Spanking OK?

[deleted account] ( 17 moms have responded )

I have a 22 month old daughter who is extremely strong willed. She is going through a phase right now that is really trying. I am generally able to redirect her or put her in her room for a time out, but sometimes those tactics don't work in getting her to discontinue a behavior. We have started to think about using spanking as a form of discipline. I am not against spanking, I just want some general feed back from moms who have been in this phase before. I know this topic can be controversial, so please be respectful to my decision.


Jodi - posted on 11/16/2010




Kate, in trying to reshape behaviour, rewarding the behaviour that you DO want can be very helpful. Generally if you are trying to discontinue a behaviour, you are after a particular behaviour in its place, so try rewarding the behaviour that you DO want with something you know she will see as a reward. At that age, my daughter LOVED stickers, so I'd give her a sticker.

Generally a child will only continue an undesired behaviour if they are getting some sort of payoff, so if you can work out what that pay off is (why they are behaving in that way) it can sometimes be helpful in putting a stop to it.

Laura - posted on 11/17/2010




"To spank, or not to spank, that is the question..."

I spanked my daughter exactly twice in her life when she was little and both times were neccessary, IMO, to get her attention to make a point. Neither time was hard, just a quick swat on the rear, but it did work! These were judicious uses of that technique and not a random strike out of anger. Spanking is still a legal technique of discipline so it IS an option. Never, ever spank out of anger either! Anger is the mechanism that often turns a disciplinary spanking into a beating and child abuse. It is the anger behind a spanking that makes this such a controversial subject IMO.

I believe that spanking should only be used as a very last resort and only to grab a child's attention is situations where their life would be in jeopardy. The one spanking my daughter received was for running into a street with traffic coming! What would hurt more--a swat on the butt to really get her attention that you don't run into the street ever, or getting hit by a car? I have no regrets or guilt by using this method given the situation at hand. I can tell you that the spanking had it's desired effect (along with communication)--she always looked both ways before attempting to cross the street after that!

With all of that said, I PREFER using redirection, time-outs, and loss of priveleges for the day-to-day discipline. These ARE very effective techniques, even with stubborn or strong-willed children. Your best parenting tools for this type of disciplinary practice is Patience and Consistency! If you are consistent in your expectations and follow-through, then she will eventually get the message.

At 22 months, redirection works well, especially if you couple it with good communication and a postive, prefered behavior. Communication is an important tool to use here; I confess to using the dreaded "N-O" word, which I view as simply being realistic and practical IMO. It's a short, attention-grabbing word that is rather versatile. Used in a calm, quiet voice it is excellent in describing negative behaviors like "no pinching" as you redirect the behavior to something more positive such as "give hugs!" This word, if commanded forcefully (shouted) can be finger-saving to a toddler as in "NO! Fingers mustn't go in the fan!" Not everything in life can be spun in a positive way and using "no" thoughtfully and judiciously simply adds another tool in the communication box.

Time-outs, like what you're already doing, should still be used. I suggest that instead of putting her in her room, you use a chair or, as someone else suggested, a step/stair for the actual time-out. Her room should be for sleeping, not connected with a punishment/consequence. Make the time-outs very brief: The rule-of-thumb for time is approximately 1 minute for each year of the child. With my daughter, if she were crying or upset, she was in time-out until she stopped (which added time sometimes) so that way I could talk to her about why she was in time-out afterward. Again, communicating consistently your expectations for behavior is very important.

I understand that this all seems very repetative, but that is what it takes to effectively teach children the positive behaviors that we want them to learn. Some may take longer to learn than others but consistency and patience are used in either case.

Oh yeah, the second time I spanked my daughter--she was trying to stick her finger into an electric outlet at someone's home! That was accompanied by a very loud "NO!" as well. I don't think she ever explored outlets again...

Louise - posted on 11/17/2010




I have two adult sons that were spanked and now I am raising a daughter that will not be. I can hand on heart tell you that spanking does not work and it just makes you feel terrible for spanking in the first place. My daughter is 2 and has never been spanked and she is the most stubborn of all my kids. I have recently been getting her to help me tidy up at the end of the day to which she digs her heels in and refuses. I put her on the bottom step for 2 minutes and bring her back in and then i ask her to help if she refuses then back she goes. I sent her back to the step 4 times one night and then 2 the second night and now she tidies up when asked. You just have to be consistant in disciplin and let the child know that you are in control. I have to say this works for me because when I did spank my sons when they were small even though this was not a hard spank I knew it was not right and it just left me feeling like a terrible mum. They were not bothered they just watched thier mum lose it and they still had the control. So I advise you to use the time out and naughty step to keep control of your child, it does take time but it is worth it in the end.

