Why We Don’t Hit Our Kids

I don’t recall ever being hit when I was a child, and I know that Linda was never hit or spanked as a child either. For us, the very idea of hitting a child has a sense of wrongness, of unfairly taking advantage of our physical superiority. As a result, one of the tenets of how we’re raising our three children is no hitting.

Now I’ll be candid, because not hitting them doesn’t mean that sometimes we don’t want to hit them. When they’ve been temporarily replaced by strange alien monsters who are beyond reason and horrible little humans, torturing each other, hurting our animals, or deliberately provoking us, well, let’s just say that sometimes not hitting takes a lot of self-discipline!

This also doesn’t mean that our children don’t hit each other and don’t, on occasion, hit us. Ah, I’d love to imagine what it would be like to live in a completely peaceful household, but then again, without the difficulties of anger and frustration we wouldn’t be able to also experience – and enjoy – the highs of joy and delight either…

While we live in a small pocket of Colorado where the norm is to not hit children, I believe our society overall still works with the rules of the jungle: might makes right.

Watch TV, even sitcoms, and bigger people harassing and beating up smaller people is a core theme that is astonishingly pervasive. For children, it’s even more overwhelming because they’re the little folk in the equation. When you’re five, or eight, or twelve, almost everyone is bigger than you are.

How to handle bullying is a constant topic at our local school, and with Columbine High School just a few miles up the road, it’s a topic that every parent thinks about whether their children are in the early grades or moving into the challenging high school years.

We live in a violent society and a particularly violent and frightening age, with Katrina, Rita, and the fear of Mother Nature, fears about the violence and endless war in Iraq, the fear of terrorists, and on and on. Personally I’d much rather have us all living in harmony and peace, but I’m just a drop of water in a very big ocean.

So the place where I try to create more peace and harmony, while being cognizant of the need for being open to the full spectrum of emotions, is within my home. That’s why we don’t hit our children.

Every time a child is hit, they learn that when they get bigger or they find someone smaller they can impose their will upon their hapless victim with a fist, a paddle, a belt, an open hand, or who knows what else.

Having said that, I’ll be the first to say that we definitely have rules in our house and consequences for misbehavior. I certainly don’t want to live in the House of Chaos and so we create a household stitched together with love, respect, and a desire to “do the right thing”.

So let me ask you, dear reader. Do you ever hit or spank your children? If so, why, how does it make you feel, and what message do you think it sends to your child, both short-term and in the long run?

69 comments on “Why We Don’t Hit Our Kids

  1. To be honest, this was a decision my wife and I had to work through. It wasn’t easy but we did decide that spanking would be part of our disciplinary strategy with our children. Notice I said “part”. We only use this selectiviely and in extreme cases. Some weeks we don’t even spank, but others it is unavoidably necessary.
    I think in this day-and-age it actually takes courage to spank, and to say you spank. To be effective you have to have a clear plan on what merrits that form of discipline. This is something my wife and I are always working on, even weekly, to make sure we are using it effectively. I do not necessarily agree that spanking promotes violence if it’s done in loving. I know this may sound like a contradiction but it’s not. I think that it has definately had a postive affect on the behavior, demeanor, and attitude of our children. We LOVE our kids. We tell them we love about 10 times everyday, and kiss and hug as much.
    I also don’t do it to ‘show my kids who’s boss’ or that I am stronger than them. When we spank them we then sit down with them on our laps. We let them cry it out and talk softly and gently to them explaining why it happened. We also explain the desired behavior. And we finish by telling them how much we love them and hug and kiss them. This process takes time but we do it EVERY time we spank them. This way the spank never becomes confused as some act of agression or anger.
    That’s what we do and we have seen it be very effective in our children. Again, it is only part of our strategy.
    PS-I answered this knowing that many people will read this thinking I’m some kind of savage. But this is what we do and we respect the decisions each parent has to wrestle with by raising kids in todays world. We LOVE our kids with all our hearts and know they are a gift from God.

  2. Dave, I unfortunetley did grow up in a house where hitting and spanking was the norm. I was 13 when my younger sister was born and I helped to discipline her, with spanking. So when I had my own children I just assumed that spanking is the way to go. I have since changed. The first time I spanked my daughter, I felt I had commited a criminal act and I hit her out of anger and fustration, not to teach her a lesson or to tell what she was doing was wrong. Since then I have resolved to not spank, but it is a struggle everyday to go against my ingrained tendencies to spank. I applaud the fact that you can maintain your stance on no spanking, I believe that spanking has very negative effects on the young. It seems that the more spanking that was going on in our house the more hitting the kids were doing to each other. Like I said sometimes I feel like I have no other options and I resort to spanking, but on the whole I feel like I have learned the value of not spanking.

  3. Jason, I never thought of sitting down and explaining why to our kids. My mom never did. You got spanked and sent to your room. Your method seems anything but savage. Mine in comparrison is. Thank you for sharing why and how. It has opened my eys to my very un-healthy way of spanking.

  4. I think you are basically right, Dave, and I try not to spank my kids. However, like some of the others above, I was spanked (and kicked, and whacked) when I was a kid, and that seems to do something to you that makes spanking your instinctive first reaction when confronted with “naughty” kids. I try hard not to spank my kids, but sometimes my hand is faster than my brain. I always feel guilty later, and usually apologize to my kid, and explain what I was mad about. It always amazes me how forgiving kids are.
    At one stage, after discussing it with my wife, we decided to only spank when our kids do something dangerous. It seemed the only way to teach pre-verbal kids about heaters, plugs etc.
    I still remember the time I spanked my 10 month old son on the hand for playing with a plug and power outlet. He turned right around and whacked my hand. I spanked him again, and he did it again.
    So what did it teach him?
    I think that removing the child (physically) from the situation is best. After a few (?) times, they seem to forget about whatever it was they were trying to do. Eventually they learn, and we can only protect them as best we can until then.
    Aah, but I wish my hand would slow down sometimes. I envy your non-spanking heritage, and hope that a new one will start in my own family.

  5. Dave, I absolutely agree with your statement “that the very idea of hitting a child has a sense of wrongness, of unfairly taking advantage of our physical superiority.” I also believe that this applies to any person in your life or anyone you ever encounter. Hitting is abuse. It is never okay for one partner in a relationship to hit the other—no matter how sorry they are after, nor should it ever be okay or justifiable to hit a child. The cycle of violence needs to stop.
    Thank you for your good work in educating and enlightening.

  6. There is a big difference between spanking and hitting. I was spanked as a child when I did something very wrong and I turned out great. I will only spank my daughter if she has done something very bad. I do have a “time out” spot for her and my husband and I use it a lot when she is bad, but sometimes a swat on the butt is what she needs. I do not consider spanking abuse at all and that does not make me a bad parent. I am a very good and loving parent and tell my daughter about 50 times a day how much I love her and give her kisses and hug. She knows that if she does get a spanking she has done something very bad. Everyone has there own opinion on how to raise children . It does not make one person better at it than the other. Yes there is a lot of abuse in families that needs to be stopped and some people certainly do not deserve to be parents but like I said there is a big difference between spanking and hitting.

  7. As a psychologist, here is what I tell parents about spanking:
    1) For a child under 2 years, it probably does no good because your child may not see the link between a specific action and the spanking.
    2) Spanking has its benefit in the shock value. Spanking for everything produces no shock or suprise, but if you use it infrequently it will be surprising. Once a week for significant misbehavior is probably OK, but more than that and it isn’t rare anymore. Many define “significant misbehavior” as something dangerous. Of course, this means you need a bag full of other parenting and discipline techniques to fall back on.
    3) One, prompt, calm, open handed swat, to the clothed butt, in private, followed by explanation and time out, is probably OK. A lot of nagging, yelling, spanking when angry, multiple hits, or humiliation means some emotional state was stronger than the shock value of a spanking and runined the message you were sending.
    4) After a child gets to age 8 or 9, they can reason well enough that spanking probably isn’t the most effective technique anymore.
    Hope this helps
    Richard Niolon, Ph.D.

  8. I think spanking is wrong.
    My parents began with spanking, but when that stopped working they went to hair-pulling, whipping, kicking, and slapping. Then my brother took my parent’s example and began doing those things to me, his younger sister.
    I’ve been through years of therapy to cope with the anger and depression of those early years, and I have made a vow – a covenant with my child – that I will never hit her.
    Violence only begets more violence.

