Why is spanking such a controversy?

Jenifer - posted on 05/21/2010 ( 103 moms have responded )

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Why has society frowned upon spanking your child? The psychologists say you should reason with your child, but how are you supposed to reason with a child? They are too young and not quite developed enough yet to see and understand reason. Many of us were spanked as children and turned out just fine. Is not spanking your child the reason why children and teens are more rude, disrespectful and no longer courteous to others than ever before?



I believe different punishments work on different children. I was a child that needed to be spanked because time-outs, yelling, grounding and taking things away didn't work on me. My brother's on the other hand, yelling worked well with one and taking things away worked for the other. Manual labor worked for my husband when he was a child. Why is spanking such a controversy?

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Christine - posted on 05/21/2010

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It all depends.

there are some folks who don't spank at all.. in dealing with anything.. and yeah.. their kids for the most part seem kind crazy.. and those kids being the ones who don't respond to time out and such.. and a spanking is truly needed.

But with that said.. spanking has rules..

And a lot of people "raised being spank" don't know the rules.. and just spank their kid for whatever reasons... and that's not how it works.

first.. let the punishment fit the crime..

for example.. if the child takes something that isn't theirs.. yeah .. some people would spank.. but what does spanking have to do with stealing? Having that child return that item, or work off that item, and apologize.. is humbling, and teaches a lesson..

and isn't that what our job is as parents?? To teach our kids?

Yeah you could spank because they took something.. and they may not take anything else.. but do they understand WHY it's wrong.. do they know what to do to make things right?

but my point is.. punishment should fit the crime..

and so if a child hits another child.. then yeah.. spanking is good.. because then they learn the lesson.. that getting hit hurts and usually won't do it again.

drawing on the walls.. great.. I keep your crayons for a week and you get to clean the wall.

See the point.. the kids learn more lessons.. than if they were just spanked.

it also teaches the child that you are a teaching parent, and not a fly off the handle parent.

Because it's not always necessary to spank your child.

As a parent.. it is your job to discern when a spanking is required.

Especially for young children, who do things out of curiosity.. and not necessarily out of malice.. HUGE DIFFERENCE>

2) never spank when your angry. If your angry or frustrated.. you're not allowed to spank.. simple as that. I think we all know when we get angry or frustrated we can be more rough then what is needed. End of story.

3) If you discern you need to spank your child.... and then you are not angry or frustrated and do a fair spanking .. then you need when your done to reassure your child that you love them.. hold them.. but give them that reassurance..and then finally talk to them about what they did wrong.

In our house.. we do spank our daughter.. but she knows she gets spanked if she doesn't come when she's called.. (a couple pats on the but.. no biggie) but sends the message to her..

and she gets spanked if she flat out disobeys us and says no.

she's never hit another child.. so that's never come up..


but my point is.. she's only spanked for specific things.. and we communicate that to her.. even giving her a warning.. she may not come the first time we call her.. alls I have to say.. is what happens if you don't come when your called? and boom .. she's there.. no problem.. no spanking..

so while being raised being spanked.. my folks did it the total wrong way.. and it was abuse.

but if youuse it the right way.. not only does it help your child obey.. but you find that you really dont' need to spank them.

My daughter is 3 1/2.. I can say that my husband has never spanked her.. never has had a reason too.. and I've spanked her I think 2 or 3 times..?

And why? Because.. she's learned.

So.. yes spanking is necessary.. but not as liberal as you may assume.

Some kids who get spanked liberally and in the wrong way.. they end up being bullies, and with negative relationships with their folks, as well as other issues.

So like anything.. balance and rules.

Also need to add...

no tools should be used when spanking.. ie: wooden spoons, paddles, belts, sticks, or what not.. only your hand.

no bare bottom spankings.. that's humiliating as well as just wrong.

no public spankings.. again.. just humiliting and just wrong.

and not just anyone can spank your child. You or your husband. That's it. Not grandparents, aunts, uncles, sibilings.. no one.. only the parents.

Anyway.. that's my opinon.

[deleted account]

I'm all for spankings. I do not agree with Julie at all when she says, "I think the argument that goes "Well, I was spanked and I turned out fine." is a bad one. Did they really turn out "fine" or did they turn out "fine" despite, not because of, their upbringing?" A spanking isn't getting weekly beatings like it sounds. A spanking is an alert to let children become aware of the wrong-doing and that you mean business. If they get a smack, it stands out that it was wrong and to remember it. I don't believe it is the sole punishment. Punishment like cleaning the wall that was drawn on or whatever I do agree with but I think you first need to get their attention first. 1 swat, fine. More than 1... bad.



Time outs are a new generation thing like 1990 on and frankly, they are contributing to this soft parenting that create the monster children problem we're now facing. I was born in 1980, I never saw and heard 3/4 of what kids get away with today because of soft parenting. I rarely got smacked and when I did, there was good reason for it, I deserved it and I didn't do what I did again. All my friends got a smack from time to time and my mother's generation was no different and same for her mother. Everyone turned out just fine without any scarred psyches because of it. In fact, it turned out to create a better human being with better standards, morals, respect and overall attitude than the children of today have. I've seen what time outs do and I rarely see a child who truly learns anything from it. Actually I've seen more problems form because of time outs than it's supposed to resolve.



