Five Reasons Why Spanking Your Kids is Usually a Bad Idea

"Sint Nikolaas Vertellingen Voor de Jeugd" C. vanSchaick (1849) If even Santa Claus takes a switch to a naughty child, can spanking be that bad?
"Sint Nikolaas Vertellingen Voor de Jeugd" C. vanSchaick (1849) If even Santa Claus takes a switch to a naughty child, can spanking be that bad? | Source

There’s still quite a controversy about whether parents should spank their kids or not. Most psychologists have weighed in on the side of not spanking, but there are still many who seem to think it’s not that big a deal. The rhetoric among lay people, however, can get pretty heated. The pro-spanking crowd tends to look down on parents who don’t spank as milquetoasts whose wimpy, undisciplined kids will be in for a rude awakening when they go out into the real world. The anti-spanking crowd tends to look down on parents who do spank as thoughtless Neanderthals whose kids are destined to become violent criminals or animal abusers or worse. Neither of these extreme views is worth anything, of course. But while I don’t think occasionally spanking your child when he really messes up is going to do any lasting harm, it’s usually not a great idea. Here’s why.

"Street Scene," Giorgio Conrad (1827-1889) People used to spank their kids in public.
"Street Scene," Giorgio Conrad (1827-1889) People used to spank their kids in public. | Source

It’s Often Hypocritical

When you’re eight years old, you might not really understand what hypocrisy is, but when your father catches you fighting with your little brother, says “Pick on someone your own size,” and turns you over his knee for a few good swats, you’re probably going to notice a bit of a disconnect between what your 200-pound dad is saying, and what he’s doing to your 80-pound self. Pro-spanking parents will point out that there’s a difference between a big kid beating up a smaller kid in anger and a parent using a spanking to correct his child’s behavior. And they’re absolutely correct! But there’s also a problem with this argument. Just like an 8-year-old might not fully understand what hypocrisy is, he’s also probably not going to see the distinction between him hitting his little brother and his much larger father hitting him. The verbal lesson is that bigger people shouldn’t hit smaller people, but the physical lesson is that it’s okay for a bigger person to hit a smaller person. The 8-year-old will instinctively feel that there’s an injustice there, somewhere, and this injustice will probably rankle. You don’t have to know what hypocrisy is to instinctively feel there’s something wrong with, “Don’t hit your brother!” >smack!<

There’s a Difference Between “Discipline” and “Punishment”

A lot of people decry the trend away from spanking, saying that terrible things will happen to the world if we refuse to discipline our children. Well, they’re half-right and mostly wrong.

They’re right that children need to be disciplined. In fact, children want to be disciplined. They instinctively want to know what their limits are—that’s why they’re constantly testing those limits. Parents who instill discipline start by teaching their kids what their limits are, and why those limits exist. If parents stopped disciplining their children, their children would grow up very confused, and unable to succeed in the world.

They’re mostly wrong in that they confuse “discipline “ with “punishment,” and in assuming that “punishment” necessarily means “spanking.”

There are ways parents can correct their children’s behavior that do not involve a punishment of any kind. Sometimes, all you need to do is remind your kids that they should be polite, and they’ll remember to say please and thank you and stop chewing with their mouths open. Sometimes, though, the kids need an unpleasant consequence to make the lesson stick. It can be anything from no dessert (You said the dinner I made you was yucky, and that was rude, so you won’t get any ice cream tonight.) to loss of a privilege (I told you to be back in an hour, and you stayed out for two hours, made us worry, and were late for dinner. You won’t get to go riding your bike for the rest of the week.) to confiscation of a favorite toy (I asked you to get ready for bed, but you ignored me and kept playing with your Legos. So I’m taking your Legos away for a while. Now go brush your teeth.) Note that the consequences in these examples have something to do with what the child did that was wrong. It wouldn’t make sense to take the child’s Legos away because she stayed out riding her bike too long, would it? Note also that the parent told the kid what it was that they did wrong. Parents should also tell their kids why the behavior was wrong, preferably when everybody has had a chance to calm down.