  9. I was spanked when a little kid, and it did hurt. My dad or mom would explain why they were spanking, and I learned that it was wrong to do certain things. If I stole or lied, I would get spanked. Now I know it is wrong, and it helps me a great deal when I’m tempted to steal or lie. I’m not saying that getting spanked didn’t hurt-it did. But I remembered my punishment the next time I was tempted. Whenever I got spanked, my parents would tell me that they loved me. I doubted it, at the time, but I now know that if they had let me get away with doing something wrong, I would have had much more serious issues today. That’s from a kid’s perspective.
    Now to you adults: If you spank your child in the right way, it’s okay. What I mean is if you are trying to show them that what they did was wrong, tell them you love them, and not let anger get in the way, it’s okay. Your child has been given to you to teach. You teach them how to read, go to the potty, and teaching them what is wrong is also just as helpful.
    In conclusion, I would like to say that spanking is not horrible. There are people out there who spank just to hurt the child, and really do abuse them. But if the parent spanks the child out of love, the child will be a lot more obedient and much less inclined to steal, cheat, etc.

  10. The appropriateness of spanking often depends on the child. To some children, spanking can alert them to something that they did wrong, and the punishment reinforces the lesson. But for many children, especially today, spanking is yet another form of parental bullying, and it could push the children even further away from a loving relationship with their parents. Much of the attitude of the child is a result of how the child is raised, but I feel that you shouldn’t have to spank if you have raised your children well. But what do I know. I don’t have children yet. But I do know that if one must spank, much of the negativity of spanking can be mitigated by the behavior of the parent doing the spanking. It’s critical to do the spanking with love, not anger. And explaining what the child did wrong is essential. It’s also VERY important to make it clear that the spanking is harder on the parent than the child, so the child doesn’t equate hitting with size and attitude and bullying. They are less likely to feel helpless. Make sure that the parent doesn’t get blamed. It’s not the PARENT that spanks, but the child’s behavior. And remember, it’s not enought to TELL the child. You have to SHOW children love.
    I don’t plan on spanking my children when I have them. I am living proof of what spanking does to people. Let me show how my “parents” treated me. One yelled, reacted in anger, “spanked” with a belt or an 18″ metal ruler. The other spanked me ONE time during my whole childhood, but did so out of fear and love. (I almost choked myself.) After the spanking, he explained what I did wrong and took me to get an ice cream cone. He always treated me with respect and love, even when he caught me “stealing” his car. Guess which parent I still speak to.

  11. “It’s not the PARENT that spanks, but the child’s behavior.”
    I’m sorry, Alex, but this makes me sick to my stomach. How is this any different from the rape defense of “I didn’t rape her, she told me she wanted it by dressing in such a skimpy outfit” or “You know I hate it when you look at me ‘that way'” or …
    I mean, I’m sorry, action can inevitably produce consequences, but as rational adults, we are free to decide WHAT and HOW we react to the behavior of our children.
    I’m not a perfect Dad, but man, I’d never ever try to blame any physical aggression on the child or their behavior. That’s your decision about how you want to react to their actions.

  12. Dave,
    I think you missed my point. What I meant was that it’s important that the child associates the punishment with the crime, not the one doing the punishing. A loving relationship with the child MUST be maintained. Corporal punishment threatens that because being hit by someone (even a parent) is extremely traumatic. So somehow, if you must spank, I think that you must make the child associate the spanking with the wrongful act that he did, and not the parent that spanks the child.

  13. Dave,
    I raised two children, one boy, one girl. The
    boy was much older than the girl, the boy was very hyperactive. The girl had asthma that reacted to stress. The boy was raised with spanking, the girl was raised with no spanking.
    The boy turned out with a much better attitude
    but the girl is doing fine also, just feels that
    with no spankings she raised herself. The boy
    at age 16 got in trouble, but with my help straightened himself out and is now a high up person in society. The girl didn’t learn many
    basics, so life on her has become much harder to
    get thru. She is 27 now, and is just becoming
    like many 18 year olds, lags that far behind in
    social skills. From my experiment, I believe that spanking has many beneficial areas of teachings as long as it is done in love. The girl went to college, the boy is now a high up
    supervisor on his job. The boy is married, the
    girl never has married. Had I to do it all over
    again, I would have spanked the girl for misbehavior also, done in love of course. It would have made her a much better person today.
    I was raised with spankings. I always said my
    children would NEVER be spanked. Sorry folks,
    but due to my experience, I would have to vote
    for spankings done in the correct loving manner.

  14. spanking is discipline and one of the major reasons people have a problem with it is to many parents dont have a clue what its for. First off its not for when your ticked off pissed off, upset and angry, its for when the children disobey, are defiant, “I will NOT”, or, as one parent says, her children sometimes hit her and she doesn’t spank?
    Oh yes, to all those that say children learn all the bad behaviour from the parents the parent already said they don’t hit the children so whys the children hitting them and you know what will happen to that child when it grows up and hits a co worker or a boss?
    Anyways, I have raised four children alone for ten years. That’s right a man raising four children alone, three girls and one son, we live in Canadian poverty, in the country, and we heat with wood.
    I spanked every one of my children when they were little and they disobeyed and, that’s exactly right, you sit them down, you talk to them and explain why they must obey
    and how you love them, and what they did wrong.
    A spanking is to relief the child of guilt and shame. Watch the little house on the prairie series, when the boy says its ok mom, it will make me FEEL BETTER.
    When a child is spanked he or she should not be sent away, they should be loved and prayed with and cried with and held, and then the relationship restored.
    My children are not little now and they don’t get spanked, but they dont fight, don’t argue, they never have sibling problems. If there is one piece of cake left they say its ok you have it, no its ok, I had two yesterday.
    Anyways, parents that can raise children without spanking, well, rah rah for you. If you got great children good for you, but if you have a child like my third was and you didn’t spank then you would have a serious problem on your hands today. So good for you, it works for you, but don’t tell me how I raised my children was or is wrong.
    In fact, tell my children, and find out what they will say to you, then let my 18 year old come into your house and watch the behaviour of your children for an hour and see if she thinks your sweetems are as good as you think they are.
    To all the parents that do spank, its not a wack in the head and get to your room, its not a beating with a wooden spoon,
    its not screaming and yelling and hitting for spite, its a spanking and loving and making it RIGHT.

  15. I’m sorry, but when you have a 3 or 4 year old who is completely out of control, what else can you do? Especially when they are endangering themselves or others, they sometimes need to be jolted back to Earth. Unfortunately, sometimes a little spank on the bottom is the only way to stop the hysteria in order to get their attention and then to talk to them in a calm and loving way.

  16. It’s interesting to me that someone compared her child who was spanked to the one who wasn’t, and concluded that if she had spanked the younger child, perhaps she’d have turned out better. This sounds completely absurd to me.
    I’m also amused by the idea that the only way you can have good, well-behaved children is by spanking them. Evidently, Dave, we’re raising the new generation of problem children.

  17. Hello,
    I am so happy I found this website. Two days ago, I had to spank my 10-year-old daughter…it was about 3 years in the making and I am still feeling torn because of it.
    When my daughter was 5, I spanked her for stealing money from me ($50) and lying about it. Not sure what she was going to do with it, but I spanked her nonetheless because it was wrong. For days after this spanking, every time I went near her, she would cringe. If I was angry at her, she’d ask “Are you going to spank me?” Then and there I realized that spanking was “OUT” and time-outs & other forms of punishment were “IN”. Today, when she does something wrong, she will simply “suggest” to us what her punishment should be. I mean, she has a list of stuff and when the punishment is over, there has been no change in her attitude or behaviour.
    Here we sit 5 years later and I have had to go back on my word to her that I would never spank her again. I will say, that in the past 3 years, her behaviour towards me and her dad is more laid back and she basically will listen to us when she wants to…we have been patient but patience is a virture, right? And like I said, this spanking was in the pipes for a long time.
    Anyway, I gave her 4 lashes and explained to her why I had to and I have to tell you, SHE’S BEEN THE PERFECT CHILD…doing homework without being told, cleaning her room, asking me if I need help around the house, being polite, etc., ever since. Which is why I am torn by my decision to implement spanking again. I hope I never have to spank again….but if I do, I’m not sure how to handle it.
    Had I not spanked her, I would still be dealing with her steadily declining behaviour…
    Now that I have spanked her, her behaviour has improved. She is very loving and seems to hold not grudge or animosity because of this but I wonder, DID IT HELP or is this just an ILLUSION?
    Not really sure

  18. My son is 4 and is very high energy! I love his spirit but i do have a hard time with him listening and doing what he’s told “to come with me or to stop running away” I told myself i would never spank my child but I’ll be damned if he’s going to run out to the road.What should i do? I still have to keep him in a cart shopping because he runs away.I envy parents who kids stay with them.I know that children do not understand the word no until they are two but he is 4 and understands it.I am at my wits end alot,lol.He is the love of my life and i don’t want to see him hurt.I don’t believe in inflicting pain to make someone do my will.any answers?