I'm very much so against soft parenting because I actually want my children to be well behaved, well rounded, respectful children who turn into respectful teenagers and later adults. And if you doubt a word I've said about how soft parenting is hurting our society and children more than an occasional smack is, I can write pages about children and teenagers I see who are victims to soft parents and how they're monsters to the people around them. In fact, you can google articles about how poorly behaved children are. I think I've read a dozen in the past week.

Julie - posted on 05/21/2010

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Short answer: negative reinforcement (spanking) can work if used appropriately and with proper timing.



Most people CANNOT do it properly, i.e. they spank b/c THEY are frustrated/angry/etc... When done poorly, corporal punishment can really mess up a person. SO, to keep it "safe" it is recommended that NO ONE do it, since positive reinforcement works better anyways. But, it still has to be done properly to be effective.



Yes, people are still idiots and will mess that up, too. Is it better to be spoiled or fearful/depressed?



I think the argument that goes "Well, I was spanked and I turned out fine." is a bad one. Did they really turn out "fine" or did they turn out "fine" despite, not because of, their upbringing?

Jenifer - posted on 05/27/2010

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All these comments have been interesting, funny and some flat out entertaining. It's amazing to see the various perspectives.

I still feel that different punishments work for different children. It matters all on the parents and their teachings. We all struggle to be good and dedicated parents. We do the best we can.

Since I've started this question, I've been more firm with my 2 1/2 year old. It took him 3 days, to stettle down and realize I mean business. I spank only when necessary, which I feel is when he deliberately hurts his 11 month old brother. Especially after, I've already seperated them or told my oldest no. He's stopped hitting and kicking me. His screaming has desisted dramatically, and he's been listening more. I've actually been able to get through a day without yelling or being frustrated. I've only had to spank 4 times. I did it without being mad or angry and only one swat on the butt each time.

My father in-law is a child psychologist and he's told me not to spank and all the same arguments and research given here. I caught him swating my son on the hand when he deliberately hit his brother because he was mad. My father in-law looked at me and said, "Why does it take your unruly, wild child for me to see the other side?" I laughed.

The point of me telling you all that, is this; There's a right way and a wrong way. Society frowns on spanking because most parents don't know the difference. They spank when they're angry or mad and really hurt the child. The most important thing for me to remember, is there are some instances where my oldest doesn't understand what he did and isn't intentionally being mailce. Those are the times you explain to your child the difference. You don't spank when they don't understand and most parents don't know the difference.

So, my overall point is; Everyone is different. Every child is different, even siblings. Different punishments work for different times, places and children. The punishment needs to fit the crime. I feel if more parents were understanding of the right way and wrong way to spank, the tool wouldn't be this controversial. Hence, the reason why society and the "experts" preach no spanking because how else are they supposed to teach parents to know the difference?

Sherri - posted on 05/21/2010

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I disagree with you Rashmi. I don't spank to hide their feelings. I spank and/or slap their hand to prevent them from doing something that is dangerous or positively unacceptable. This is not a democracy what I say goes end of discussion if they still choose to disobey or be fresh expect a spank. Your child has no right to retaliate. They are the child you are the adult and they are to do what they are told when they are told. If my child raised a hand to me, I can assure you they would only do it once. There also comes a time when they are entirely to old to spank anymore. Please note I am not saying beat your child. I am saying a quick slap on the hand or a swat on the bottom with clothing on.

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Lady - posted on 06/06/2010

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I think it's all been said so I am going to lock this thread to further comments - thanks everyone for cotributing - it's an emotive subject and I think this is a debate that could and has gone on and on and one which people will never agree on!!

Georgetta - posted on 06/05/2010

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Everyone that posted here has very valid thoughts and feelings on the subject. Is either one of them the right answer, that all depends on the parent. I know when I got spanked which was rare, the thought of getting another spanking or warning of a spanking stopped me from doing things that I should not. But spanking isn't enough, your children have to understand why they are getting spanked is it just because mom/dad are mad or is it because they did something wrong. Even when I have spanked my 2 yr old and I use the word spank loosely, I tell her No, you will get hurt doing that or No that is naughty don't do that. I never leave it as a swat on the bottom and that's it. There still has to be some other follow through with your parenting. I think that as parents we are so afraid of being jailed or seen as a bad parent that many don't discipline their kids. I think it is very sad that you can't discipline your child, but when your child does something like hurt another person or steal that you, the parent, is held responsible. I think that by taking away the power we have to control our children, we open the door for children that lack respect for themselves and others.

Jenifer - posted on 06/05/2010

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My heart is out to you Caroline. My first marriage was an abusive one. He was very possessive. Lucky for me, I was in the military and had a whole force behind me to help. They literally removed him by deploying him for 10 months and issuing a No Contact order. They transfered me to another base and I was able to get a divorce. I was a lucky one, others aren't so lucky. Please seek help, from loved ones or anyone who can help. Your children may grow up to be just like him or the extreme opposite. Get out, hun. Do whatever it takes for you and your children. Please.

Samantha - posted on 06/04/2010

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Caroline, are you able to get out of the relationship? Do you have anyone you can turn to. I felt really sad when I read your post....... You need to do something, if not for you but your children. I know it is easy for me to say. Hopefully one day you will find the strength and willpower to get out.

Thinking of you.

