What is an appropriate age to start spanking?

Jenni - posted on 06/24/2011 ( 184 moms have responded )

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A question for mom's who use spanking. At what age did you start spanking? When do you feel is an appropriate age to start using spanking, when is too young?



Let's TRY not to turn this into a debate about the merits and demerits of spanking in general and stay on the topic of age appropriate spanking.

Why we feel it's effective to start a certain age or why we feel it would be ineffective at that age.



DISCLAIMER: I'm not asking for myself, this is in regards to another thread.

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Johnny - posted on 06/27/2011

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Spanking is hitting. It may be done in a controlled manner, in a controlled setting with specific goals in mind and set rules about its use. But you are still hitting another person. No amount of semantics can change that fact. Unless of course you've come up with some sort of new fangled spanking technique that does not require you to use your hand to strike a child in any way.

You may believe that it is necessary to spank in some circumstances to get proper results in a child. Having worked with kids for years, as both a trained childcare worker and later as a trained social worker, I can tell you that it is very possible to teach both respect, self-discipline, and good behaviour without ever striking a child in any way, including a controlled spank.

I know many adults who are very successful, disciplined people who were not spanked as children, including my husband's entire family & extended family. No one in his entire family has ever utilized corporal punishment or discipline because it is against their religious beliefs. My husband is a nuclear physicist, his brother is a construction contractor, and his sister is an accountant, his niece is a lawyer, his cousin is a chiropractor....and not a criminal record or even an incident among them. They are well-respected in their community and known as people you can turn to and rely on. Not exactly like the wild people you assert will result from non-corporal discipline.

Do I think that all spanking is abuse? No. Not at all actually. I was spanked 2 or 3 times as a child and luckily I do not have issues with my parents as a result. Nor do I think it was necessary and they have actually both said that in hindsight, neither do they. You can choose to spank if you wish, but it is still hitting. I think that the "lack of understanding" is yours.

[deleted account]

I survived being spanked....and so did my children : )



I don't want to seem like a creep, but the information is there on your public profile for all to see -- you posted that you had to kick your daughter and her "druggie" boyfriend out of your house, and that you miss your granddaughter whom they won't let you see?



Are you sure they survived your hand-smacking for touching things on tables and spanking? Are you sure you survived your father's punishments?



I mean this as gently as I possibly can.



(Just to clarify: I like to look at people's profiles and see their children's names and pictures, because I think it's sweet. I didn't expect to find that kind of information.)

Tara - posted on 06/28/2011

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Elizabeth, you spank her for binding her breasts???
Why??? Why is this a spank worthy offense to you??
How was her binding her own breasts harmful to her or anyone else?
How could you justify spanking a child (one who has well endowed breasts, so I guess not really a child at all). for binding her own body by herself because SHE wanted to.

This seems really borderline abusive.
If she is old enough to go to Anime conventions and has large well endowed breasts, do you really think you are teaching her anything by spanking her??
Honestly?
I can't see how this makes any sense to anyone?
Anyone? Come on, anyone agree with this? Does anyone else think this is weird and possibly a little controlling?
So her boobs were bruised? She obviously didn't care and didn't want the big boobies showing so she made a CHOICE with her OWN BODY. To bind them for her OWN reasons.
Good God. Let the child have some control over her own body!

Johnny - posted on 06/26/2011

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Yes a one year old can be defiant, but it is not a concious choice they are making to specifically disobey. It isnt as if they are sitting there thinking, "Gee I wonder if this will piss Mom off if I do it again, I love to screw with her."

Spanking a child is designed to bresk down their resistance, their resolve, their independence, their will, and turn them into an obedient person who will not ever question authority and who will blindly follow their elders, their superiors, their leaders, and their parents without so much as a doubt or a second thought. (I am referring here to child training spankers not random spankers). Many people want children like that, but others sure do not. Our goals are just not the same at all. When we debafe this issue most of us are not even speaking the.same language.

Tara - posted on 06/28/2011

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Patricia,
When a child begins touching things on a table that is a good time to start smacking their hand?!?!!?