  19. You can all have fun with this… but you parents are out of your minds. Time outs? Give me a break! I was at the Olive Garden in Hyannis, Massachusetts this past Saturday with my girlfriend. We are both in our 30’s with no children by choice. A family with three boys who appeared to be under 4 were in need of a SEVERE SPANKING. We go out to dinner not to see children running around the restaurant, knocking things over, and swinging the light fixtures. Parents – please DISCIPLINE YOUR FREAKING CHILDREN!!!

  20. My parents spanked me frequently and even used a belt sometimes. And 30 years later, I still resent it. So that says something. And what’s more, it didn’t prevent me or my brother from being bad or doing the same things over and over again. So it really served no purpose except to instill fear in us, which it did effectively.
    But more importantly, I agree that it teaches “might makes right”. What do you do when your kids are too big or strong to spank? Will you have no way to discipline them then?
    I remember the day that my mom stopped spanking me and my brother. My brother had done something wrong. He was probably about 14 years old. My mom got a belt and started hitting his legs, but my brother grabbed the belt and held onto it. She told him to let go, but he didn’t. And she couldn’t do anything about it because he was stronger than her. So that was it. No more spanking and no alternatives to fall back on. Clearly she needed a more effective strategy that didn’t rely on physically overpowering him.
    And lastly, if your kids learn that spanking is the appropriate way to deal with misbehavior, then they may treat pets that way. And spanking pets is utterly useless and harmful. Kids can really hurt pets by doing that. There are better ways to teach pets not to misbehave, and the same things can work with kids.

  21. I do not have children,however; I have two nephews I could spank, but I chose not too because children need love. I do not understand how people say they spank in a loving way. There is no such thing if you hit someone then say I love you that sounds like confusion to me.
    Yes,sometimes children will obey after being spanked, but it is out of feardo you rally want your children to fear you.
    So, stop being lazy because that is what spanking is really about it’s easy and quick but what kind of damange is it causing in the long run, or don’t you care about that parents.

  22. Dave,
    I’m sorry for the way you and your brother were disciplined. I don’t think that your parents knew the purpose nor the appropriate method for spanking. They seemed to confuse hitting with spanking. Spanking is a whole procedure. It is more than just a whack or a dozen whacks on the bottom. If it doesn’t include a lesson, hugs and kisses afterwards, and a promise from the child to try to not repeat the bad behaviour, it’s just abuse.
    As I said earlier, my father spanked me only ONCE. My other parent spanked me dozens or hundreds of times, but I don’t remember a single reason why I was spanked then. Did I learn any lessons from those spankings? To this day I still remember what I did to deserve my father’s spanking. I remember THAT lesson because it was with a loving attitude. I never felt that my father was angry, nor was I afraid that he would come after me again. He always had a loving attitude, even when I “borrowed” his car.
    So I think it’s great that we can have a discussion about the appropriate method to spank your kids here on the internet, where thousands of people can see and start to understand. Let’s hope some kids are treated better because we are talking about it here.

  23. Hi,
    “For us, the very idea of hitting a child has a sense of wrongness, of unfairly taking advantage of our physical superiority,” is a little vague to me.
    I didnt realize your mean of hitting is formal spanking that parents often use to punish their children or severe and abusive beating that cause serious injuries.
    It’s worth mention that hitting or beating is very different than spanking, spanking is a mild form of physical punishment that if be used correctly doesn’t even make a little mark of bruise on kid’s body, but hitting has a widespread and vague meaning and must not be considered as a form of punishment.
    Also in second part of your sentence the word ‘unfairly’ makes no sense to me, why unfairly? we use punishment fairly because we love our children and believe its a parental duty to discipline our kids, spanking must be at the hands of parents as a last sort solution to kids who dont respond to any other form of punishment, I believe choosing which type of punishment is appropriate and useful, mostly depends on the child and the situation, its not possible to suggest an approach for all children, sometimes it’s needed to use harder punishments.

  24. i wouldn’t spank, because they get me soo mad, I am afraid I would really hurt him. I have two boys. One calm , well manered 5 year old and I have a 31/2 year old whom is hyper, destructive and wild.
    Sometimes I am embarrased to go in public with him..I punish him, I make him sit in a chair for 10 minutes, If he throws food on the floor, i will but the vaccum in his hand and make him pick it up, even if I have to guide it with him. Hopefully my stradegy works, I could never hit…he gets me so mad, but I don’t think hitting would accomplish anything…

  25. Just a note:
    I hear that some people are talking through the reasons for the spanking with their kids and finishing it with a hug and a kiss. Thing is? If you do that? Chances are good you’re teaching him/her that there’s a connection between love and cuddling and being spanked. Which often leads to an erotic association. Just something you may want to consider. (It’s still preferable to associating love with unpredictable, screaming people who hit for no reason).
    My other question is: if your kid is old enough to understand an explanation of spanking, don’t you think s/he’s old enough to understand the cause-effect relationship between her/his behavior and some other, less “hands-on” disciplinary measure?

  26. My name is Jay I am 29 and single. I live in NJ.I have many friends who have kids of all ages from 3-14. I do not have any of my own. Dare I say I do not need any to voice or have my opinion. Well I am 🙂 I totally do not agree with any form of physical discipline whatsoever to a child. For example in my opinion what sense does this make when Parents hit “Tommy” for Hitting his siter “Sally”? To me that is hipocrocy and contradiction all the way. Your teaching them not to hit by hitting? I do not get it. What I see on a day to day basis in your shoprites, drug stores or even with my friends and their children is Hitting out of Annoyance,Aggrivation,Embarrassment, or short fuse/temper. The problem there is the parent when they dont have enough self control themselves to DEAL with the situation rather they take the easy road to hitting.That is horrible to me.
    I do not beleive there is anything positive with one person putting their hands on another person in any other way than a hug. Im Sorry it takes alot more to talk,Explain,and use your voice and your mind to try and resolve an issue. Hitting=Violence to me not Love. I dont know any parent who spanks their kid whith a smile on their face and purely out of 100% love and affection that is un-realistic to me. I was spanked growing up and you know what? it doesnt work..its a temporary fix and the next week i found my self getting into soemthing else different. Do I have all of the answers NO. Do I have suggestions and possibilities YES. To all Parents out there before raising or lifting a hand to your child why dont you really try hard very hard to use your intelligence, your smarts, your whatever you have to get through to that child one on one without using physical discipline and you have to start young!I know that more professionals out there will tend to agree with me than disagree. When your child throws something off of a shelf at Shoprite you assume he or she knows better and that is your reason to hit or scream THATS THE PROBLEM RIGHT THERE They are not adults they dont have the life experience you do or the full 100% capacity of really understanding what they did. You want to believe they do and it makes you feel better thinking they do so you hit them ..well im sorry to say your probably wrong KIDS EXPERIMENT,TEST THE WATERS, AND TRY THINGS JUST FOR THE SAKE OF TRYING THEM remember they are a child you are an adult lets remember that before we HIT.Im not trying in any way to be mean nasty or a know it all but you really have to do more research on children, hitting children and what really goes on in the minds of kids before we assume THEY KNOW BETTER If you have any questions or comments feel free to email me at bugnout77@verizon.net Thanks for letting me vent 🙂