Joanna - posted on 06/04/2010

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I believe in Love and Logic IF and only IF it works for your child. Mine it does not work for. You can explain until you are blue in your face and he does not care. You can put him in his room for "time out" and he will destroy it. He is very high strung, not ADD or ADHD, high strung. He is a very normal, highly active boy that wants to do his thing and doesn't want to stop what he is doing to hear what anyone has to say. So Love and Logic does not work for him. What works for him is to give him a warning, if that does not work, I count to 3, If I have to say 3, he gets a swat and time out. It is amazing how the swat snaps him back into reality. I DO NOT beat him!

Tesynia - posted on 06/04/2010

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I REFUSE to "reason" with a CHILD! I am the adult. I pay the bills, I provide the home, the food and the clothing. I agree with Amy, Step 1: verbal warning, step 2: time-out, & step 3: spanking & and time out.

Debbie - posted on 06/04/2010

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After 5 children and spanking the first 3 with my ex husband, I now have twins with my second husband. I feel spanking absolutely NOT a necessity. Our twins at the age of three have never been spanked and will never be spanked in the future. There is no reason to spank. Most parents often are too tired and exhausted to take the time to speak to their children and explain things. If there is an issue and the child is inconsolable, they go to their room for a time out. We have been using the love and logic method with tremendous success. The rules for spanking should be NEVER spank a child. Our other children were never beaten, but often were spanked after one or both of the parents were frustrated and desperate to get our points across and have orders followed. If you have time, please check out what you can regarding the "Love and Logic" method. It is well worth your time for you and your children.

Lisa - posted on 06/04/2010

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That is the problem with kids today. Kids need discipline, and spankings work. Spanking not beating works. I know I dreaded a spanking from my father and it made me think twice about things that I did. Kids these days get away with to much, and are out of control.

Maggie - posted on 06/04/2010

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here's how I think about it:

you can't hit your spouse, your dog, your coworker, your friends...why hit your child? Just because they are smaller than you doesn't make it okay to use physical punishments.

Amy - posted on 06/04/2010

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I agree with you. I use spanking as a last resort for my son. I have a 3 step "program" I use. Step 1: verbal warning, step 2: time-out, & step 3: spanking & and time out. I only use spanking if he doesn't understand he can't do whatever it was by the time I get to step 3.

[deleted account]

As a former bus driver, I can tell you what it is like to deal with children (k-12...I had them all) who never received a spanking. They were disrespectful, they thought that they could do what ever they wanted. The younger kids on my bus that I knew their parents spanked them, were the most well behaved and respectful kids. I almost never had a problem with them. I am a Christian, and I also have spanked my children. (one does NOT necessarily have to do with another) I believe that if the child has been told to do something 2 or 3 times, with the promise of a spank if they don't, and then you talk about why it happened afterward, they it is fine. When ever my kids have had time outs, it doesn't do any good, because they whine and complain they entire time, and yell at me, or put up a fight. If I say "don't do it, or I will spank you" they know now not to do it. Spanking is not an all the time thing. It is a promise for misbehavior and a reminder to do what is right. My girls are 3, 4 and 9. They are very happy children. I continually have people tell me how pleasant and well behaved they are. I talk to my kids, and explain why things are wrong, and what the Bible says about sin, and respecting and obeying their parents. And when something is wrong or if they are mad at me, I encourage them to talk about it with myself and my husband. I rarely have a need to yell at my girls. I was always spanked, and I didn't understand, and I acted out alot, but that is because my dad was always "no b/c i said so" with no reason for why the behavior was wrong, or dangerous, and It was just a spank with no warning when I didn't behave. I think there are rules to follow if you use spanking, and I think the children need to be talked to about it. It isn't abuse, if it is done in a loving and controlled manner. I personally know of children who are more verbally and emotionally abused, because they parents don't want to spank, but nothing else seems to work and the children continually act out to try and get attention. I am not saying that all kids who aren't spanked are that way or are in those circumstances...but the sometimes, there are kids who need it. Mine do, and they are better for it.

Caroline - posted on 06/04/2010

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i was smacked as a child and it NEVER did me any harm,i have four children but wont smack my children as i am in an abusive relationship.it is very hard at times for my children to be good as they have learnt from their father that it is ok to smack.

Samantha - posted on 06/03/2010

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Spanking or smacking as referred to here in NZ is now illegal........ Powers have now been given to police here to prosecute parents that use smacking to discipline a child. This has come about as we have a disgusting rate of child abuse and deaths caused through physical abuse. Somehow, the authorities seem to think that this will stop people from beating their children to death.......It hasn't worked. People still continue to beat their children.

Jennifer - posted on 06/03/2010

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Hi there from sunny South Africa. I has to add my 2 cents. It is a physiological fact that the part of the brain that deals with reason only fully develops at around the age of 18. Therefore one cannot "reason" with a small child, they just do not have reasoning skills. So if your 2 year old keeps taking out plug covers in order to stick his fingers in, how precisely does one reason with him. No, you cannot (as anyone with a two year old can attest. I did spank my children and do not feel guilty about it. I stopped spanking at around 5 years of age.

I think this whole thing of not spanking kids is a huge failure! And if you want to know why, just look at the teenagers who were raised in the "liberal" 90's and 00's. I think the teens of today are disrespectful, ungovernable and they have a huge sense of self entitlement, without any responsibility.

What is scary, is that these kids are the leaders of tomorrow - hell no! What a frightening thought!

However, there are many kids with whom a spanking just doesn't work, in the end, you are the the parent and responsible person in your children's lives, and you are the only one who can make the decision. Never let a spanking become abuse.