Mom - posted on 11/16/2010




I also had a very strong willed daughter. She was first spanked just before her second birthday. No it wasn't a hard spank at all. It was just enough to totally catch her by surprise. She was then told to stop what she was doing. The she was redirected to something else. She was not spanked hard enough to make cry, but it did get her attention. That was all it took. That was many years ago, and she grew up the best behaved child. I have a friend who has 5 adopted children. Neither he or his wife believe in spanking. They just redirect and try timeout. His kids are some of the biggest BRATS there are. None behave and all talk back. Even strangers in public comment about their behavior. I refuse to take them anywhere with me as I won't tolerate that kind of disrespect from a child.

Alecia - posted on 11/17/2010




i am not against spanking, but will use it only if it was a potentially dangerous thing to do and my child doesnt stop. say, like running out in roads, touching electrical outlets, etc. if u keep up with the time outs they will work, but u also have to give postive reinforcement. my daughter is only 14 mnths, but luckily listens well for a baby of that age. if i ask her to not do something and she listens, i always tell her thank you and say she is such a good girl. i really believe that this enforces the good behavior bcuz u r giving them attention, which is all they really want. if she repeatedly touches the outlets (we have covers on them, but still....) and doesnt listen, i will say no, and move her away. if she does it again i say no more sternly and give a tiny swat on the hand. that almost always works. but i dnt do it too often, bcuz i dnt want her to think that hitting is ok. good luck, and u hope u find something that works for u!

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JuLeah - posted on 04/08/2011




@ Alecia ... I have heard that before. 'I would only use spanking for ... running out into the road ..."
So, your 2 yr old is playing on the sidewalk, and runs off into the road. You spank her.
Okay, so now you have taught her the very important lesson she needs about road safety and you can now feel comfortable going inside to take a shower while she continues to play on the sidewalk.
Of course not. Impluse control, understanding the dangers of cars simply won't happen until she is developmentaly ready and able to understand ... you might as well suggest spanking her until she learns to read.
So what has your spanking for running into the road gotten you?
And, if you had picked her up after she ran into the road and said, "We don't run into the road" and taken her inside or in the back yard and away from the sidewalk where she wanted to play?
Well in both cases she will learn, by age 7, 8, or 9, to stay out of the road. In the second case your respect for her is still in tact, she doesn't fear you, she still knows she is safe with you, and you have not done something that (if done to the neighbors kid) would land you in jail

JuLeah - posted on 04/08/2011




Why would spanking be okay? You are what ... 5 foot 6 maybe and she is ... 2 foot 3? Okay, so someone you love more then life, someone you depend on for all needs, and someone three feet taller ... so, 8 foot three starts to ask you for something you can really understand given your brain works a bit different and you have only ben speaking the language for a year or so. They keep asking. You want more then anything to please them, but lack the skills, lack the tools ... so they hit you. This person is over 8 feet tall and hitting you ... maybe screaming at you. You are helpless to defend yourself, emotionally devestated that the person you love so much would do this ... In my opinion, that is what is wrong with spanking

[deleted account]

People, this was originally posted in NOVEMBER 2010. I'm sure she's found a suitable solution by now. Read dates of posts, before you post. :D

[deleted account]