In the examples above, if the parent had simply said “No dessert for you,” or “You’re grounded for a week,” or “I’m taking away your Legos; go brush your teeth,” the child would probably have asked, “What did I do?” Punishments of one kind or another (including spanking) can be used to instill discipline, but punishment alone won’t do the job. Parents also need to let their children know that there are reasons to do the right thing that have nothing to do with getting caught doing the wrong thing and being punished for it. A child who is well-disciplined will make good choices even when there is no risk of punishment.

It’s Often Only Done in Private

Many—not all, but many—parents who do spank their kids only do it behind closed doors. There are many possible reasons for this. One of them might be that most people seem to think spanking isn’t such a good idea. Whatever the reason, parents who do spank their kids often don’t want to do it in front of others. This by itself is not necessarily a problem. There are a lot of things that we do in private even though there’s no reason to be ashamed of them. We don’t usually change our underwear in front of others, for example. The problem comes when a parent is willing to spank his or her child at home when only the family is present, but not in public or at home in front of guests. Young children probably won’t be able to put their thoughts about this into words, but they’ll notice. They’ll see that when only the family is present, a given misbehavior is worth a spanking, but when others are present, the same bad behavior only gets a verbal rebuke, or maybe a whispered warning about how the kid is going to “get it” later (and the promised “it” may never come if it slips the parent’s mind). The inconsistency will be confusing. Further, the more time that passes between the kid’s bad behavior and the punishment, the less of a connection the kid will make between them. The kid, if only subconsciously, will learn that there’s something about spanking that must be kept secret from others—that his parents are not proud of the fact that they use spanking as a punishment. This will be confusing for the child. He may wonder, “If it’s okay to punish me for doing something bad when nobody’s around, why isn’t it okay to punish me for doing something bad when people are watching?” There’s really no good answer to this question. This is why, as I’ve said elsewhere, if you’re going to use spanking to correct your kids’ behavior at home, you’d better be willing to spank your kids in front of the neighbors. By the same token, if you’re not willing to spank your kids in front of the neighbors, you probably shouldn’t be spanking your kids at home.

It Often Becomes a Catch-All Punishment

Spanking can seem like an attractive disciplinary tool because it’s quick and convenient. A time-out takes, well, time. Taking away a possession or a privilege requires the presence of a possession or a privilege to take away. If you’re on a road trip and the kid is stuck in the car anyway, you can’t really ground her, and a time-out when the family is in a hurry can punish the parents as well as the child. A quick swat can seem like just the thing to let the kid know she messed up and shouldn’t do that again. But then, the quick swat might come a little quicker when you’re trying to get dinner on the table or change the baby’s diaper or are otherwise distracted and can’t be bothered to come up with a punishment that fits the crime. If you’re not careful, little misbehaviors that once only warranted a stern word can start to look spank-worthy. Pretty soon it will become harder to come up with fitting punishments that don’t involve spanking, and if you’re not willing to spank your children in front of company (see above), you will find yourself unable to meaningfully correct your kids’ behavior at all except in private. This will be confusing for the children and frustrating for you.

It Can Get Out of Hand

If spanking is the default punishment, how do you let the kid know when he really screwed up? More swats? Harder swats? How do you decide? If the kid makes a rude comment about his vegetables and refuses to eat them, is that worth two swats? Suppose she throws her vegetables across the room? Is that worth five swats? If a six-year-old throws her vegetables, does she get the same number of swats as a twelve-year-old who throws his? And how hard do you spank your kid if you find out he vandalized a public building? Bear in mind that all of these rhetorical questions assume you’re not losing your temper at all when you’re spanking your child.