Barbara - posted on 06/03/2010

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Has anyone ever tried to really reason with a two year old? or a three year old or a spoiled child who always wants their way. Time outs don't work, taking their things away just shows that if your bigger you can get away with stealing. There is a BIG difference between spanking and beating a child. I was raised with beatings. I raised my children with spankings and now you can't even spank your child or CPS gets called in. What is really bad is that some of the spoiled children I have seen in this time period are our future politicians, leaders, judges, etc. What will it be like then?

Sherri - posted on 06/03/2010

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I agree with you. I was the kid where if you looked at me sternly I would cry my brother on the other hand would act up in public thinking he wouldn't get into trouble until he was taken to the car. He straightened up right quick. I was spanked when I was a little older and would act up to the point where I deserved it. I was spanked, my mom was spanked, pretty much my whole family, so there for my son gets spanked. If he's slightly acting up and I tell him to quit then I don't do it because it's harmless but when I feel that talking won't get through he gets a spanking. They did it back in the day and even school's and I think it should be brought back into the school system. I agree that kids these days are extremely rude and disrespectful and I believe that it's because they know they can get away with it whereever they are.

Krissy - posted on 06/03/2010

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acually jill i was belted continuasly and i was scared shitless (sorrry for the word but i honestly dont have any other name for it) i was always well behaved till i became 15 yrs lold when i realised that what was the point of behaving when i was going to get it anyway. i never accet out at school or anything till one day this boy who used to spit food etc and hit me wanted a 'muck around fight' i hit him so hard in the nose he stated to cry and his mates laughed at him. that was when i fially relised that i had to stand up for myself but the way i went about it was imature as my mother had kept me playing with 5-10 yrols , yes i was required to play with babys when i should have had friends my own age but she thought they were a bad influence even christian kids my own age were a bad influence. thus i am angry at what you have stated. most of the young kids i know now are rebelling because their parents are working all the time and/or bluding at home doing nothing and pay little attention to them so the just want to get any attention from anyone. we need to stop this i really cant belive these parent who have the choice to not to work and the dump thier 6 week old at day care i beilve this is what stems the strained realtionship between parent and child, the parent misses out on the child and the child learns that the parent is just someone who grounds /takes toys off for disiplen but then just gives up because they are too socially busy to care. its not hte hitting thats damaging the kids its the little care the get from their parents when they so deparetly want their love and support.

Krissy - posted on 06/03/2010

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positive renforcemnet does not always work. my son needs to be warned then he'll get a spank. sometimes it works but on the day i know that taking toys away will work then he has that instead. my mother was a belter i wont go into what she used to do but how she went about it was seriously wrong but i have learned what not to do with her behaviour on disiplen. i also do think it is how the childs personallity is, and if there are any underlying issues. my son has a lot of issuses that need sorting out but one thing i do know is that these parents who think the ' oh you dont do that do you? .....nooo thats right now go off and be nice'(in a patronising voice) are kidding themselves they need to wake up and see all this 'let the kids be kids' thing isnt working and the bullying and disruptive behaviour is getting worse. DISIPLEN taking toys away, time out and a spank on bottom works for young ones taking pocket money, phones and laptops whatever else and preiviledges and grounding only sometimes works as parents are now working and the teens seem to do their own thing dispite their punishment.i also think this is another contibuing factor in the keylatch kid as there is no parent home to look after and this is what they want even if they dont say it to you. they want a parent at home to see to them help them and guide them. this is my though as well as other i know but sometimes as the cookie crumbles you cant be at home to make sure your kids are looked after which is sad for everyone really...........

Georgetta - posted on 06/03/2010

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I think many ppl group spanking and beating into the same category when they are two very different things. But because of all the child abuse that is not handled well by our social services system all forms of discipline are being scrutinized. I was spanked as a child, and I read all the research, and turned out pretty darn good, I am not violent or not able to form relationships. You have to know how to find a balance in how u plan on disciplining your kids and who will do the disciplinng and went a spanking is warranted. I spank my kids, but only when what they have done warrants it. It is hard to reason with some adults let alone to try and reason everything with a 2 year old they just learning to process things, so it is easy to tap their hand and say no or swat their bottom and say no to get the point across. As they grow, they become more capable of understanding things, more logical so you can reason with them. My 11 year old has only been spanked when all other forms of discipline (ie taking things away, grounding, and extra chores have not worked). I think that if you do not know the difference between a spanking and causing severe bodily injury then you should not hit your child for any reason, it will get out of hand.

Joanna - posted on 06/03/2010

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To Angie: In regards to spanking your husband for not taking out the trash. I don't spank my children for not doing their chores. I spank my children for dangerous, hateful for vindictive behavior. My 3 year old runs out into the parking lot after pulling away from me, I will swat his hinney so he knows Im serious about how dangerous it is. One of my boys reaches for something across the hot stove, Im going to swat their hand so they know how serious I am that it is dangerous. My son hurts another child on purpose, I'm going to spank him and remove him from the situation. We're not talking about spanking for every tiney little thing. This is what Im talking about with people that are against spankings They blow it so out of proportion that it makes those of us that do, sound like mean spiteful parents or child abusers. My child bites me, Im going to pop his lips. Guess what he doesn't bite anymore. It's amazine how I hear parents whine "I can't get him to stop biting, I keep asking him not to do it. I tell him it's not nice. Now I have a parent a daycare wanting to have my child removed because he won't stop biting. What do I do." Guess what folks, you are ultimately responsible for your kids actions. Serious actions can result in criminal charges. This is a sue happy country. I have seen the parents of children charged with assault because their child assaulted another child. If your child doesn't respond to reasoning, time-outs, confiscating toys, etc. YOU have to find another way. I didn't spank my child for bad grades, we confiscated his toys. However, when he willfully pushed his brother for no reason, I spanked him. Guess what, the grades came up and he's nicer to his brother. It's all about balance!