A toddler touches things because he can. A toddler touches things to explore his world, a toddler touches things to find out about his world.
Why don't you put things on the table that he CAN touch, like soft cloths, plastic figurines, building blocks, soft coasters etc. etc. etc. so that he may explore his new found freedom safely without pissing you off so much that you have to smack them.
Kids will touch things, good god, why wouldn't they.
Why not make their world safe for them instead of waiting around for a chance to smack them for touching things that YOU should remove from his reach to keep him SAFE.
Your role is not to protect your precious table items, your role is to give your child a safe place to explore his world, you role is to provide enriching opportunities for your child to learn about textures, smells, temperatures, hot, cold, soft, hard, scratchy, smooth etc. etc.
Your role is also to teach them about safety as they grow.
But slapping a toddler's hand because they reach for things?!?!
That is abusive parenting in my books.
And in Canada it is illegal to smack a child under 2.
Smacking your toddlers hand for TOUCHING things on a table is not discipline it is cruel punishment for something the adult sees as a crime.
The child is only exploring their world, they are innocently touching something new, and all of a sudden the person who is supposed to care for them, swoops over, smacks that tender chubby little hand and yells "NO" and then waits to see if he will touch again just so she can yell "NO" and smack him yet again.
What is that teaching your child??
Not to explore his environment lest he receive a painful swat from the person he trusts with his safety.
That is called "Lazy Ass parenting".

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184 Comments

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Ez - posted on 07/02/2011

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** Mod Notice **
Locking this thread at the request of the OP. We all need a break from spanking for a while :)

Erin - DM Mod

[deleted account]

How do we know for sure "nothing else works"? It's like not we're running a controlled study here.



What I mean is --



My son is at the age when he's trying to get into everything, and I mean everything. But he's only 9mo, he understands very little. When he started crawling around, I thought I needed to use a "stern voice" or raised voice to get him to understand something was bad/dangerous to touch. I thought I had to do that to distinguish it from my normal, positive, everyday voice.



But I didn't like myself when I yelled at him. He seemed frightened of me. So I stopped. I started saying in a normal voice "don't touch" and gently taking his hand away or simply removing him from the area. (I also child-proofed to a greater degree so he could explore freely in most areas of our home.)



Now he seems to understand a little. He tries to touch, I say "don't touch," and he stops. (Sometimes.)



But if I had kept yelling at him -- and if it's just a matter of repetition (of whatever method you use) that sinks it in, I could easily post, "Yelling was the only thing that worked!"



But I only think that because I didn't try anything else -- for long enough.

[deleted account]

If a child cannot learn or does not learn the "why" behind the "why not", they're merely behaving to appease the parent. Don't we all want our children to grow up and understand WHY sticking their finger in an outlet is bad. You cannot effectively teach that to a 9 month old, so take precautions and wait until you can.

Jenni - posted on 07/02/2011

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Well it's simple really; they repeat and nothing else works because they aren't old enough to understand why they shouldn't.

As you discovered; slapping her hand does work because in their still very primitive brains they can connect the behaviour with the punishment. They just can't understand why they shouldn't engage in the behaviour yet.

So now here is where it comes down to a difference in parenting style--

You believe bad behaviours should immediately be nipped in the bud.

We believe they should be addressed when the child can understand the *why* they shouldn't engage.

Michelle - posted on 07/02/2011

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I understand that some people dont believe in spanking. To each their own. I am willing to even say that most people who spank may be way out of line for the reasons that they spank, but common sense tells me that if my child is doing something inappropriate that may hurt them or that I dont feel is right, it is my job to correct them. If after every other attempt to correct the behavior has been made and they still continue (repetitive within a five minute time frame) then a tap on the hand to show them the effects of doing something wrong/harmful/bad is necessary, because nothing else has worked.

[deleted account]

Ok! You're right....you can do whatever you want. I don't think I ever said you couldn't but we're here debating the topic so I'm presenting the other side.

Not sure why we're talking about books now, but I don't read a bunch of books either. For me, all this age appropriate stuff is just common sense, but as Dr. Phil says, "Common sense just isn't common enough!"