  27. IN RESPONSE TO THIS POST BELOW that is so ignorant and just plain old stupid to make the comment you made (yea i dont like noisy ass loud disruptive kids either) when i am out eating but where and when do you think hitting them is the answer? is that love? are they adults…no sorry they are not adults and hate to say this but kids to stupid and crazy things to test you that doesnt mean you have the right to hit them just because their embarrassing YOU while your out! Sorry Kids should lOVE AND RESPECT THEIR PARENTS NOT FEAR THERE IS A DIFFERENCE!
    You can all have fun with this… but you parents are out of your minds. Time outs? Give me a break! I was at the Olive Garden in Hyannis, Massachusetts this past Saturday with my girlfriend. We are both in our 30’s with no children by choice. A family with three boys who appeared to be under 4 were in need of a SEVERE SPANKING. We go out to dinner not to see children running around the restaurant, knocking things over, and swinging the light fixtures. Parents – please DISCIPLINE YOUR FREAKING CHILDREN!!!
    Posted by: JK at November 9, 2005 11:47 AM

  28. I have a two year old son, in addition to 2 step-children (9 and 10)who have, in the last year, come to live with my husband and me. I had always believed spanking to be hypocritical (don’t hit others, but it’s okay for me to hit you… oh, and if I hit you, you best not use your natural reaction and hit me back). Right now, I’m not sure about it. I have never laid a hand on anyone, including my son or step-children. My steps were abused by their mother and stepfather, so that boat has sailed… I mean you can’t even lift your arm near them without them flinching. So I can see what “hitting” and “beating” does to kids. They are both so messed up. They both have learning disabilities “due to lack of nurturing in early childhood when the brain is maturing”. The 9 year old boy has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (from being beaten), in addition, he’s been diagnosed with Narcissism and Antisocial Personality Disorder, which leads to psychotisism. His therapist doesn’t see any hope for him. Oh, and I must add, very difficult person to live with!! The 10 year old girl is the opposite… she’s very easy and obedient, but she is a die-hard people pleaser which will lead to problems when she gets older and gets into opposite sex relationships. Anyway, I understand the parents’ need for a “big” punishment for something severe so the child understands the danger of his actions and to let him know you did it because you love him, but I have heard of an alternative. Since the spanking is for shock value and the same old punishments you would use for, say, saying a bad word, would be inappropriate for and all-out temper tantrum, the alternative is to use a ruler or other object and hit the table with it. Apparently, the loud noise, in startling the child, is like a theatrical slap-in-the-face. It stops the behavior and gives the parent an opportunity to change the course and redirect into a conversation. I don’t know if it works as I have never used this method (my son is an angel, of course… haha), but I have read it to be an effective alternative.

  29. I was glad to see this site and find so many parents who believe that hitting is not the way to effectively discipline children.
    My advocacy efforts are aimed at getting corporal punishment out of schools. We live in North Carolina, where educators are still reaching for wooden planks and hitting students. Parental consent is not mandated, and there is no opt out form. Some counties do get permissions, but they don’t have to.
    Children have been hit for missing math problems, for being tardy to class, for picking their nose, for chewing gum. Bruises occur, and the teachers are still teaching. NO accountability for the abuse.
    If anyone is interested in taking your message into the schools, let me know.
    I am on the Board of Directors for a national organization called Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education, and I have waged a campaign here to remove corporal punishment from our schools.
    Peggy Dean

  30. Get Real.
    If you are so dumb that other than by ‘spanking’ (it’s hitting, stop the wordplay) you can’t figure out how to teach morals, values and appropriate behavior to someone with usually at least 18 years less experience on the planet then you are too dumb to be breeding.

  31. There is a time and a place for everything, including spanking and even fighting. Children need to be taught that being stronger does not mean being better or being right, that might does not make right in the sense of morality or who will get theri way. With great strength comes great responsibility, and those with might should use it to make things right, as it was with King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. I see nothing wrong with spanking when it is done to teach a child right from wrong, dangerous from safe, naughty from nice and when the child know that is the reason. They need to know that we don’t hit because we are mad, want our way, etc; it is done to teach or protect, and that is the only time fighting is appropriate. Spanking can be an effective parenting tool if you’re intelligent about it.

  32. Reading the feedback to this article has been really interesting… I can’t comment on what it’s like to live with a child and choose in the heat of the moment to spank or not spank because my DD is only 5 months old (too young to misbehave). But my strong personal choice is to avoid spanking and hitting my DD when she gets older because I was spanked, slapped, and hit with objects throughout my childhood. The comment “might makes right” rang completely true for me because that’s the way it was in my household when I was a child… I really think my parents only stopped spanking me (somewhere around 10 or 11 years old) because I got too big to hold down for a spanking.
    Did spanking have an effect on my life? Absolutely. When I got angry as a child, I would hit or push other kids from time to time. I hit the dogs when they didn’t do what I wanted. I hit my pony when he misbehaved. As a child, I didn’t know the world didn’t accept hitting others, because my parents taught me that situations were always resolved with spanking or hitting! Of course, I was always puzzled that things never actually got better or resolved after I hit the person/animal.
    Now that I have a child of my own, I’m struggling to overcome unresolved attachment issues from my own childhood and I desperately want to avoid spanking/hitting my DD. The hard part is that I’ve been programmed that when you get mad at a child, you automatically hit it. I have to completely rewire my brain so that when my DD misbehaves as a toddler/child, I don’t knee-jerk react the way my parents did. It’s going to be a real challenge for me, but I’m determined to not expose my daughter to the emotional trauma I suffered. She deserves to have a much closer attachment to her parents than I ever had. There are much better ways to get a child’s attention during bad behavior.

  33. Well Dave I see why you wouldn’t want to spank your children since you and your wife weren’t raised in that type of environment, but as a parent you have to see things from all sides of the spectrum. I have been raised in a home where spankings were well known to those who decided to disobey the rules and I am trully thankful for them. If I had not been spanked or popped in the mouth when I was being a smart mouth I would not be the polite and respectful person I am today. You said your children hit you when they act out, that would have never been on my sister’s or my mind because we knew better. Our mother was very stern and she made sure we knew that mommy is the boss. We feared our mother when we were wrong because we knew we were wrong and knew if we had just done what we were supposed to we wouldnt be in trouble. That is the type of thinking your children should have. They should sit back and think about what they have done and what they should have done fearing the outcome because before you know it a spanking will be the least of their problems when they are old enough to go to jail. That is why my mother spanked us, she would rather spank us and have us made at her for the moment than to have us running the streets being disobedient and getting in to things she couldn’t get us out of. I use this method with my niece and she is the most respectful person when she is with me and she loves being with me just as my sister and I were with our mother. I’m not mean and hateful to her nor do I abuse her, but I am teaching her the right way to be. She is a totally different person when she is with her mother because her mother does a lot of talking about what she would do and doesn’t back it up.She knows she can’t get away with that with me but with her mother she’ll get yelled out shed a few tears and go on doing what she was doing. My niece uses curse words talks back and gets in to things that she shouldn’t but when in my presence she dares not do such. What does that say?

  34. It’s fascinating to me that those on the spanking side compare their well behaved spanked chilren to undisciplined children, and the non-spanking people compare their children to those that have been beaten. I have a strong opinion about this myself, but wouldn’t it make more sense to only compare those that are correctly spanked and those that are effectively disciplined with out spankings. Noone here is advocating beating, and noone is advocating letting children run wild with no intervention, so why use those as the comparison groups.

  35. To every parent that live in that perfect community good for you, but to the parents that don’t do what you have to do, if spanking is the answer go for it cause every child is not the same, if a parent don’t believe in spanking don’t spank but let that be what you do at your house, you you can’t explain everything to a child cause a child is not a parent, it like saying you must first learn how to crawl before you can walk, if a child is not paying bills what do you have to explain to him/her that’s a child if a parent say no then that’s all that need to be said.