Joanna - posted on 06/03/2010

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I agree! I have two older children 16 & 9 that very rarely have ever needed swats. However my 3 year old is another story. Time outs are a joke. Take away something at it creates a whole different temper tantrum, calmly speaking to him will get him to slap you in the face. Every child is different and Parents are forced to tweek their parenting skills to fit their different children. I was only spanked a few times as a child, my sister on the other hand didn't get it as quickly. I have learned to read what the psychologists have to say and take from them what fits my child. However for the rest of society that wants to condem the way I raise my child. He is very happy and healthy and has a great bond with both his mommy and daddy. If they want to raise him and take responsibility for him that is fine. But no child of mine is going to be like these disrespectful rude teens and young adults you mentioned above! I have never beaten my children and would never do anything that would not be in their best interest. But just as my parents said to me, I love them with all my heart and I care how they grow up and how they turn out. My parents have said multiple times that they are so very proud of how we turned out. We get complements regularly on how our children behave at other people's homes. Their manners are immpecible and how pleasant they are to be around. Both by adults and other children. Our kids tell us how amazed they are at other children's behavior. So I would say we are doing a pretty good job! Love your babies with all your heart and you will know how to raise them!

Yvette - posted on 06/03/2010

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I have no problem with spanking that is they was we were raise and I see nothing wrong with u have to figure out what works for u. They tell u that u shouldn't spank u should have time out or take things from the kids, but that does not work on many kids. Some kids have no problem sitting in time out for a few minutes or getting something taking a way for a little while they know they will get it back soon. It seems with every new generation the kids are getting more out of hand the level of rudness and disrespect is out of control with kids.They tell u not to spank, but when ur kids turn out rotten they want to blame the parents. The best method is the method that works for u not the method that every one tells u to use, because in the end u are the one that has to raise the child every punishment has its time

Anita - posted on 06/02/2010

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I say a small smack on the and or a tap on the bum won't hurt them. BUT I have a hard time smacking my son (who is 2). I usually just put him in his room for time out and that is usually enough to make him understand. I think smacking him makes him think it's ok to smack back. Yelling does't work with my son & smacking him makes him aggressive (plus it makes me feel guilty). But it's up to you how you discipline your children. I think a smack is different to a belting which is then considered child abuse. It's usually only a controversy because people butt into other peoples affairs and think they can do a better job. But like I said it's up to you and don't let anyone else tell you how to raise your children because every child is different.

LAURA - posted on 06/02/2010

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Well i ask my children to listen to me first...they dont listen to me i then warn them about what would happen next...they still dont listen i then scream at them about what im going to do...then finally spanking! thats it hands down! and that straightens them up for a while. i have 2 boys and its hard because they are always fighting. so im for spanking!!! theres to talking to my kids because they dont listen.

Sara - posted on 06/02/2010

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I think that one of the primary things to look at in disciplining any child is the attitude of the heart. It is too simple to say spank or not spank. Why do we discipline? We do this because we love our children and want them to grow up as healthy, loving, and beautiful adults. So if we spank out of anger we teach ugliness, if we avoid spanking or discipline in general because we don't want to deal with it, we teach ugliness.

I do spank my son when the occasion warrants it, but only out of the desire to see him learn. When I feel myself getting angry momma gets a time out. There are many times where spanking is not necessary and should only be used appropriately.

As for parents who choose not to spank, I applaud them. It is a lot of work to be continously attempting to reason with a 2 year old.

Most of all I believe that the thing that is more important then the way we discipline, is the way that we love. My hope is that Zeke hears "I love you" at least as many times a day as he has to hear "No". Because if he is absolutely assured in my love for him, then it is easier for him to trust my parenting.

Angie - posted on 05/31/2010

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I feel like we should ultimately respect our children just like we do our spouse, other family and friends. Think about it from the point of view of a husband and wife. My husband knows it's his job to take out the trash, it's one of the things he is supposed to do but i often have to ask him over and over to actually do it. Sometimes I have to remind him, sometimes I have to leave notes and it drives me crazy, he's not doing something he should be doing. But no where in that equation is it ok for me to slap my husbands hands or arms because he isn't taking out the trash. That would just be absurd and spousal abuse. But then we have our kids who often don't really know what the right and wrong thing is, they are just learning about the world and learning to test boundaries. Why does it suddenly become ok to hit (yes that's what spanking is) these little people who are just trying to get a feel for what is and is not ok? You can't hit an adult who knows what they should be doing but you can hit a child who doesn't? I just don't see how that makes sense at all.

Shanan - posted on 05/31/2010

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I think Christine Robison has it right! I have adopted three toddlers ages 1,2,and 3. When we first got them we were not allowed to spank them and they almost tore the house down. The oldest is a very strong willed boy who will stand in time-out but scream at the top of his voice for hrs. if we let him. He also had a bad habit of hitting and slapping his younger siblings. I tried taking things away from him, reasoning with him, positive re-inforcement techniques, ignoring his bad behavior, etc. etc. It was all I could do to keep him from seriously harming the other two without spanking him.