Face it, fellow parents: sometimes our kids make us mad. It can be easy for us to lose our temper when dealing with a misbehaving child. Sometimes, we’re upset about other stuff—a bad day at work, lousy traffic coming home, an argument with our spouse, whatever—and the kid does something he knows he shouldn’t. It’s a little thing, but that’s the thing that makes us lose it. Sometimes we yell. Sometimes we give punishments that are way out of proportion to whatever the kid did wrong. Later, when we’ve calmed down, we’re faced with a choice: do we leave the unreasonable punishment in place, or do we substitute a more reasonable one? When the punishment is something like no more TV for a week, we can say, “You know what, Sweetie? I’ve thought about it, and no TV for a week is a bit too harsh for what you did. But what you did was still wrong. So instead, it’ll be no TV for the rest of the day.” If you lost your temper and gave your kid an over-the-top spanking, however, there’s no taking that back.

If you use spanking as your go-to punishment, and you also don’t spank in front of company, you are setting yourself up to be frustrated and angry with your kid when he misbehaves in front of company and you find yourself unable to correct his bad behavior. Further, if spanking is your only tool, and your kid just decides to be rebellious, you may find yourself hitting your kid more and more times, and harder, when he keeps acting out and you get more and more angry with him. If you’re not careful, you may find yourself crossing the line between a spanking and a beating. You won’t want to admit it if you do cross that line; nobody wants to see themselves as a child abuser. But understand this: just because you only use your bare hand and only smack your kid’s bottom, that doesn’t mean that what you’re doing can never become abuse. If, Heaven forbid, you ever do cross that line, you can decide to never cross it again, but you can never un-cross it.

Just because it's "traditional" doesn't mean it's a good idea.....

________________________"It's tradition; that makes it okay..."________________________

It Can Teach the Wrong Lesson

A quick swat on the bottom can tell a two-year-old that it’s not okay to run into the street. A few swats with the kid across your lap can tell a seven-year-old that he’s really messed up. But once your kid gets to be a little older, he’ll start wondering why it’s okay for you to hit him but it’s not okay for him to hit other people. If you aren’t careful to explain the difference between violence done in anger and a dispassionate spanking done to correct bad behavior—and if you don’t make darn sure that there really is a difference—you will teach your kid that if you have power, it’s okay to hit people who don’t, but if you don’t have power, people can hit you and there’s not much you can do about it. You might not teach the kid why he shouldn’t do things you don’t want him to do, but you will surely teach him what will happen if he gets caught.

Your goals as a parent should include teaching your kids the difference between right and wrong. This means that by the time they’re young adults, they should know that there’s a better reason for telling the truth than the punishment they’ll get if they (get caught in a) lie. They should know that there’s a better reason not to steal or cheat than the punishment that they’ll get if they get caught stealing or cheating. We can argue about the moral difference between someone who doesn’t steal because stealing is wrong and someone who doesn’t steal because he’s afraid of being punished for stealing, but that’s not what concerns me.

What concerns me is that in our imperfect world, sometimes people don’t get punished for their crimes, even if they do get caught. Sometimes popular people can get others to cover for them when they do wrong. Sometimes, powerful people can even get rewarded for doing wrong. If your kids learn that the main reason not to misbehave is that they’ll be punished if they do, then they’ll be much more likely to lie, cheat, or steal if they think they can get away with it. Without people who do what’s right because it’s the right thing to do, and who refuse to do wrong even if they probably won’t get caught, our society wouldn’t be a very nice place to live.

"Karikatur Die unartigen Kinder" Anon. (1849) Of these traditional punishments from olden times, only spanking has any proponents today.
"Karikatur Die unartigen Kinder" Anon. (1849) Of these traditional punishments from olden times, only spanking has any proponents today. | Source

Thoughtless Not-Spanking Isn’t Much Better

Merely “not spanking” your kids won’t magically make them grow up into good adults. Any punishment, not just spanking, can be done badly. All you need to do is think about your short term goal (making the kids do what you want right now) and not the long term goal (raising your kids to be responsible, honest, independent adults). You can raise a confused, resentful, deceitful thief even if you never lay a hand on him. You can raise an honest upstanding citizen even if you do smack her bottom when she messes up. But it’s much, much easier for spanking to teach the wrong lessons, breed resentment or confusion, or transform from punishment into abuse, especially if it’s done in anger. Finally, parents are not perfect, and shouldn’t pretend to be. Sometimes we overreact. When we realize that we’ve overreacted, we can return our children’s favorite toys, restore our children’s privileges, or un-ground our children. But we can never un-spank them.