You remind me of how my dad was when I was younger. "It's my way or the highway, blah, blah, blah....." -- that's not doing your kid any favors but you're definitely right, I can't make you change.

Michelle - posted on 07/02/2011

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So I guess because I spank I dont LOVE my children. Well I guess the same arguement can be made for those that dont spank. But I am not saying that. I am saying that you have no right to suggest that I dont love my children simple because I believe that occasionally I think every child needs and deserves a spanking. AND I would never spank or smack a 1 day or even a six month old. I never said I spanked my nine month old, I tapped her hand, for continuing to do something that I didnt feel was safe for her to do. I am her mother after all. It is my job to protect her and that means protecting her from herself.

Michelle - posted on 07/02/2011

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well the great news is I dont live in Canada.

I will teach both my children the way I deem fit. There are millions of books out there on how to raise your children, but I am not going to read them. I dont care what some doctor who is PRACTICING medicine deems is right or wrong for my children. I gave birth to them, I will decided what is the right way and wrong way to teach them.

[deleted account]

Ummm, speaking about rules. Did you know it's against the law to "spank" a child under the age of 2, and over the age of 12, in some countries, including Canada where I'm from? Do you know the laws where you're from, Michelle?



"My rules, my house....my, my, my.....blah, blah, blah".....I think that's a shitty attitude to have and it certainly isn't going to TEACH your daughter anything. I'm the boss in my house, I put food on the table, I do all those things you do, but I also CHOOSE to guide and encourage my daughter, and help her to EFFECTIVELY learn what is age appropriate "good" behaviour.

Jenni - posted on 07/02/2011

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You know, I shouldn't have made this thread about 'spanking'. I should have made it about 'punishments' in general. When is punishing/applying logical consequences age appropriate.

Jenni - posted on 07/02/2011

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I do agree with the last part of what you said. It is our job as parents to teach our children right from wrong, I definitely agree with that. I also agree that they will experience consequences for not following rules in the adult world (as well as before). I agree that children need structure and boundaries.

Just not before they're developmentally able to understand those concepts.

[deleted account]

Yes, that's another good point. I don't consider what you described, Michelle, to be "bad" behaviour. It's age appropriate exploring and learning. More people need to understand what is appropriate and what isn't. Just because YOU don't like what she's doing, doesn't mean it's "bad".

Michelle - posted on 07/02/2011

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yeah and I am the boss in my family.. It is my house, I pay the bills, I keep food on the table, clothes on her back and its my way or no way. Until such time as she is old enough to support herself, there are rules in my house and she will follow them. There are rules in every country, rules that must be followed or you are punished. It is my job as a parent to teach her what is right and what is wrong. If as an adult she choose to do things that are wrong that is her choice. But she will have the knowledge.

Jenni - posted on 07/02/2011

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I guess that depends on what constitutes something as 'bad'. I don't see a baby/toddler wanting to learn about their environment as bad. I do understand us adults *know* that an outlet can be a potential danger. But she doesn't. Why should she be punished for something she doesn't understand?
As the adult we know it's dangerous so it's our job to protect our children until they are old enough to understand it's dangerous--(that's just my opinion)

[deleted account]

"something bad".......she can't understand that broad of a term. You'd have to be smacking her all the time in order for it to actually be effective.

Smacking her hand teaches her that mommy didn't like something I did. Beyond that, she doesn't get it.

Michelle - posted on 07/02/2011

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I am teaching her that if she does something bad (cause) there is a punishment(effect) of that action.

[deleted account]

"I dont believe that a child under two doesnt understand cause and effect. They absolutely do."

IF that's the case, what do you think you're teaching her by smacking her hand?

Jenni - posted on 07/02/2011

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You never stop learning cause and effect. It's just that most adults and older children can be warned about dangerous effects. Or they can learn about them through 2nd hand means. In other cases we still experience cause and effect for ourselves.