Finally, one night he knocked his brother to the ground and bloodied his mouth so bad I thought we were going to need sticthes. We put the oldest (who was the offender) in time-out while we were patching up the youngest. The entire time the oldest was screaming at the top of his voice as usual and would not calm down. Once we knew that no trip to the er was necessary we called our oldest over and began to calm him down. That is when we realized he wasn't crying because he was sorry for what he had done or because his brother was hurt, he was crying because he felt sorry for himself.

At that point I changed my stratagey and I told him that he needed to understand that hitting and being bullied hurts and I informed him that from that time on if he hit or pushed his brother I would remind how it feels by spanking him. Then I spanked him for that action from that time on and reminded him "this is what it feels like to the person you just hit. Is that how you want to make your brother/sister feel?" So far he has always relied "No." and I am glad to report I haven't spanked him but a few times since them. Because he's starting to have empathy for his victums.

Carrie - posted on 05/30/2010

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Because of the overwhelming research that shows the net negative effects of spanking. Children who are spanked are more likely to be aggressive to other children at school, and as adults, and they are also more likely to be sexually aggressive as adults. Studies have also shown that spanking doesn't work any better than other discipline techniques, and over time you have to use more and more force to get the kid to continue to comply, which often leads to child abuse. The experts don't say to reason with your child, until they are older. When they are younger they say to use distractions and positive reinforcement instead. I have had good luck with my twins (now 2), with a combination of positive reinforcement (praising when they do the right thing), ignoring them when they throw tantrums or putting them in their room when they do, and time-outs. Probably the reason kids are more rude nowadays is because lots of kids were punished too harshly back in the 80's and now they are having kids, and are too inconsistent with their discipline. Consistency is the key. The only way to make discipline work, whatever kind it is, is to always be consistent and don't give in if the kid engages in a power struggle. Lots of parents will try and try and then give up, and the child learns that if they fight hard enough the parent will give in. I have learned all this in my childhood education classes and they have worked well for me. HTH!

Natalie - posted on 05/28/2010

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As I read through the comments, I keep seeing an association with spanking and child abuse. There are hundreds of way to abuse a child without ever spanking (hitting them). I'm a teacher and I've seen and heard of many stories of children who are neglected at home, who come to school in filthy clothes without having had dinner the night before because their parent(s) was too busy or didn't even come home. Be very careful when you assume that someone who spanks is abusing their child.

Natalie - posted on 05/28/2010

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My husband and I spank because we believe it's a biblical form of discipline. We have one little girl, a four year old, and we have to vary our discipline. Since she's an only child, she HATES being isolated, so when we give her a "time out" where she can not see us or get a response from us, she's miserable. When we do spank, we do it privately (in a bathroom), with a discussion before (Why are you being spanked? Why did you disobey? What do we expect you to do? etc) and hugs and prayer immediately. We hold her until she is done crying after her spanking so she understands how much we love her. She can tell you exactly why she gets spanked and why we pray afterwards. We have (so far) never spanked, even popped, her out of anger or a reaction to a behavior.

I don't believe that spanking works for everyone and it's not our only form of discpline. I don't think parents who are not harming their children should be judged for disciplining their child.

Jill - posted on 05/28/2010

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Dominica, Jesus never would have hit anyone or anything especially a small child. Most of the old testament is a far cry from how Jesus lived his life and hoped that everyone would live theirs. So, if you really think about the bible and think WWJD, it certainly wouldn't be hitting children.

Dominica - posted on 05/28/2010

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The psychologists don't know what they are talking about. This is why we have such a messed up generation now. i am a religious person and my bible tells me "spare the rod, spoil the child". I have 5 children and sometimes they get spanked. its good for them. I was spanked as a child and turned out alright, so I'll stick to what is right.....spanking

Kyra - posted on 05/28/2010

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i really dont see what thats got to do with spanking?! most people that use spanking do so only in extreme cases and only hard enough to leave a red mark at the most! abuse and neglect are wrong, full stop!

Sherri - posted on 05/28/2010

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Les this has nothing to do with a spank on the bottom. That is sheer child abuse and is horrible. They should both be punished the same way the did to there son.

Les - posted on 05/28/2010

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Just today a man was arrested for tying up a 7 year old boy to a basement pole in Minnesota and whipped the boy's back with an extension cord. Not even one inch of his back had not been whipped. That was his punishment for being naughty in school. The Mother watched and she is wanted.

Sarah - posted on 05/28/2010

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I was devious because I was afraid of my parents, pure and simple. I disobeyed to get out of spankings. Whether they were administered the "right way" or not, they had a profound impact on my life and the lives of my siblings. I was not a "bad" child - or at least no more so than any other child.

The point is that all children will test their boundaries, and it IS important that those boundaries are firmly enforced. However, I will never be convinced that violence is the way to do that. Everyone keeps talking about spanking the "right way" vs. the "wrong way." My question is, what exactly is the "right way" to hit your kids? I'm not asking this to be argumentative, but the fact is that I have a difficult time with the concept that there is a correct way to hit a child, so I would like some clarification if possible.