  36. I am a psychology teacher and we just had a class discussion about spanking. We were discussing positive/negative reinforcement, punishment, and Skinner.
    Effective discipline that does not involve spanking children is a learning process for both the children AND the parents. That is why time outs and other non-aggressive measures often are perceived to “not work.” It takes time, and sometimes these methods are taught ineffectively and insufficiently. Spanking seems to work because it is such a shock and is quick to “work.” Many parents want their children to learn a new behavior quickly, but fail to attempt to change their own behavior if it takes any amount of time.
    I do not spank my son. There are other disciplinary measures that are more effective that do not involve spanking, so why risk possibly hurting your child for their entire lifetime? I do not want my child to fear me. I do not want him to equat fear with love. If there was even a remote possibility that my actions could harm my child, then I would not participate.
    To those who are such advocates for spanking, try an alternative measure for a few weeks or months. It may take a while for it to “work” and for it to become routine, but I guarantee that your children will be happier, and your stress level will be reduced. More importantly, you will earn the respect of your child and you can grow a relationship of trust and love.
    Peace, Love, Unity and Respect,

  37. My major concerns over the use of spanking are defined by a lack of understanding by parents. I have lived through and known many others who have been through what today would be called abuse. However, it was called spanking 20 years ago. It is a sign to me that every parent reacts differently and has a different definition of spanking. That is what is frightening. I feel that there should be mandatory education in high school that covers parenting skills. Education seems to be lacking. I am glad to seem so many people trying to make more educated decisions when it comes to rearing children but I still feel too many don’t know enough information before they have children.
    I think most parents just don’t understand the development stages of their children and don’t look for all the causes that led a child to bad behavior. Children are rarely malicious. They are usually just curious. Parents have to understand that from a child’s perspective they didn’t misbehave they were simply exploring their world. Usually by the time a child is old enough to act with malicious intent they are teenagers. Young children need to be taught the reasons why. That is why they are curious. When a parent spanks it is a form of punishment. Many of the parents here have said they follow the explain, spank, show love formula but if your child can understand the explain part then their is no need for punishment. That middle part of the formula is unnecessary. Plus there are countless alternatives to spanking when punishment needs to be applied. Parents need to understand however that not all punishments nor children react the same. A parent needs to get to know their child.

  38. Hi, this is coming from a now mom, that was once a child.My mother never spanked me, I needed it. It helps a child pay the price for the act they did and allows for forgiveness. Everything that that Robert the God fearing man said was absolutly right. Everyones teetertotters from one side to the next; abuse and no spankings at all. It is about balance and doing it right out of love. I remember craving the discipline and when I didnt get it, I felt unloved. A parent that does not correct their child, does not love their child. I now have 3 boys of my own. The oldest one is aproaching teenage years. I have disciplined with love and he is the most respectful hardworking responsible kid, and we have an awsome relationship. Most of the people that hate spankings are ones that were abused, so Im a so sorry what you went through.But I had no real correction and I didnt respect my mom and got pregnant really young and had a drug problem. I know it had to do with that, because I was pushing buttons to try to get her to correct me(subconsiously, but I knew what I craved) cause its a struggle to make good choices. I understand my mom thought she was doing her best, but it wasnt what I needed. I neede strong loving correction.

  39. I have one son and don’t believe in spanking. I was spanked in an extreme way (with belts that left marks/bruises etc) when I was a kid and it did nothing for me. After a while I grew “numb” to this form of punishment. With my own son I try to use his “mistakes” as opportunities to instill a sense of moral righteousness and respect. I think spanking totally undermines this and instead teaches your children to fear and distrust you. The real challenge with kids lies in instilling a sense of respect, trust and ethics in someone without manipulating them or coercing them by force.
    I won’t deny that I’ve been tempted to hit my son when he is especially naughty, but in the end I think it is far harder to raise children without spanking because you can’t use your obvious physical advantage to “prove your point”. Ultimately your kids learn how to have respect for themselves and others without forced coercion or fear and that makes (in my opinion) for more well-adjusted adults.
    We shall see I suppose when my son gets older…

  40. Are you for real?……..I work with children and I’ve seen children who are talked to softly , walk all over their parents. Not only that, I have seen to many times children who are never spanked , bully, hit , pinch , bite other children older or younger including adults. I’ve given “TIME OUTS” and spoken about approperate behavior just for these children to turn around and act out in the same manner they were “TIMED OUT ” for to begin with.
    Is it any wonder there are Columbine incidences out there…children these days don’t fear any concequences since they arent corrected for their behavior in an approperate manner.
    Incidentally, my parents were spanked, I was spanked ,my children were spanked and NONE OF US HAVE ANY PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS , we are not tramatized nor fear our parents and have never been in trouble with the law or anyone else. In fact, I am grateful to my parents in the manner they parented me.

  41. My parents used a cane on me til i was 14 I think.. hands, canes, branches , switches, belts. I wasn’t abused in any way. I resented spankings especially ones done in anger but I wasn’t abused. My dad apologized for the times he hit me in anger. i think he had daddy issues that he transfered to me. We allhave Daddy issues.
    Personally, i laugh at the notion that time outs and loss of privileges work on all kids. Some kids need a butt whupping!!
    if u have one of those, don’t let ur daddy issues make u rear a monster.
    Let me put it this way.. I have seen kids that curse their moms out. Tell me what kind of time out will fix that??
    if u can raise a polite, smart, well adjusted kid without laying a hand on him/her, u deserve an award.
    Some kids need the idiot whupped out of them before they get to teenage years and REALLY act a fool.

  42. Hi, I don’t know if this is how to post a help section. Here is my problem.. My five year old goes to summer preschool, which he likes, and will be starting kindergarden in August. Problem is, my son has A LOT of anger built in him, or does things before he even thinks about.. Today on the bus, the driver said he was taking a girls head and was banging it against the window. He don’t keep his hands to himself. And if I talk to him about it, he keeps talking back, and he don’t know when to stop. Tried time out, nothing, tried taking toys away. Nothing. I don’t believe in putting kids on drugs, so that isn’t a option. I just don’t want it to get so bad, that he get’s kicked out of school next year. Please someone help me with any ideas.

  43. Jenny, it sounds to me like you need some professional help with your son, both learning what’s going on and learning how to address and remedy the problem. I strongly suggest you ask your friends for a recommendation of a child psychologist or call your local family counseling center. I’m sure you can resolve this fairly quickly with assistance.

  44. Don’t hit children. Don’t hit anyone. That’s the message we want to send to them, right? Don’t hit people? Kind of hard to send that message effectively if you’re going to turn around and smack them.
    If your kid is running away from you and making that a game, and you’re worried about their safety, recognize something. THEY are not making it a game. You did.
    When you play in secured areas, if they start up a nice game of “chase me,” do not play. Don’t say anything. Just ignore them. It will probably be really cute, because they’ll look over their shoulder at you and toddle off excitedly. But you are sending a pretty confusing message if you run after them giggling and scoop them up and you both have a good laugh and a snuggle…and then you tell them rationally not to run away from you. Kids will remember that emotional message very clearly and deeply, and the rational message only when they are thinking rationally.
    It’s hard to do, but take stock of how your fun times and your reactions to their cuteness at harmless things might impact their behavior at other times. If you don’t want your kid to run from you, don’t make it fun for them to run away from you part of the time, and not fun other times. Too difficult to keep straight.
    Lots of behaviors are impacted like this. No reaction is often the best way to discourage behavior. But if something is dangerous they are doing, just repeatedly and calmly remove them from what they are doing. No laughing, no yelling, no hitting. Stand on something unsteady, get picked up and lifted off, boring, uneventful, “Please don’t step up there.” Set them down. Kids in that situation will simply switch gears and move on to something more interesting after you pick them up and remove them from the area a few times. Make sure you are NOT making a game of it. “Please do not climb up there. I don’t want you to fall and hurt yourself.” Just do it and say it, and explain it, calmly, assertively, repeatedly. I’m telling you, this works like a charm. Every animal in nature does it. It takes a little patience up front, but it establishes an awesome dynamic in the relationship and creates a precedent for them: when you ask them not to do something, you are prepared to simply make it happen, without violence or anger. They will learn very quickly to respond to the calm, assertive mode you establish in these little practice sessions around the house. You are, in essence, training them to listen to you without a lot of emotional drama.
    Somebody who has a really good hold on this– I know it’s weird –is Caesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer. The truth is, while kids are far more complex and need much more intellectual and emotional interaction than any dog, we are all animals. There are things about managing the energy that we ourselves project, and the relationship of calm authority and respect that we can create, that apply to kids as well as dogs. Obviously you can’t just physically dominate your kids. Obviously you don’t communicate that calm but assertive energy to them the way you would to a dog. But it is still YOUR energy that you must control, and it is the messages that YOU are sending that you must master, in order to parent effectively and build a relationship with your children. Sometimes, it is hard to recognize the conflicting messages we are sending. But if you keep working at it, and make sure you are thinking about what you are doing with them, you can only improve things. You won’t catch all of the hidden contradictions in your own behavior, but the fewer there are, the more your kids will respect and trust you.
    And it will combat the silent damager of all parent-child relationships: lazy parenting. You have to really be involved with them, anticipate their behavior and learn who they are in order to work with them like this.
    As for non-parents who think that the rowdy kids really need to be spanked, you’ve got it backwards. Kids who get spanked by parents who do little other than parent in the moment, who intimidate or swat their kids in order to get them to do what they want right now, create a game with their kids. The game is called, “How much can I get away with?” Rowdy kids who run over their parents in public are the ones who ARE getting spanked. The spanking escalates the conflict in the relationship to a higher level, and when the parents aren’t willing to maintain that forceful, higher level of discipline in public because they would be ashamed to yell at and intimidate and swat their kids in public, end up with those rowdy kids who push everything to the max, even if they know they’ll get a beating when they get home.