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Comments 29 comments

fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 3 years ago from Southern California

Very interesting hub. I can't say very much in the way of comments on your point of view, because I was a spanker, when my children were small. I can say that I didn't raise criminals, and my children seem to love, respect, and appreciate me and my ex-husband, who was a stricter disciplinarian that I was. So I will just say I appreciate the research that went into this hub, which is very well written.

Voted up, interesting.


Jeff Berndt profile image

Jeff Berndt 3 years ago from Southeast Michigan Author

Hi, Fastfreta, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

You make a good point when you say that you used spanking as a punishment when your kids were small. When kids are very young is probably when spanking is most effective, mainly because very young kids don't have the language skills to understand why they did something wrong.

I'd guess that as your kids got older, and better able to understand the concept of right and wrong, you substituted other punishments that worked better than spanking?

Thanks for the kind words!


Marquis profile image

Marquis 3 years ago from Ann Arbor, MI

Spanking worked for my grandmother, mother and will for me. Kids are bad and deserve it.


Jeff Berndt profile image

Jeff Berndt 3 years ago from Southeast Michigan Author

Wow. "Kids are bad?" Really? If you believe this, I hope you don't actually have children of your own.


Marquis profile image

Marquis 3 years ago from Ann Arbor, MI

Maybe you live over a rainbow, but not all kids are good kids. Hoping I do not actually have kids has nothing to do with it.

Have you stayed in the projects? Do you live in the worst part of town? I would advise you to have kids, raise them in single-family homes and around "bad influences." Until then, reserve your lousy comment.


Marquis profile image

Marquis 3 years ago from Ann Arbor, MI

Kids are bad and deserve it.


Jeff Berndt profile image

Jeff Berndt 3 years ago from Southeast Michigan Author

Your "Kids are bad" comments make you sound like someone badly in need of counseling, Marquis. I don't know if you have children of your own, but I sincerely hope you don't, since you think that kids are inherently bad and deserve to be hit.

If you do have kids, I suggest you get some counseling before you hurt one of them. You need to get past whatever is driving these bad feelings toward kids, because its /your/ issue to deal with, and you shouldn't take it out on some kid who has nothing to do with whatever happened to make you feel this way.


Marquis profile image

Marquis 3 years ago from Ann Arbor, MI

I was worse than they were. You know I tried to burn down my unty's kitchen. Can you guess what my mother did to me when we got home?

She put that belt on my behind. That is what she did. See, I was what you would call a runner. I would run from my mother and she would catch up and whip me some more.

Jeff, like I said before, where YOU live and grew up does not mean other people grew up where you were or dealt with children in the same manner. As far as I am concerned, I could and would have gotten away with everything with you. See, I did not talk back to my mother or father at ages 7-14. Saying smart things would get me a slap down.

I agree fully with corporal punishment, especially if you have kids that are bad. You don't. I was one step away from reform school and juvenile detention.


Jeff Berndt profile image

Jeff Berndt 3 years ago from Southeast Michigan Author

"As far as I am concerned, I could and would have gotten away with everything with you."

That's where you're wrong. My kids test the limits, and they absolutely do not get away with doing wrong. Don't mistake gentleness for weakness. Also, don't mistake an adult's eagerness to slap a kid around for strength. It's quite the opposite.

Now this is not to say that corporal punishment is always wrong. It's not. Sometimes (rarely, in my view) it's what's needed.

It's not always wrong to use corporal punishment. But it's wrong to always use corporal punishment. See the distinction?


Marquis profile image

Marquis 3 years ago from Ann Arbor, MI

Are you familiar with getting spankings from the neighbors?