Also, according to your logic and several other posts, children under the age of 2 can't reason very well, so spanking is supposed to work. Many posts have mentioned STOPPING spanking by the age of 4, which indicates to me that many view hitting children that can't even speak in full sentences or go to the bathroom on their own yet as socially acceptable. Children under the age of 2 can't do a lot of things; to my way of thinking, this means that they need the care and protection of their parents more at that age than when they are older (not really, but you get my point). How can anyone condone hitting a toddler? Also, what's to stop someone from saying that it's okay to hit an infant, based upon that same logic? This logic is a slippery slope, if you ask me.

The problem with spanking is that everyone has a different idea of what is acceptable. Everyone tries to justify their choice to hit/spank their children with the same reasons: "My parents did it to me, and I turned out just fine"; "I'll stop when they're old enough to reason"; "It's just a little whack on the bottom - it won't hurt them"; etc. While it is true that parents have spanked for millenia, there are a lot of other things that people used to do, which were considered to be socially acceptable and appropriate, but have since been deemed archaic and downright wrong.

I encourage you to read some of the studies which have been done regarding spanking. What you will find is that spanking rarely leads to lasting behavior change (because those changes are based upon fear), and that it has a high probability of leading to problems later on in the child's life. However, if you teach a child to reason through a problem, rather than flying off the handle and reacting in a negative manner, then you are teaching them lessons that they will remember for the rest of their lives.

Jenifer - posted on 05/27/2010

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Sara, I am sorry to hear that. In retrospect, you realized spanking did not work on you. Your parents, obviously, didn't use the technique properly or were too liberal with it. That is unfortunate, but why would you knowingly do something devious when you knew what the consequence was if you got caught? Why should you resent your parents, when you're the one who chose to disobey? Yes, your parents should have tried another approach. I hope your children choose right from wrong instead of being more devious like you were as a child. Good luck.

Jenifer - posted on 05/27/2010

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Cara, my mother did the same thing! She would send me to my room to "think" about what I did wrong. And if she was way too angry she'd tell me, "Just wait until your father gets home!" That's when I knew I really did something wrong! LOL!

Jenifer - posted on 05/27/2010

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In response to Alison's comment; I am so happy for you! I wish my toddler would listen to me as I try to explain things to him. It doesn't work. My 11 month old, different story. He already knows what no means and listens. All I have to say is, "Caleb, no. Don't touch," and he just giggles at me and turns away.

But not all parents are like you and it does make me sad when I see a parent "flying off the handle" when it comes to their children. Everybody's different and so are their children.

Charlena - posted on 05/27/2010

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I don't hit , my mom used that on me when I was a kid and I still was a wild child , I think parents expect their kids to just sit and behave all day but forget that all kids are doing is exploring life and being a kid ( As adults I think we forget what its like being a kid ) I don't put my hand on my child I see how terrified my friends kids look when they raise their hand to them or threaten to hit them and I dont need my daughter being afraid of me . Time out works just fine in my house .

Gina - posted on 05/27/2010

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I have been a single mum of 4 kids most of their lives, and I have had to smack all of mine. I do not believe that excessive smacking is the key but a good smack on the hand or the bum is called for 99% of the times. I have all boys and while 2 of them are in their teens and havent had a smack for many years now, they have grown up to respect me and other peoples belongings. Never once have I taken my kids somewhere and heard negative comments about them. But yet I believe that respect is given when respect is earned. I am a big believer in respect and if someone shows them consideration they do the same.
When my eldest was approx 2 years old we were in a shopping centre and he was constantly pulling things of the racks while I was looking for winter clothing for him. It became very frustrating and I, being a first time very yopung mum was almost in tears. I managed to compose myself and explained to him that he was being very naughty. After having to repeat myself many times, I finally gave my son a smack. As I did this I had this elderly lady come over to me and start screaming abuse at me for being a child abuser. I was absolutely aghast. I then told her that she is very lucky that my parents raised me to have respect for my elders as I would have knocked her to the floor. With that she walked away.
As a parent I cannot handle other people constantly dictating to me how I should raise my kids. I dont expect anyone else to handle that either. So I say it is up to the individual. I am a big believer in a smack does kids the world of good. It is the parents that take it too far that make it hard for us loving, guiding parents raise their kids with respect and compassion. Kids these days have too many rights.
I was raised with great dicipline and it taught me alot of valuable lessons which cannot always be taught with reasoning with a child.
I say it is up to the individual whether they smack or not. But I also say dont judge me because I believe that smacking is my way and I will not change the way I raise my kids because the law and society say so. I would rather smack my kids when they are in the wrong than to later on in life have them in jail or worse because they were never taught that every action has a consequence, right from wrong, or the biggest thing of all RESPECT for themselves and for others

Sherri - posted on 05/27/2010

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Yes I was spanked but I feel it was almost always justified. Yes I knew it hurt but I also knew why I got cuffed in the back of the head or spanked. My parents never over did it. Usually more times than not I got THE LOOK. We usually didn't push it, if we did we got swatted.

Corrine - posted on 05/27/2010

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do any of you remember what it was like when you got spanked or hit or slapped across the head cuz you did something wrong in your parents eyes but in yours you didn't think that at the time right it hurt than mentally emotionally and physically yes we get angry and say things we shouldn't take things away think back to how our parents made us feel and how we all said we would never do what are parents did to us and look at us now we are doing what our parents did to us spanking, yelling, not reasoning its there way or no way don't you wish you could have explored the world more if your parents enjoy you kids when you were small i don't hit my kids cuz i was beat as a child from my dad i didn't like it or when he yelled at me cuz he didn't know how to talk i felt like he didn't love me i was a chore to him he should have to look after me or take care of me its not the kids fault parents can't control the actions children don't make you angry you allow yourself to get angry no one make you mad but you if you let it think how life could have been different if you didn't yell or scream or spank how would it have changed you in raising your kids or your parents raising you your parents could have been more calm and relaxed with you wouldn't believe that spanking or hitting was ok it also teaches kids if its ok for our parents to hit us than we can hit others cuz they did something the other person didn't like! its not right i disagree with spanking!