  45. hey there, im 14 and i was spanked as i was younger now i have a little sister 3 and little brother 4. and to take care of them is my responsibility. but sometimes they get out of control and they dont listen to me,cause they know im not like mom or dad. so i spank them and i feel really bad about it, and my parents get angry at me too.sometimes i say i wont spank them ever again but my hand slips and i do spank
    them. i feel really bad and i wish i could stop

  46. It is so sad that children still get hit in today’s world, but I am way more optimistic than I think you are about violence in today’s society. At least we are able to openly discuss these things today, which we perhaps take for granted.
    Children of yesteryore were close to cattle. They were feild hands; essentially, non-persons. It was a given that they be lashed, whipped, and otherwise abused. At least today’s children know that their is a going debate about their treatment, and a growing number of adults who will stand in their defense(unlike years prior).
    I have a toddler boy. He is high on energy and intelligence. He is starting to read already, and has been speaking in full sentences clearly since about 16-months old. People are amazed, but I attribute a lot of his “talkativeness” and rationality to our relationship-which has been based on verbal commuication since pre-birth.
    Many people find the concept of rationalizing and talking to young children to be impossible-so they don’t even try. Or, they try years after they have already established a physical(fear-based relationship) with their child, and then give up weeks later when they don’t get the same immediate results. The truth is, children a likely to be the only people in our entire world’s who will geninuely want to please us to virtually no end. It is so easy for this to be exploited and taken for granted. Parents play mind games with their children because they are intinctually aware of the child’s desire to please-as they were once children too.
    It is so sad to me that on top of parent’s exploiting the love of likely the only person in their life who lives to please them, that they also would choose to physically cause them pain to get want they want from them when they want it. For all that parents have control over: when and where to live, what job to work, what car to buy, who to make friends with, what clubs and activities to join, how to spend their spare time; so many also want to have total dominion over their children’s lives in this way as well. Confusingly, they lash out when their children make attempts to assert SOME control over their own decisions(especially when, it’s not a choice the parent would have made). This is selfish, and I think stems from the parent’s own childhood of powerlessness. Now that the parent is grown(physically larger, and psychologically equipped for real abuse), they take advantage of the vulnerable child who already lacks control over his/her by simple virtue of his/her existence as a younger person.
    We should be compelled to empower the vulnerable and the powerless, not to further disempower them. We should lift them up(even, and especially, when it is hardest) not tear them down and attempt to put them “back into their” small “place”.
    For these reasons(of respect, empathy, and the value of verbal communication) I would never hit my child. In fact, I would never punish my child in ANY way. Relationships based on punishment are bad relationships. Relationships based on respect endure forever. My toddler’s behavior occasionally causes my brain to twitch, and my behavior occassionally causes him to shout, scream, and make crop circles with his body on our carpet. But we never top it off with intentionally trying to induce pain from the other. I strive to always treat him this way, as to further empower him to strive towards the same in his other relationships.

  47. I’m a Grandmother. I believe in the Bible’s way of raising children; so did my parents and my grandparents. I was spanked and so were my children. Not beat but spanked, bad behavior warrants equal consequences.
    WE love our children. Any sane, loving parent wouldn’t abuse their own children. No, when I was a child, I didn’t like to be spanked. Hindsight, I’m happy I was; and I’m grateful how I raised my children. I did not love to spank my children. Spankings were far and few; but some were necessary. Those times were not happy times. Sometimes, I’d cry along with them; but children need discipline. They need to know they have boundaries. They need to know you love them enough to prepare safe, secure boundaries for them by making them accountable for their own actions.
    We’ve seen the results in our world of leaving children to themselves to make their own decisions about right and wrong. The past 40 years of permissiveness have brought us low on the morality scale!! It’s never been heard of in the history of the world! Children have a right to be loved and cared for by their parents. Spanking and also be loving. Now, if you have mental problems; then, you don’t need children. They should be removed from your home. Children only believe spanking is evil when a permissive society says, “do what you want to do without consequences.” Children Need consequences! Adults have them. We all need them? It’s a law. Break it. Suffer the consequences!
    Trouble is, people want to have their own way. Children are no different. Yes, our cute little children want their own way. The children will cry, scream and threaten; but who’s the adult here? Who raised these kids we see on the news who are on killing sprees?? Are they the kids of abuse? Yes, maybe. But, maybe not! Perhaps, they come from affluent homes where they’ve never been deprived of anything accept discipline and boundaries which may include a solid “no” and a good hard spanking!
    My theory has always been .. “do as i do” .. I’ve tried to be an example of what it is to do the right thing; a role model for my children. I am a Christian and have always prayed to God fervently for my children. I believe it’s our duty to pray for our children. To raise them in fear and admonition of the Lord. A parent not only want to love their children; as well, they want others to love them. This happens when the children have good manners; it happens when you teach the children respect for others; it happens when you teach them to value other’s rights. No one want to tolerate a misbehaved child. It may be cute to you; but it’s not cute to others who may fake a smile when your child is in their space rudely misbehaving.
    It’s a shame the way I see some kids terrorizing their parents in public places. Parents are afraid to spank. I just shake my head and say, Lord have mercy!! It was not so in my day!! Make no mistake, what they do at home, they will do in public. So why act like you’re ashamed in public? You know just what you’re raising. It’s your product. One day you will have to answer to God for not bringing the child up right.
    My husband works at a high school. The teens have 3 cafeterias; and they sit on top of tables and on the floors and throw food all over the place .. WHAT?? Are these children in that much need of attention?? Did not spanking them cause this behavior? In my day, it wasn’t heard of; neither would have been tolerated!! Look at our world! Who raised who? Could a spanking have made any difference? You be the judge. This is what the Holy Bible says about how we should raise our kids.
    The following quotations come from the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible:
    Prov 13:24: “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (diligently).”
    Prov 19:18: “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.”
    Prov 22:15: “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”
    Prov 23:13: “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.”
    Prov 23:14: “Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell (Shoel).”
    Prov 29:15: “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”

  48. Thanks for your perspective, Grandma, but I imagine that when you were kids your parents were pretty appalled by how you behaved too. Remember, Elvis was banned from TV for being too suggestive and the Beatles were boycotted after John Lennon said that the band was more popular than Jesus.
    In terms of those quotes from the Bible, they’re from hundreds — if not thousands – of years ago so it’s hard to imagine how they apply to modern parenting. Further, I have always found the Bible to be a book where you can find backing for just about any perspective if you dig hard enough. The quotes you offer seem to justify extraordinary violence towards children which certainly isn’t ever acceptable in my personal code of behavior.

  49. Well I think the Bible is full of it too! we no longer stone people to death as the Bible would have us believe! Having said that I do favor proper spanking just not with a rod applied to a two year old! not spanking is not working either, the first country to outlaw it was Sweden, the children now run wild in the schools being niether accountable to parent or teacher, and few of the kids who do want to learn have to put up with this constant tirade! Sweden implemented it’s anti spanking ban based on a dissinformation canpaign, over zealous social workers and the like showed people pictures of childrens badly bruised bottoms, a thing which has nothing whatever to do with a loving proper spanking! America and Canada are now beginning to pay the price for all this anti spank policy, children are now being ruiteenly doped with dangerous drugs such as ritalin in order to control the new diseases of A.D.D. and A.H.D.D., I call it C.R.A.P.! all little johnny or sally need in order to relax is to have their little bottoms reddened and its only those who won’t do it or who want to be brutal or superstitious about it that cause all the problems in the world!