But babies and toddlers especially are learning about their environment through cause and effect. An outlet is rather fascinating to a baby or toddler. It has holes that they could possibly insert things into, they've seen you insert the vaccuum plug in it. They want to understand how it functions and what they can do with it. They don't understand like we adults do, that it's dangerous to stick foreign objects in it. And if you don't want your child finding out the effects of putting an object in it, put a cover on it.



I covered all my outlets. My 3 and 4 year old now have no interest in outlets. They are also now at an age where they understand the meaning of 'danger' so a simple discussion on it will suffice.

Minnie - posted on 07/02/2011

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Meh. I don't spank and people are stunned at my 2 1/2 year old's politeness. My five year old's as well.

So if you've tried 'everything else' (and clearly we're not understanding age-appropriate behavior or impulsivity that cannot be controlled) and you now resort to smacking, is that supposed to be the be-all end-all? What if the smacking does not stop the tot from trying to stick things in the outlet (or whatever the issue is). Do you forever more trust her to not stick things in the outlet now, because that smack will surely protect her now?

Michelle - posted on 07/02/2011

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I dont think there is an age that it is inappropriate to spank a child. If my nine month old has been redirected, told NO, removed from a situation, explained that it will cause an owwie, more than 10 times within a five minute time frame, then I dont see an issue with a tap on her hand, telling her no and redirecting her to another area, after trying all other methods of punishment. I spanked my five year old and every day I am told how polite and well adjusted, respectful she is.

I dont believe that a child under two doesnt understand cause and effect. They absolutely do. I cry, mommy gets me a bottle, changes my diaper and makes me clean and dry, I fall down and cry and someone comes and picks me up and cuddles me. They understand cause and effect. They may not be able to verbalize what they want or need, but they are able to cry, scream, laugh, ect... which tells us as their parents what they need or want. And if I have done every other option to keep them from hurting themselves or someone/thing else and they continue to go back to that one thing, then I will smack her hand.

[deleted account]

Peggy, I use the count down method with Roxanne. IT is NOT the punishment. IT (counting) is a warning or a chance for her to correct her behaviour before I enforce some kind of discipline.



I'm confused what you're talking about?

Charlie - posted on 07/02/2011

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Tealrose said "I find it mind boggling at almost 57 that in this day and age anyone finds it 'normal', 'ok' and 'fine' to spank/hit a tiny person at least three times smaller than you in the name of discipline [means to teach, not spanking needed thank you] when if you tried the same on an adult, criminal or animal they would be arrested !! "

I totally agree ....apparently being humane is not human nature .....at least when it comes to children that is.

Peggy - posted on 07/01/2011

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I find it mind boggling how people actually think a spanking is meant to hurt or how else are they supposed to learn what they are doing is wrong?...SERIOUSLY?? Um lets see here... time outs dont hurt so how are they supposed to learn what they are doing is wrong?... My kids didnt need to be swatted to hurt for them to learn that if I had to speak to them over and over again that I would swat them on their bottoms. They learned that being popped on the bottom was a form of getting in trouble and all I ended up having to say is "do I need to spank" and they would stop.. I would pop them on the butt explain when I say something I mean it. I could put my kids in time out and they would scream bloody murder the whole time... Oh damn so I must be a god awful mom... I swat and my kids were never hurt in any way shape or form compared to sitting time out.... it may have hurt their feeling but they got over it faster than sitting there screaming. Some say that counting to 3 installs fear into a child of what will happen if their parent get 3.. even if its going to timeout... wonder how many of you "NON spankers" are guilty of this?

Lucy - posted on 07/01/2011

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Interesting Jennifer, why do you want to know?

I wonder why you are asking this when you are so dead set against spanking as you spoke of in the other thread.

Tania - posted on 07/01/2011

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Audrey...just curious What would be deserving of a spanking under the age of 2? I know I have to say things to my little guy 10 plus times a day but I don't think that warrents a "swat". Just asking BTW.

Audrey - posted on 07/01/2011

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my kids were about 18 months when they started getting swatted and yes it worked and yes it got the point across. we still spank cuz they still need it. my son is 3 and my daughter 21m. son needs it less often the older he gets, and most of the time all i have to do with my daughter is look at her sideways and she gets upset so we dont need to swat her that often. im sure as she gets closer to 2 and after she turns 2 she will need it more. and its not like thats our only form of discipline, we just dont put up with a lot of b.s. in our house.

