, but they hate the person who shunted them aside to silently deal with their rage.

The most important thing to remember about spanking is that when you do it, it is done because you can't think of a consequence that is more logical and appropriate, but you know something must be done as a result of the child's behavior. For example, when your child runs into the street, spanking is often the only response that comes to mind, and you know that something must be done. The danger of spanking is that it introduces an emotional factor which you can't control, and can lead the recipient of the spanking to become emotional instead of rational, when in a different situation at a later date. This can cause ineffectual behavior, when decisiveness and effectiveness is required. Spanking must be limited to those rare times when you don't know what else to do, and yet you know something must be done. Later, you will need to discuss the situation with your child, when the emotion is no longer in focus.

As an alternative to spanking in the above example, you might consider picking up the child, placing the child inside, and not allow the child to go outside where in-street behavior is not possible. This way of defining boundaries doesn't have to have such a strong emotional component, and you don't have to feel bad about spanking either. Then let the child try again as soon as possible so the child can show what was learned. Be sure that the limits are more restrictive, so that getting too close to the street, such as before the sidewalk, is the new limit. Remember to supervise closely until the child shows that the rule is understood and will be honored. Instead of spanking for the bad behavior, you can reward the newly learned safe behavior. This is a general rule which applies to children throughout their lives, that you will have limits on your freedom when you show you can't act responsibly in an environment which has dangers you don't understand and situations where you can't do anything to protect yourself from them (or where you choose to act in an irresponsible way). Use this method when appropriate, because any consequence should be logically applied when natural consequences are not possible (the natural consequence of playing in the street cannot be allowed to occur).

Regarding rock throwing: Rock throwing is socially unacceptable, and should be treated that way. When a child shows unsociable behavior, the child should be removed from the social situation, have time to become aware of the possible reason for the removal, and later discuss the situation and the consequence. If the child cannot handle any part of the three steps, then go back to step 1 or 2 and later try again. Arguing, complaining, put-downs, etc. are not needed, and can inject the emotional situation you tried to avoid by not spanking. Keep emotion out of discussions, and generally speaking, out of disciplinary actions. Rock throwing, fighting, bullying, and other forms of bad social behavior can normally be handled in this way.

Finally, time out is time out from reinforcement. Reinforcement is that which gives the individual something they seek, like food, attention, or even revenge. So don't fight or argue, or even talk with your child at first, except to say what you will do. For example, say 'I will be back in 5 minutes and talk with you about what you did, and why you are here. I will ask you if you are ready to discuss your behavior, and I will ask for your opinion about why you are here." If the child wants to argue or fight, leave.

Hi, well I read your post and i think its so true what your saying. I was to spanked when i was a child and i learned a lot of things that i shouldn't do. But dude spanking is not right is just not right. Get back on me right away i need to learn more.

I remember wandering next door into a horse lot. My father brought me out and explained the horses could hurt me, I could pet the horses on this side of the fence and was not to go into the horse lot.

My father saw me again in the horse lot, brought me out explaining the situation once more and added if he caught me in the horse lot I would receive a spanking.

True to his word I received my spanking and did not go into the horse lot again but stayed on my side of the fence to pet the horses.

Dad did not do this in anger but in love and my father earned my respect. I learned he was a man of his word and there were consequences to my actions. He taught me to always do what is right -- even if no one was looking!!

Like some of the others who have spoken up, I too was spanked as a child. It wasn't over every little thing but over the big things where my parents really needed to make a point. Like when I stole something from the store or I wandered way off in the woods up a creek right after they told me not to. It was usually something that was illegal, or endangered myself or others. I do not have any ill feelings towards my parents, in fact I love them dearly! I am not a violent person or in an abusive relationship. I am a wife, a parent and an educator in an elementary setting. Sometimes an immediate consequence is needed and sometimes a logical one is not always available. I also agree that spankings should not be abusive or in anger and only done after clear warnings have been issued along with other methods of discipline having been exhausted.

As an educator, I have noticed a decline in respect towards authority (in general) but very clearly in our schools. The students now know that we can't do anything to them and many like to throw that back in our faces. I have had students tell me things like, "you can't touch me" and "my parents don't care what I do in school". Which may be true. So they're not getting it at home or in the schools. I remember in my day, if you got in trouble at school, you got in trouble at home. There's not as much as that going on anymore. If you ask any teacher who has been teaching for many years, they too will point out the observation that since they have taken corporal punishment out of our schools, the kids have taken the power. Many kids still respect authority of adults but just as many do not, unfortunately. These children are allowed to run their own lives with few consequences and as a result will likely grow up without having learned certain boundaries that will make them good citizens of our society.