See if you were bad at school, you would get paddled by the teacher. The teacher would call a neighbor and then you would get it again. By the time mama or daddy comes home, you will get it from one of them as well.

Three strikes, as we use to call it.


Jeff Berndt profile image

Jeff Berndt 3 years ago from Southeast Michigan Author

Interesting. I'd call the first two incidents "battery."

While I would certainly hold my kids accountable at home for misbehavior at school (which is important for any parent to do), if a teacher or neighbor would ever presume to lay violent hands on one of my children, I would certainly hold that adult accountable as well.


Marquis profile image

Marquis 3 years ago from Ann Arbor, MI

Well, I am from a different region and different era. My grandparents and father were from the South. Spankings kept children in line. You never talked back to your elders either.


Marquis profile image

Marquis 3 years ago from Ann Arbor, MI

You erased two of my comments so far. This will be the last time I give a reply.

I agree with corporal punishment. Maybe you were raised differently, but so was I. My grandmother, my grandparents all did what they had to do concerning discipline. Corporal punishment is discipline.

My sister even spanked her daughter a few times. Do you think I said anything concerning her actions?

Back in the day, we did not call anything battery concerning discipline. Battery is what law enforcement uses. Neighbors were making sure they did their part in discipling the children. That is what we need now. Society is screwed up because children are no longer disciplined the correct way anymore.

People like you are the problem, not the solution.

Bye -


Jeff Berndt profile image

Jeff Berndt 3 years ago from Southeast Michigan Author

"You erased two of my comments so far."

I have erased none of your comments. Apparently your parents, teachers, neighbors, etc. couldn't beat a sense of honesty into you. Maybe if they'd tried to teach you right from wrong, instead of how to obey under threat of violence, you wouldn't be lying now?

"This will be the last time I give a reply."

Promise?

"Corporal punishment is discipline."

No. Corporal punishment is punishment. Discipline is not punishment. Punishment (corporal or otherwise) can be used to instill a sense of discipline, but punishment by itself is just punishment. If you think punishment=discipline, then you're wrong, and possibly not overly smart.

"Do you think I said anything concerning her actions?"

No. Based on your earlier comments, I doubt you'd say anything--unless maybe you were to ask if you could get to whack the kid a few times yourself.

"Society is screwed up because children are no longer disciplined the correct way anymore."

No. Society is screwed up because too many sick idiots think societal problems can be magically solved by hitting kids.


Tom Koecke profile image

Tom Koecke 3 years ago from Tacoma, Washington

Hi Jeff! Again, a well written and informative article that parents should read to get some perspective on the perils of corporal punishment.

I did use corporal punishment with my children. You addressed the "stepping off the curb" issue. It is, in my opinion, better to have a very young child associate walking in the road with a swat than it is to try to explain physical dynamics to a toddler.

When my oldest child was about four, she threw a tantrum in a store by lying in the aisle crying and screaming. I stood her up, swatted her, and told her she would ride in the cart if she did it again. Another shopper saw me do it, and told me swatting a child is abuse. I told the other shopper to call the cops if she wished, but the child would be getting another if she continued the behavior. I'm not sure whether it was the swat or the interaction with the other shopper that made Candace believe me, but she behaved well the rest of that trip.

Knowing I was willing to do that prevented an escalating incident years later. My ex told me our daughter threw a tantrum about going to a friend's house after school, so she let her go rather than to have a scene at school. I told my ex I would be picking her up the next day. I went into the classroom after the final bell, and told her to get her things so we could go. She tried the tantrum thing with me in front of her teacher and a couple of kids who were still in the room. I told her that her options were to get her things and come with me, or get a spanking, get her things and come with me. "The only thing I'll negotiate with you is the spanking." Her teacher's mouth dropped, but she got her things and we were able to discuss how to ask a parent to go to a friend's house appropriately.

I think it was because I never spanked my children merely because I was angry, and they knew there were lines they could cross that would get them a swat "where and when they deserved it," I rarely had to resort to corporal punishment with them.