Rebecca - posted on 05/27/2010

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I agree completely! The only person who can know what disciplines work on a child, is that child's parent(s). However, I do believe spankings should be a last resort, and should fit the misdeed. I have seen parents who resort to spanking every single time, and children grow immune to the spanking. Then the parents do it out of habit instead of talking to their child as he/she gets older. So spanking can become a communication barrier if its not used sparingly and properly.



I also believe that you cannot tell a person how to raise their child. I also think that people who rely on "studies" should be careful. Within every study (for or against) there are certain variables that are being tested that are not necessarily released to the public. These variables, most of the time, are the key factor to whether the study even pertains to you at all. To me, studies are along the same lines as standardized testing. You cannot judge a child's intelligence based on one test, because each and every person has a different way of learning, and their knowledge may not be testable with pencil and paper. Everyone is different, everyone learns different. Some parents are raising deaf children, and yelling, or reasoning, isn't going to help. Are those parents raising their child wrong if they swat them? Every situation is different, as is every child and parent.



What "boggles" my mind is that we judge each other so harshly for our chosen disciplines. The important thing is that WE, as parents, TEACH our children the lessons that they need to learn, and be in control of your emotions and the situation. Be the adult and not the child who is still learning to cope with all their emotions. And if spanking is your chosen discipline, just remember to talk to your children as well. Communication is key.

Sarah - posted on 05/27/2010

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To each, their own. Personally, I want my children to do the right thing because it's the right thing and they understand that there are consequences to poor choices, not because they are scared of me.

My parents spanked me, and all it did was make me more devious, so I wouldn't get caught the next time. As an adult, I did, indeed, find that I had anger problems which took me a long time to work out (along with years of built-up resentment toward both of my parents), and my brothers still have problems with anger and resentment; I attribute this to the fact that our parents used violence and intimidation (aka spanking) to correct our behavior, rather than treating us with respect by reasoning with us and generally treating us the way that they themselves would have liked to have been treated as children.

I don't spank either of my children, and they are both extremely well-behaved and respectful. I find it hard to believe that none of the children you know who have been spanked are psychologically unaffected by it.

Amber - posted on 05/27/2010

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Well, I think if you choose to not spank, or to spank, it is your decision. I can see why people would say that they don't want to spank, I can see the argument for those who do. I really feel more than anything, that it is our choice to raise our children in a manner we see fit as long as it is not harmful to our children. There are definitely arguments on either side of the fence, and that is fine too. No matter what you do, someone is going to disagree with you. I have read study after study, and you can find as many studies that say it's ok to spank, helpful even, as you can studies that say it is harmful.



I have seen so many horrible stories of child neglect, abuse, torture even. I worked for an agency for years that dealt with supervising parent time for people who were abusive, had drug/alcohol issues, or were otherwise a detriment to their child, so a spank is just not something I worry about if done correctly. While I agree you can reason with some children, there is definitive evidence that children who are two or three really don't understand time, or how their actions affect others. Their world is very small, very limited and that is our job as parents, to open their world and do what we can every day to teach our children what is proper and acceptable, and what is not. I think it is awesome that everyone is entitled to their opinion, and that we can express it.



Like I said, I have some children with whom it worked, others with whom it was not a good option. I am sure you will all find what works for you.

Cassie - posted on 05/27/2010

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we spank and i can diff tell you when we're out in pulic or over at a friends they knwo to behave and when will get the in troble even if the little kids they're playing with is doing something wrong-they do not do it....I don't spank all the time and its only one spank and then to time-out-I was spanked when I was little and I'm fine I don't see the problem with it. However I do say there is an age limit I never spanked till my children were 2, i never babied them I always talk to them like little adults and felt thats a great age to show them right from wrong. I've got 2 children 3 (who gets more time outs than spankings) and a 6 year old whos punishment has gradutated from that to writing sentences on what she did...which diff has worked

Cara - posted on 05/27/2010

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It is unacceptable to many because some people get too carried away with it. I recall as a child if I did something that deserved a spanking my mother would always send me to my room first. She wanted to cool off before so as to not get carried away and be spanking out of anger. She would spank me then she would sit me down and talk to me about why she spanked me. I was a very respectful and happy child. I always used my manners and respected my elders. I don't see a problem with spanking your child if that is what works. There is a difference between beating and spanking. If my daughter is doing something that may hurt her and I've told her time and time again to stop and other punishment methods dont work, I may pop her butt or hand. She learns quickly and doesn't not do whatever it was she was doing again. My daughter, even at 19 months, is polite. She uses manners, she plays well with others, she knows better than to hit, kick, punch, throw....etc. To the comment about the child not being able to retaliate, A child shouldn't be "retaliating", YOU are the parent not them. That's the problem with kids these days. parents are so afraid to discipline them because they are afraid of it "ruining" them. All the while they are actually "ruining" their child by not disciplining.

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