  50. Uh, yeah, sure, A.M. All we need to do to fix all the problems in the world is to beat our children instead of teaching them — and modeling for them — non-violent solutions to problems. Perhaps we live on different planets, but while I agree that there’s an epidemic of selfishness in Western society, there’s also a huge epidemic of violence too. Violence does NOT solve problems, it perpetuates the cycle of violence. There ARE non-violent solutions that are effective in creating pleasant, well-adjusted children who grow up to be productive members of society.

  51. In my experience, you can tell the kids who are hit by their parents because they have a deer-in-the-headlights quality. Make no mistake: a “spanking” is a violent act against another more vulnerable person that has lasting effects on the victim.
    The bullies I have known were all spanked or worse by their parents. They learn that violence and intimidation is an acceptable method of handling a situation, and then they use that skill on others who are weaker. I still see people who were spanked/physically abused act out against their younger siblings/significant others/children physically and verbally well into adulthood. It’s an ugly legacy.
    If hitting your kid is the only coping skill you have for teaching and molding young minds, than a parenting class or therapy might be good places for finding new, more effective, and more humane models for parenting.
    Like Dave, we are also attachment parenting our 4- and 6-year olds. And no, they don’t walk all over us just because they know they won’t get spanked.
    We rejoice in watching them interact with us and each other with mutual respect instead of fists. We teach them skills that will help them in life, like negotiation and creative problem solving, so that frustration never rises to the point of violence. Not to say life is perfect or easy, and yes, we have non-violent consequences for inappropriate actions in our house, but these are our goals.
    Violence begets violence. Personally, I cannot imagine teaching my children that violence in the form of spanking, etc. is ok if it’s directed at those you love, are stronger than, and have power over. Where’s the morality in that?

  52. Elizabeth Yarnell says, “The bullies I have known were all spanked or worse by their parents”.
    Well, i wasn’t a bully; nay infact i was bullied at school AND i was spanked at home. Today, i’m a medical doctor with 2 well-adjusted kids (boy and girl).I’m married and i’ve never hit my wife even though just like everyone else, we have our fair share of arguements.
    My son is more hyperactive and predictably gets spanked more. We go to a ball game regularly and he gets prices frequently for being one of the best in his class.
    In all this, i do not see all the dooms day ideology of these ‘no-spankers’ in here.
    Please tell me if i’m missing something as i’m supposed to be raising a future monster and i’m supposed to be a monster myself today. Please also tell me why kids nowadays don’t respect parents likes say 100 years ago.

  53. A lot of you seem to have missed the point. You recite typical spankers excuses/rationalisations. And that’s part of the problem. By telling your children you love them, and then putting them over your knee and spanking them (yes, spanking is hitting), you are telling them that violence, pain and domination occurs in a normal, loving relationship. There is a positive relationship between being spanked and later approving of domestic violence. It’s OK to hit those you love. Just as long as it’s for a good reason. Your intent makes it worse, not better (read Strauss). Your fifty hugs and kisses and your proclomatons aren’t going to undo the basic message there, just reinforce it.
    And people talk about spanking appropriately, but it’s never appropriate. There’s no reason for it. There is one “benefit” superficial compliance, and a long list of risks. You can get the one benefit except in a better form using other techniques. (Maybe do a little bit of learning about child psychology before making your decision, if you all could possibly find the time.) Then you might know the most basic facts about teaching, and discipline, which is not the same thing as punishment by the way.
    And is there an appropriate time, motivation or place to hit your partner? Why, because it’s never right to hit your partner? Because your partner deserves dignity? Because you love them? Because it’s degrading?
    But wait, there are differences between a partner and a child. Yep. Let me tell you a few, the child has no means of escape, the child is dependent on you for food and water and the child will accept whatever you show and tell them is right as right. That’s why many do what their parents did, because they absorbed it at a young impressionable age, regardless of whether the behaviour was moral or sensible. And “being told” is not the only way kids learn. They learn by modelling and imitation. So when you hit you teach them to hit.
    You may say “I don’t think this is true” and you somehow now better and your child won’t contribute to the correlation between aggression and spanking (the stats have to come from somewhere.) You may tell yourself you’re being a good parent or somehow you don’t send this message. But is there any reason or proof for that, or just excuses and wishful thinking? Why are you so desperate to preserve hitting in your parenting tool box anyway? Do you know the facts? Spanking is ineffective for more than short term, fear based compliance. It inhibits moral development.
    Will you be there to hit them when they are in college and tempted? It is negatively correlated with IQ. It is positively correlated with aggression and anti social behaviour. It is also linked to depression, poorer performance at school and a whole list of nasty outcomes. Kids who are spanked are more likely to be badly behaved and disruptive. It brings about feelings of shame, humiliation and anger.
    Just because your child forgives you, it doesn’t make what you’ve done right. It doesn’t matter what you say, the act of hitting is an aggressive act. There’s no denying that plausibly. If you hit someone, it’s aggression, for whatever perceived motives. If you slapped your boss while lovingly telling him it would improve his personality, good luck telling that to a judge. Why do people put up with excuses and bad behaviour directed towards children, but not adults? Why are vulnerable children entitled to less, not more protection from the law than their more capable adult counterparts?
    Parents are not the people who should decide what’s appropriate. They are most likely to sexually or physicallty abuse their kids. There is a correlation between physical punishment and abuse. It’s far too easy to take it too far. And I’m sure you good, responsible child hitters wouldn’t do that, but you’re still promoting inconsistency into our already violent society. It’s OK to hit some people, sometimes, just as long as you’re getting them to do what you think is right.
    If you are such a pathetic parent that you can’t teach with words, explanations, or exemplary deeds and need to resort to hitting, you’ve got more issues than just being slap happy. And give your child some credit, they CAN understand more than violence when young. Google toddlers, IQ and spanking. Toddlers not spanked learnt the same and behaved just as well as those not spanked, and they didn’t suffer decreased cogntive development.
    There is no need, or justification to spank if you look at the equation rationally. Would you invest in a business that had many risk factors and only one benefit? When there is another more attractive business you could invest in with no risks? Would you seriously pick the former? In conclusion, no other advantages on the parenting tools which do not carry the risks of spanking. The only “reasons” you have are excuses and rationalisations, not arguments or based in fact.

  54. Posted by: Grandma at February 1, 2008 11:23 AM
    Funny that spanking is positively correlated with aggression and anti social behaviour, including criminal activity. That means more hitting, more bad behaviour grams.
    But I suppose all this new fangled “research” and “logic” frightens you, so better go hide away in your bible and not even know the most basics facts about spanking, so you can spew a whole bunch of crap about how the world is going to hell in a hand basket because there is less hitting being dealt out to the kids. (And do you actually know that, by the way? It must be great to know everything about multiple societies without evening looking up a statistical or census report on that country).
    There are other ways to discipline and punish. Not being hit doesn’t mean no consequences. A time out is just as effective without the risks and reward is more effective than punishment. Ignore bad behaviour, reward and encourage good. Children aren’t hardened criminals they want to learn and love praise. Talk to them.
    Your post was so cartoonish I can’t believe you’re a real person. And I’m not going to take the time to rebutt all your “arguments.”
    I would not let your delusional, bible thumping, pro hitting self near any children.
    The “rod” was also used to guide sheep by the shepherd, but you obviously were quick to use it as a justification for hitting kids. As too many Christian child slappers are.

  55. I believe I was beat. My mother used to pinch, slap, pull hair, ears, jab me with her finger, push me up into a corner and slap me and yell, yell, yell. If she was upset with me sometimes she would shove all the things off my dresser or lock me outside. Funny thing is she never really spanked me! I look back now and realize she was pretty abusive, not only physically but also emotionally. In my adolescence the words “I love you” was non-existant and I believe I developed anxiety and depression because of it. I was the youngest of four siblings and she took a lot of her anger out on me. Even my siblings felt sorry for me at the time. At times, it was merely my presence that upset her and she would order me to my room because looking at me simply annoyed her. What is very interesting is that when I was a very, little girl my mother was a very loving and nurturing mother, but once I reached adolescence her demeanor towards me completely changed. I believe the teenage years is a very sensitive time in ones life…a time when guidance and love is STILL needed. Well my mom did come from a tattered and abusive home and I believe that is why she had such mean tendencies toward me. But one day I had enough and started to fight back and suddenly I believe she realized she couldn’t beat me down anymore. My mother’s behavior really was a shame and although my father wasn’t abusive, I felt like he never defended me either. He just let her treat me the way she did and knew she was breaking my spirit and thats exactly what abuse will do to a child. It will break their little spirits. I believe spanking on the other hand is not abuse as long as a parent still treats their children with love and respect and dont forget about emotional abuse. It is SO important for each parent to always let their children know how much they are loved and cherished. A loving home allows for a child to feel safe in this world. I have forgiven my mother in my heart because no parent is perfect and I know how her own mother treated her. Some memories still hurt me deep down inside but i still turned out OK. I now have a three year old son and yes I do spank him when necessary, but I also make sure he knows how much he is loved!