Laura, I was spanked a few times as a child, also. However, I don't recall what the spankings were for, just the general sense of shame that came with them. I do however, recall the time that I was caught stealing flowers from neighbors' yards. I had to go to their door and apologize. Talk about learning a lesson! Another time I was caught sneaking candy. Instead of being spanked I went without dessert for a week. Those are the lessons that stuck with me. The supposed decline of corporal punishment has nothing to do with the lack of respect in our society. That has everything to do with being an over-busy, self-absorbed society in which individuals care more about themselves than giving of themselves to their children. Children desperately want and need love, attention and respect, something sadly lacking in many homes today.

After trying to spank my oldest son the "right" way as laid out in a Christian parenting book, I found that it just went against my mothering instincts. The only time it feels right to spank is when I'm angry and I know for certain that it's wrong then. I spent time in prayer and research and came to the conclusion that as a Christian I am not instructed by the Bible to spank my children, how freeing! I'm instructed to discipline, guide, lead, entreat, etc. Instead of repeating what others have said much more coherently and authoritatively than I can, I'd recommend anyone interested in learning why the "spare the rod, spoil the child" statement is misinformed as well as proper exegesis of the "rod" verses visit www.Laura, I was spanked a few times as a child, also. However, I don't recall what the spankings were for, just the general sense of shame that came with them. I do however, recall the time that I was caught stealing flowers from neighbors' yards. I had to go to their door and apologize. Talk about learning a lesson! Another time I was caught sneaking candy. Instead of being spanked I went without dessert for a week. Those are the lessons that stuck with me. The supposed decline of corporal punishment has nothing to do with the lack of respect in our society. That has everything to do with being an over-busy, self-absorbed society in which individuals care more about themselves than giving of themselves to their children. Children desperately want and need love, attention and respect, something sadly lacking in many homes today.

After trying to spank my oldest son the "right" way as laid out in a Christian parenting book, I found that it just went against my mothering instincts. The only time it feels right to spank is when I'm angry and I know for certain that it's wrong then. I spent time in prayer and research and came to the conclusion that as a Christian I am not instructed by the Bible to spank my children, how freeing! I'm instructed to discipline, guide, lead, entreat, etc. Instead of repeating what others have said much more coherently and authoritatively than I can, I'd recommend anyone interested in learning why the "spare the rod, spoil the child" statement is misinformed as well as proper exegesis of the "rod" verses visit this site:

I will just conclude by saying that for such a Bibilically supported practice as spanking supposedly is, it seems odd to me that there isn't one, single example in the entire (mostly narrative) Old Testament or the New Testament. And those verses that supposedly support spanking come from the poetic passages of Proverbs, full of symbolism and hyperbole. If we are to take those "rod" passages literally, then parents should be doing more than spanking their children when rebellious, the should be following the clear instructions of Deuteronomy 21:18-21 to stone their children. Since the law has been fulfilled I am no longer under that law and can look to the fulfillment of the law (Jesus) as my guide. His treatment of children in the New Testament was nothing but loving, kind and gentle.

I will just conclude by saying that for such a Bibilically supported practice as spanking supposedly is, it seems odd to me that there isn't one, single example in the entire (mostly narrative) Old Testament or the New Testament. And those verses that supposedly support spanking come from the poetic passages of Proverbs, full of symbolism and hyperbole. If we are to take those "rod" passages literally, then parents should be doing more than spanking their children when rebellious, the should be following the clear instructions of Deuteronomy 21:18-21 to stone their children. Since the law has been fulfilled I am no longer under that law and can look to the fulfillment of the law (Jesus) as my guide. His treatment of children in the New Testament was nothing but loving, kind and gentle.

As a parent of 3 adult children, considering our parenting knowledge/skills 30 + yrs. ago of occasionally using corporal punishment, I recently learned of an approach from working with children (4-12 y/o) at a behavioral health hospital). I'd like to share the idea of this approach. It's worked wonderfully with our now 7 y/o grand daughter.

When our grandchild understood directions (~ 2 y/o), we explained the 'rules of the house.' Interestingly, she understood 'boundary' as something one did not cross. In addition we explained consequence: what happens when she crossed the line.

The method came from a book 1, 2, 3, Magic. When an incident occurred, we would gently say "That's a 1..." and repeat the direction. On a 2nd recurrence, we would give a reminder: "That's a 2..." along with the statement that if there was a 3rd occurrence, it would result in a time out (e.g., minutes = to child's age).

Several instances she did do time out...sitting in a child sized chair in a corner with a timer. When time was served, she could then leave her chair and nothing more was said.