I can not agree with you more that it is not discipline; it is punishment. Discipline is best defined as behaving in such a way that you set a positive example for proper behavior.

You are an amazing writer, Jeff! I so appreciate the information you freely give us!


Jeff Berndt profile image

Jeff Berndt 3 years ago from Southeast Michigan Author

Hi, Tom,

Thanks for the kind words. See, your example is exactly why I'll never say that spanking is always wrong: you've shown that it can be done thoughtfully, with love, and with an eye to instilling a sense of discipline rather than just smacking the kid down because he or she made you mad.

I choose not to spank not because I believe it's always wrong but because I know I have a quick temper. First, I don't want to give an unreasonable punishment that can't be taken back once I've had more time to consider, and second, I know that it can be easy, when angry, to cross the line from punishment to abuse, and I never want to cross it.


Tom Koecke profile image

Tom Koecke 3 years ago from Tacoma, Washington

If I might add some suggestions for those parents that may spank their children:

1. Always with the hand on the butt. Never with a fist or a weapon, and never any place other than the butt.

2. Set the boundaries. "That behavior will get you a swat in the future." If that boundary is crossed, give the child the swat then and there regardless of when and where you are at.

3. Do not spank a child when you are angry. It must be used only to redress the child's behavior, and never to take out your frustrations.

4. Spank the child only once. It is not about the pain that is inflicted. In fact, a spanking should not be painful to the child. It is only about swift and noticeable justice for behavior that crosses a line.

I probably spanked both my children fewer than fifteen times total. My youngest learned well from watching the oldest cross lines. I have never had to spank my granddaughter. She was told once, however, that if she hit her mom in front of me again, that line will have been crossed. Then we talked about it. She still gets angry when mom says she has to do things she doesn't want to do, but she knows, also, that her mom loves her and does not have her do those things just to be mean.


Jeff Berndt profile image

Jeff Berndt 3 years ago from Southeast Michigan Author

Tom, excellent words! Since I've chosen not to do so, I've never bothered to learn how to effectively use spanking as a disciplinary tool, and advice for how to spank effectively and with love was what was missing from this article.

It never occurred to me that one spank only was a viable option--when I was a kid I never saw anyone spanked fewer than three or four times (and sometimes a lot more than that). I also like that you call a belt what it is: a weapon. Finally, this: "In fact, a spanking should not be painful to the child. It is only about swift and noticeable justice for behavior that crosses a line." Yes, absolutely: punishments (corporal or otherwise) are not, or at least shouldn't be, about retribution or causing pain to the child--they should always be about a just consequence for bad behavior.


Tom Koecke profile image

Tom Koecke 3 years ago from Tacoma, Washington

If you never saw a child swatted only once, my guess is that you saw the punishment delivered by parents who used corporal punishment "as a last resort." They waited until they hit the point of frustration and anger to use it, and by then it was more about "beating sense into the kid."

As a father, I'm certain you are aware of how much sense children have. Parents who teach away creativity and exploration do children disservices.

I remember when my best friend and I got into some trouble. His mom made us bake apple pies from scratch. Our punishment was to accomplish something we never would have done otherwise. It was probably one of the most creative forms of punishment I ever received, and to this day I love my friend's mom.

If more parents used creative punishments rather than restrictive punishments, I'd bet there would be a whole lot more well balanced adults coming from the crop.


Jeff Berndt profile image

Jeff Berndt 3 years ago from Southeast Michigan Author

"my guess is that you saw the punishment delivered by parents who used corporal punishment 'as a last resort.'"

Maybe that was true in some cases, but I also saw--and experienced--corporal punishment as the go-to default punishment. Spanking has a lot to recommend itself to un-creative parents: it's quick, it's convenient, it's easy, it requires no deep thought, and it's very effective (in the short term). But in the long term it breeds resentment and sullenness rather than discipline and respect.

"Parents who teach away creativity and exploration do children disservices."