Sylvia - posted on 06/30/2011

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Well, personally I'd say never :P. But I *certainly* think that 1 is *way* too young. Also, here in Canada, as a number of others have mentioned, it would be illegal.

And also I think hitting a child (in this case, baby) to teach him/her not to hit is ... just really really messed up.

Tara - posted on 06/30/2011

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I agree that name calling and verbally abusing your children can be a lot worse than a swat on the arse.

But... I don't think either way is a productive way to parent.

And I think both have consequences but I will say that between a parent who spanks the odd occasion and one who verbally humiliates their children or berates them all the time.

I pick the odd spanker.

Verbal wounds leave deep scars.

[deleted account]

"I remember just as many times I WISHED she would hit me cause the look of disappointment was far worse"



Sometimes I wished my dad would have spanked me too. The verbal beatings and name calling were way worse.



I don't spank my kid either, and I'm just saying that sometimes people are too flippant about the whole issue.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 06/30/2011

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sorry, don't know how so many people got Elizabeths post wrong. First time I read it I saw this -

and a few months ago, I told her that binding her breasts was a spanking offense

offencse = a thing that constitues a violation of what is judged to be right or natural

so she deemed her daughters decision to bind her breasts a violation of being right or natural and therefore worthy of spanking. pretty straight forward to me

and then the troll/fetishist comment threw me overboard

so I had to be the one to jump on the bandwagon of her defense because no one else seemed to understand her sentence

but I'm glad to see you guys came around :) yay

Isobel - posted on 06/30/2011

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I remember just as many times I WISHED she would hit me cause the look of disappointment was far worse.

And I DO remember the TWO spankings I got in my life, and yeah...there are TWO things that I STILL try my very best not to do because I know just how seriously my mother takes them.

I don't spank my kids...I'm just sayin'...I think we all over-react some times.

Jen - posted on 06/30/2011

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Never! Do you remember being a kid? After the first time I got spanked I asked to talk with my dad and we renegotiated the issue so that i would have time outs instead. Kids naturally want to have a good relationship with you, please you etc. You'd be amazing with what ignoring them/ silent treatment/ I'm hurt will do.

Isobel - posted on 06/30/2011

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for the record though...i DO smack my hubby on the arm when he's said something he wasn't supposed to...or kick him under the table.

yup...I do.

[deleted account]

My friend has a severely developmentally delayed younger sister. When I first met her, she was 17yo, but her mind was that of a 1yo.



Would you spank her when she "misbehaved"? No, it would be ludicrous! (And abuse of a disabled person.)



So why is it OK to spank a person with the same-aged mind, but only 1/5 of her size?



I swear there are people who wouldn't dream of smacking their dog, but don't mind spanking their children.

Stifler's - posted on 06/29/2011

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I agree with Tara, isn't the point of spanking to hurt them so they know if they do something wrong they will get their butt hurt? Else what is the point?

Tara - posted on 06/29/2011

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I still do not understand why spank. You claim you do not do this in order to inflict pain and that your child will tell you that in fact you did not hurt him. So why do it at all? Is the invasion of his space the punishment?
Is it a way to show that you are bigger than he is and ultimately you *could* hurt him if so inclined?
I just don't get it.
If other things work and spanking doesn't do anything but make them question you why spank?