Have you already made your decision and you're looking for reinforcement? Or are you asking about the use of spanking for this particular age/stage/behavior and wondering if it's appropriate now?
It doesn't really matter what topic you raise on here, there are always people who can make ANYTHING and EVERYTHING about parenting and raising kids controversial. In reality there are rarely right and wrong answers (outside of it is right to love your kids and it is wrong to abuse them, you get my drift...) BUT there are answers that are BEST for every kid and EVERY PARENT. it's that last part that people forget. Good parenting is about being the best possible parent that YOU can be and part of that is knowing your kid and how to best handle situations. OF COURSE it is GREAT to have forums like this where we can solicit feedback and get ideas (especially if our ideas aren't working) and where we can share our own experiences and wisdom because someone out there is helped by it. However, when it comes down to it - we have to do what is best for ourselves and subsequently our kids. At the same time, we have to be able to discern or differentiate the two and make sure that what we think is best for us may actually be a matter of convenience or may not be best for our kids and what is good for one kid in a household may not be good for another.... all of this to say that you know your kid best.... is spanking going to help more her in the right direction or is it just going to be an emotional outlet for you? GENERALLY speaking discipline is AS MUCH about reinforcing positive behaviors/good behaviors as it is about punishing negative behaviors. you used the word redirecting in her original conversation starter and at 22 months that is pretty much all you need to do. If your daughter is doing things that put herself at risk or others at risk then spanking might be exactly what you need to do but you never want the disciplinary tactic to outweigh the behavior you are trying to address. Kids are AMAZINGLY intuitive and they are very very sensitive, especially 22 month old girls. CLEARLY you need to do what is best and since I'm not there I don't know but I would suggest taking a careful survey of why spanking seems like the right decision at this point and make sure it is more about addressing the behavior and less about you being at the end of your rope with frustration. I have an EXTREMELY precocious 32 month old with such a streak of independence and defiance right now (it just started about 4 months ago). She is uber-verbal (talking complete sentences since a year old and potty trained since 19 months, and SUPER SUPER SWEET AND AFFECTIONATE but when she gets really tired or just doesn't get her way she completely loses it and it is PURELY OBNOXIOUS and FRUSTRATING and sometimes I just want to hit the wall (literally) but I usually give myself a time out first and then handle it and we have all kinds of methods that are working great and I could never be a spanker (I don't think) but I have plenty of friends who are and I DO NOT JUDGE them I just hope they are thinking it through completely because a kid will know if your spanking has more to do with your releasing your emotion and losing control and it could foster the development of impulse control as well. Let me add this though - i do think there are occasions when you have to shock a kid.... i've always imagined that a couple of things could make me spank my kids - we live in San Francisco and walk everywhere/ride Muni and if one of my kids ever started running out in the street, i would wear 'em out i think just outta fear and to put the fear in them.... it seems appropriate when it is less important to talk a kid into listening and more important to shock a kid into listening so I guess all this hoopla to say i think it's gotta fit the behavior.

Lindsay - posted on 04/07/2011




Kids will test their boundries, stick with the time out, no hitting.. do you really want your little one to fear you??

Rosie - posted on 11/17/2010




Depending on what it is for, spanking is not a bad thing, I now have a 7 year old daughter who is very stronged willed and I have now had to spank her because she just will not listen anymore. I think a tiny tap on her hand isn't going to cause any long term psycholoically damage, it may just shock her enough to stop. Good Luck, being a parent is hard no matter what you choose to do. I personally think feeling guilty about all the choices you make happen once you give birth....

Nikki - posted on 11/17/2010




Spanking doesn't work, it really isn't a form of discipline, it's a punishment which can be very detrimental. Discipline is about teaching and communication, it's not always easy and it can take time to make it work but the long term benefits far outweigh spanking. Do some research and reading to get new ideas. If you google positive discipline you will find lots of helpful websites. Good luck.

Mom - posted on 11/17/2010




A lot can depend on how long the child has been getting away with the bahaviour. If you don't start while young, you can forget it.

[deleted account]

One of the most frustrating things about being a parent is that there are times when you get tired...OH SO TIRED....of repeating yourself. Sometimes it feels like my whole life revolves around redirect, redirect, redirect. It gets old, I know, but I feel like you should keep at it and not start the spanking. I think if you do decide to spank, for sure 22 months is too young. I've spanked my 3 year old a handful of times over the last year and I regret it. Whatever you decide to do, at least you seem like you're coming at it from an educated position. I just really don't think spanking HAS to be an option. It's my biggest regret as a mother so far. Look at it this way. If you think she's trying now? Wait another year. And then another year after that. They only get more and more trying the older they get. What will you do when the spanking stops working? You'll try to talk to her, right? Why not just talk to her now and keep redirecting? Use the positive reinforcement one of the other girls mentioned. Best of luck to you.

Angie - posted on 11/16/2010




This topic always causes trouble. I hope things stay civil this time.....

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