Oh, my goodness yes! That sentence right there could spawn several articles by itself.


Lisa 3 years ago

I'm a mother of seven, and I have two comments on your well-thought-out piece.

Point one: the mere fact that something is done in private with a child, that would not be done in public, does not make it bad. Many times I wait to verbally correct/teach my children in private for two particular reasons, when doing it in public would embarrass them, or when it would make the people around them uncomfortable. I'm not going to tell my preteen to stop monopolizing the conversation right in front of her friends, but I might pull her aside and tell her quietly, for example. Many times good parenting SHOULD be done only in private.

Point two: if you have never been investigated by a Child Protective Services agency, I would suggest you be careful about having a cavalier attitude about it. The lack of accountability they enjoy, and the power they wield, is seriously frightening... as only those of us who have been investigated truly know. You can believe with all your heart that it's OK for you to carefully, rarely, appropriately use corporal punishment, but when the investigator is asking your unreliable 5-yr-old about it, and BELIEVING HIM OVER YOU, it is brought home to you exactly how powerless you are and how horrid the consequences could be. Therefore, some of us choose to spank (carefully, rarely, appropriately) only in private to avoid the anonymous reporting by disapproving onlookers that can open doors to way-over-the-top governmental interference. For you to state that one shouldn't do in private what one is unwilling to do in public (in a parenting sense) shows either careless disregard for, or simple innocence of, the completely inappropriate invasion of privacy that our government sanctions in these matters. Surely you don't believe I should restrict my parenting to only what every stranger approves of... yet that seems to be what you're stating.

I agree with some of your points, but most definitely not this one.


Moc 3 years ago

It's because of people like you that kids are rotten nowadays!


Jeff Berndt profile image

Jeff Berndt 3 years ago from Southeast Michigan Author

I don't hit my kids, and my kids are very well behaved and considerate of others.

I think perhaps that people who think problems can be solved by smacking their kids around are a bigger problem in the world.


Catt 2 years ago

Watch full house!! Why can't every parent be like that so that kid would fuss and do way worse!!


russinserra profile image

russinserra 23 months ago from Indianapolis, In

Wow! Quite a dialogue here. I don't get the "usually" not a good idea. Spanking is either good or bad. Spanking is the easy way to parent. It takes little effort, thought or time on the part of the parent. It definitely has short term effect, but not long term effect. Long term discipline requires the child to internalize right and wrong. Corporal punishment teaches obedience for fear and anger. Spanking is for the lazy parent, not the good parent.


Pixie 17 months ago

No matter how much thought you put into an issue like this, there will be people who stand by spanking who ignore every bit of it. Usually, it's "I was spanked, and I turned out fine!" That's really great for them, but so was I, and it was a horrible experience that did far more harm than good. It wasn't actually effective discipline, it engendered bad feelings between my parents and me, and made my childhood that much more frightening and painful. I get tired of the assumption that if you're against spanking, you obviously couldn't have been, because then you'd *know* it's okay! It's so dismissive of other people's experiences. Even if you believe spanking can be used "properly," if you can't accept the reality that so many parents don't have any clue what they're doing and are being protected by these "I turned out fine" blanket defenses, your view of reality is skewed.


Farawaytree profile image

Farawaytree 15 months ago from California

Great hub - on point!


Flaky Crusted Memories 10 months ago

I believe the only time a child should be spanked is when they have put themselves or someone else in danger. Such as running across a street without looking first when a car is coming. I have raised 2 children and I don't think I spanked either one of them more than 5 times each when they were young. It is an unnecessary form of punishment.


Sparrowlet profile image

Sparrowlet 8 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

Spanking is always wrong. Isn't it always wrong for a co-worker, for example, to hit you? So why would it be different for a defenseless child? There are better ways to discipline, some of which you mentioned, but they take time and effort, which some parents are not willing to bother with. Spanking is lazy on the part of the parent and damaging to the child, not to mention ineffective in the long run. Good hub with lots of examples.

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