Peggy - posted on 06/29/2011

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NO spanking is not meant to hurt.. my kids screamed bloody murder when they were being put into time out.. was that hurting them?.. NO.. a swat on the bottom didn't hurt them either. May have hurt their feelings but so did time out or telling them they disappointed mommy. I find it absurd that there are people who feel that if you spank your child they are fearful of you the same as absurd it is to say if you dont spank then you are raising disrespectful children without any guidelines. I have 2 very smart, kind, loving, confident, happy kids ages 16 and 8 who are in a loving home. There have been times they have even come to us when something has happened and told us.. would a child who lives in fear do that?.. No, most would try to cover it up or hope a parent didnt find out as to be in fear of being punished. I have spanked, not to inflict pain or fear but discipline on an action that had been repeatedly corrected or when they were old enough to know better. And yes, there were times they would look at me after and say "that didn't hurt". I would explain I wasn't trying to hurt them but that when mommy says something she means it or that they knew what they did was not okay. I would give them the "look" and say "does Mommy need to spank?" their response would be "no"...there were times they would say "yes" and I would explain "no I didnt need to spank, that they needed to make the right choice" It eventually got to where all I had to do is give the look. I cant tell you the last time I have had to discipline my kids. They have learned between right and wrong. Does that mean they never need to be corrected?.. no, children will be children and make mistakes. They do not have the mentality of an adult to truly understand all situations.

Minnie - posted on 06/29/2011

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NIchole, I'm on another forum and I see spanking fetish posts every day. And that sounded a lot like them. They aren't situations that actually happen, but people who post to get a rise out of readers.



I apologize that my insinuation was offensive, Elizabeth- frankly, I did not believe that the situation was real at all, but a contrived story just like the ones I see everyday elsewhere.

Tara - posted on 06/29/2011

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Elizabeth I'm glad you clarified for us.
I did not think that you had beat her until her she was bruised, I read that you spanked her because she bound her breasts.
I congratulate you on your desire to never spank your son. I admire your willingness to learn different and more productive ways to discipline your children.
Good Luck and feel free to visit http://www.circleofmoms.com/positive-beh... for ideas and solutions.

:)

[deleted account]

Kudos to you, Elizabeth, for making changes. I think a lot of us misunderstood your original post so I'm glad you clarified things.

Elizabeth - posted on 06/29/2011

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I can see the misunderstanding about the bruises when taken without the context of the rest of the post.

I have another little one to prepare for the day he leaves the nest and I hope that I will be able to say that I never spanked him rather than like his big sis saying I spanked her 4 times. Two of those times I regretted and have learned from them. As I've said the other two where safety issues and nothing else I had done was working and I had been trying for months and I needed results fast. I believe in those two incidences that I did what I had to do to keep her safe when I was not there to protect her. Perhaps if I had others to get advice from rather than multiple books, I would have done something different. Perhaps I would have done the same. I really don't know.

What I do know is that I weighed the pros and cons at great length. What I do know is that if/when the time comes with my son that I am starting to run out of options, I will ask for advice on CoM and hopefully I will be able to go spank free.

Amber - posted on 06/28/2011

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You beat me to it Liz.

The way that post read, it really sounded like you beat her until she was bruised to 1-1/2 months for binding her breasts. There is clarification now and the post reads entirely different, but at that point it sounded bad. And it did kind of sound like something a troll would write to set fire to the thread.
Also-fetish is an obsession, it isn't necessarily a sexual obsession.

[deleted account]

I think Lisa was just trying to be funny. I don't think she seriously thought Elizabeth was a pedo spanking fetishist.

There was more than one person who thought Elizabeth was binding her daughter's breasts and/or beating her to the point of bruises.

Sorry, I shouldn't laugh, but the confusion was horrible... in a funny way.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 06/28/2011

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Lisa Moreau, you just called Elizabeth Elliott a child molestor?!?! Really? That's disgusting and degrading and the most obnoxious and offensive thing I have yet to read on CoM.

fet·ish noun fetishes, plural
An inanimate object worshiped for its supposed magical powers or because it is considered to be inhabited by a spirit
A course of action to which one has an excessive and irrational commitment
A form of sexual desire in which gratification is linked to an abnormal degree to a particular object, item of clothing, part of the body, etc


If that is not offensive and a personal attack, I don't know what is because you said she is a spanking fetishist.. and she spanked her daughter. So you insinuated that she gets off on spanking her daughter?! Wow......... unbelievable. I hope you do apologize to her, that's appalling to call her that. I'd even call it slander. That's just not any old attack......... that is a horrifying accusation you put out there for all to read. Disagree with someone, sure, but don't call them names and degrade every part of their being.

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