Our observation is that over a several year period, she is now responsive to a reminder of "That's a 1..." and will
usually comply. There are no tantrums or resistance, and she appears quite happy, at peace with herself and us, and confident.

Till children acquire language and reasoning skills, they will often act out their feelings. As we provide a safe environment, including loving discipline and training, they will develop in maturity. -jv

Kids are not adults or animals nor should they be treated as such.
One should not spank if they don't have a tight bond with his/her child. I would like to see research on spanking by parents who put their children in daycare compared to parents who keep their children at home. I would venture to believe that separation practices such as daycare and divorce have negatively impacted our children far more than spanking. [Although it's much easier on our society's psyche to blame parents who spank.]
In fact, I think that the spanking research needs further uncovering - see freakenomics (i.e. crime rates in the U.S. were dropping -- the root cause was the decision of Roe v. Wade allowing abortions and consequently reducing the number of children born into poor - crime-causing conditions). Likewise, I believe that we may discover that children whose parents have abandoned them hold greater resentment towards physical punishment -- associating this person who has chosen not to be with me all day now wants to discipline me with a harsh smack instead of a hug that I so greatly crave.
In other words, if you have put in the time from infancy and have an established connection with your child, then and only then may you use spanking successfully. Otherwise, don't even think about it. If you reread some of the 'unsuccessful spanking stories' you will discover instances where there wasn't that bond (one was a stepfather who entered the child's life at age 8 or 9 and another was a mother who put her child in daycare and struggled with her daughter's constant rebellion'

I was spanked. My sister was spanked. My brother wasn't. All three of us are normal healthy adults. Being spanked did not alter my brain into thinking violence was an approved form or communicating issues or anything. Now I was never spanked for simple stuff. I went through life only having been spanked 3 times. Once when I used the N word at school (my mother also smacked my grandpa around who taught me the word), when I shoplifted a pack of gum from the store, and the last time was when I directly disobeyed my mother and risked getting severely hurt in the best case or dead in the worst.

You know what, I have managed to go through my life after that without stealing, without cussing or insulting other people. So I would say yea on some things spanking works. However, it's not for everyone. My bother did stuff as bad as I did but never got spanked. His punishments fell along the lines of meaningless manual labor and such. That worked on him. It didn't on me. My parents never spanked me in anger or frustration. I would be grounded for a week until they decided on a punishment. If a spanking was deemed necessary it was bare bottom and it was done hard enough that I would never consider doing something like that again.

I know a lot of people think it's terrible, but I know for me, at least, without spanking there is no telling how horrid of a person I would be. I hope my kids never need to be spanked but if it comes down to it then I will do it. It's my job to raise them as productive, mature and reasonable members of society.

I have 2 grandchildren about the same age (10). One gets spankings whenever she needs, and the other has never gotten spanked. Her mother says she never got spanked and so her child should not get spanked. I have watched the 2 of them from little girls to now. The undisciplined one is sassy, mean, does what she wants with no consequence, from hitting her mom to talking back to her grandparents. She can lie at the drop of a hat to try to get out of trouble. The other child gets spanked whenever she needs it, and she is sweet and minds her mom most of the time. I've seen her misbehave once in awhile but not like my other grandchild. The other child is left to do her own thing, from watching tv programs that are not suitable and hanging around with older kids. The disciplined one has monitored tv time and does not get to watch tv without supervision........You figure!?

I was spanked as a kid and I would spank my own 2 kids if necessary but, like my mother I established boundaries early with my kids; tantrums in the terrible twos. An altered voice and angry look after a stern talking to and when throwing themselves on the ground I found the little hairs on the back of their neck and pulled them just enough to make them stand upright. I only had to do it two or three times before the tantrums stopped permanently. My mother taught me that lesson when I was a child. Nowadays my kids are excellent adults and we all agree that spankings and fear of spankings/intimidation have kept them out of trouble. The aren't violent and they laugh when hearing about the non spanking methods parents try to use. They agree that their friends who were raised without spankings are manipulative grown ups now. Those without spankings tend to think they are always right and they tend to lie with little worry about consequences where my kids would immediately fear consequences before even attempting deceitful actions.
I think our future has been damages forever by parents that are more interested in treating children like they are little adults. Kids today are very spoiled and have little if any discipline. I think in the long run our society is suffering from the change in attitude about corporal punishment in and out of schools.
Again, I was spanked as a form of severe punishment for major offenses and I am a good person, I don't hate my mother and I don't think it was wrong when it needed to happen. I support those parents that follow in their parents footsteps with spanking and are still good people with no leanings towards violence. I believe in teaching your kids discipline at home so when they leave the nest they understand severe consequence for bad behavior.