  56. I think spanking is an absolute necessity to raise children. I have 3 daughters 11,10 and 7. Where people run into problems is not doing it right. You never, never spank out of anger. You sit the child down, explain why they are being spanked and make sure they really understand why. I have given roughly 30 spankings between all three kids in their entire lifetime. About 3 in the last 2-3 years. If you do a good job of parenting and spanking (go hand in hand) once they hit about 7-8 spanking should be a very very rare thing. Our job is to raise upright productive members of society. Any parent that does not have spanking in their arsenal is not doing their job and doing their child a disservice! I do not only use spanking and would not recommend that to anyone. I use other punishments now that they are older, TV, cell phone, computer time. People say to me alll the time. You have the most well behaved children we have ever seen. My kids teachers and principles praise them for their manners, behavior, and work ethic. They are all very athletic, and quite popular with other kids.

  57. To everyone whining about being spanked, well get over it. I was spanked, no actually I got the cr*p kicked out of me as a kid. I know in my heart that my father was trying to do the right thing. I know in my heart that he did it out of love, it wasn’t something he did to hurt us, he did it to make us upstanding productive citizens. 5 Kids born into the very top tier of poverty. All 5 are productive adults who are financially successful. 3 out of 5 have started businesses from the sweat of our brow and made quite a nice life for ourselves and our families. My oldest brother will make just over 2 million this year and 3 of us are not far behind. Most kids grow up to realize that their parents did it out of love. Some are too selfish to see it.

  58. As an educator, I am an advocate of non-spanking discipline. When I have a discipline problem with a student and have exhausted all of my usual positive discipline resources and management techniques – I call home to keep the parents involved, update them on the situation and get some insight. I find that far too often the feedback from parents is something along the lines of “oh, they’ll get a spanking tonight. Don’t you worry!”
    I truly feel that this is the root of the problem. Whether they are spanking “correctly” or not. I encourage parents to use discipline/management strategies that can transition from young children to older/school aged children – and from home to other areas of life. Children know that adults in the “real world” can not spank them. If spanking is the end all of discipline strategies, that does not properly prepare children for other areas of life.

  59. Spanking and hitting are NOT the same thing. I agree that hitting, kicking, punching a child is abuse and is wrong. Parents are too lenient nowadays. The ‘anti-spanking’ movement has done more to harm our society as a whole than to protect it. I bet if teachers/principals were still able to spank in schools things like Columbine would have never happened. Children have no respect for authority because they sre not taught the consequences. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” that being said spanking should be an ‘event’ reserved for the most heinous or dangerous offenses. Or direct disobedience.

  60. Really, Amelia? Are you really saying that you think a tragedy like Columbine would have been averted if the principal of the school could have caned or spanked the boys and taught them a proper respect for authority? Do you have any clue about what happened at that school, the situation those boys were in and why it erupted in the terrible fashion it did?

  61. Reading these posts has my blood running cold. Or should I say at 150 beats per min… double normal. That is from the adrenalin rush. The fear kicking in. It always happens when I read, see or hear about spanking as being spanked certainly ‘adjusted’ me .. so that I never feel good enough.
    Sorry – spanking IS hitting – you cannot tell me it isn’t as I was spanked as a child. ie a hand or ‘something’ was aimed at my bottom and landed ergo it HIT me. I was terrified, angered, and lost respect for my parents for the rest of my life. [How could I trust them ?? They HIT me .. hurt me!] Spanking with love is just NOT possible. It’s an oxymoron! When they tried the ‘ok its over and we love you dear’ and tried to hug me I couldn’t do it for fear .. and resentment. . Oh they loved me but killed my love for them.
    Interesting that at my Junior school they did use the slipper – or should I say it was used all of about 6 times in all the years I was there ! So one could almost say that it was a no spank school! My secondary school – was most definitely no spank no CP ! And I am 56! The children there were all highly well behaved, well motivated etc. We never had any real trouble! So if THEY could manage without CP how come the other school in the area couldn’t and used CP … and THEY had huge amount of trouble with classroom control, smoking and out and out hooliganism!!
    Children … of all ages need love, attention and time, to be taught and watched and looked after. NO-one deserves to be hit ever adult or child!

  62. Reading all these comments makes me wonder if it’s only white people who worry about whether spanking is good or bad, because it’s always white people’s kids I see running rampant in the stores and being holy terrors. Is it a cultural thing?

  63. Iris, I don’t really know what to say. I have seen white kids, black kids, Hispanic kids and just about every other type of kids be beautifully behaved and terribly behaved, sassy, rude, spewing obscenities, and terribly behaved. I don’t think it’s ethnic at all.

  64. Lately I want to hit my toddler almost everyday, She just reached those terrible two’s and I wonder if a spank would be my remedy for her terrible tantrums. I’ve been very good at self restrain and I have to say Im very proud of myself. I often feel like a failure when I don’t feed her healthy meals or educate her with activities or take her to the park but knowing that I don’t hit her makes me feel like a good mommy and all the self conscious feelings melt away. I have a happy little girl perhaps a bit spoiled with love and affection but she is wonderfully adjusted, she’s very outgoing, noble and joyful. Now if only those tantrums would stop she would be the most perfect child, but Im not going to hit her because I feel overwhelmed specially since I don’t understand what’s causing the tantrums in the first place. I doubt she has them because she is happy and just wants to make me miserable obviously she’s irritated as well. I believe that children who aren’t hit when they are kids grow up to be stress free happy people like myself. Hitting is wrong to me kinda common sense, you don’t inflict pain on your children you are supposed to protect them from pain and teach them right from wrong with words, we’re no longer cavemen we’re supposed to use our heads and think before we react. I still wonder if Im right about how I raise my child I have yelled at her “nooo” or “stop that” stuff like that. But maybe Im wrong for not being more firm with her. Im pretty optimistic that all will turn out fine.

  65. Isis – toddlers can really tire us out mentally, emotionally and physically. But as a 56 yr old grandmother , I really believe that if you spank her, hurt her you will just make it worse. A toddler has tantrums for many reasons. Some because they just cannot talk about what is bothering them, frightening them, annoying them etc .. They can’t understand why they can’t do or have something and they just don’t have the words or the mental power to explain it. Sometimes they are overtired, or hungry and we can help with that. I find hugging a child in the middle of a tantrum can sometimes stop it .. but not for all children. Some just yell and yell – and the more upset you get – the more it bounces off the child. Hitting will not help except as a sudden shock. And you may lose her in the sense that she won’t trust you again.
    My parents spanked me – and they lost me from the first smack the first spanking. They lost my love, respect and trust. I have never trusted or respected anyone who hits another. They taught me fear, anger, hate and resentment. They taught me that they didn’t love me – and the nonsense that is the post spanking hug and ‘oh we love you’ meant nothing to me – after all they had just hit me and proved they didn’t! The worst thing was they never knew how bad I felt. My mother only a few years back said that ‘I was fine and happy’ but I wasn’t – I was seething and a frightened little girl. No child deserves that. NO ONE deserves to be hit – you wouldn’t hit another adult, or an animal, and you shouldn’t hit a child just because it is ‘under 18’. There are a million ways to parent gently – to discipline which means to teach, not to hit.
    Love and best wishes Isis – it does get easier !!

  66. You have made some good points in this article, thanks. I checked on the net for more info about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views too, though as someone who isn’t a parent yet, I guess I’ll know better when I’m in the thick of things myself.

  67. WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for reasons not to hit our children, after getting into one too many arguments with my husband. Thanks, Dave and keep up the good parenting!

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