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How to Spank a Child Effectively

Updated on November 30, 2008

Discipline Tips: How to Spank a Child Effectively

Internet resources are confusing on how to spank a child effectively. A real parent speaks out and shares what he and his spouse has learned after years of being parents.

Confusing Spanking References

There are confusing spanking references in the Internet.

When I started to write an article on how to spank a child effectively, I checked the Internet for easily available references on spanking. There were two very opposing sides that I noted – one side takes the “no spanking” approach, the other side promotes spanking as an effective means of discipline for children. There is barely any middle ground. Both sides present dozens of years of research by professional pediatricians and how their side is better and how the other side is harmful. Both sides even made references to the Bible in supporting their stand.

A regular parent like me would be confused who to believe. When our first child was 4, my wife and I attended a series of parenting seminars that included spanking as a form of discipline. The speakers were parents of 5 children, who were now all adults. They shared with their audience the principles behind how they disciplined their children. Accordingly, spanking is a means for young children to learn about the consequences of wrong actions and to be trained in respecting and obeying authority. As a form of punishment, the ultimate goal for the spanking is to reduce or correct misbehavior. When done correctly, it will achieve its intended goal.

9 Tips on How to Spank a Child Effectively

From real experience, here're what we found on how to spank children effectively.

I can only share what has worked and continues to work for us. When enforcing spanking as a means of discipline, we keep in mind the following guidelines:

1. SIMPLE RULES. Communicate with children when they will be spanked. For our home, our children know that the following are not tolerated – LYING and DISOBEDIENCE.

2. DO NOT SPANK WHEN ANGRY. This is harmful to both the parent and the child and will not have any positive effect. We learned that if this happens, the child will only know that he is punished because the parent is angry and not because of his misbehavior.

3. DO NOT SPANK WHEN YOU HAVEN’T SPENT TIME WITH YOUR CHILD. If you have been on a business trip or spent late hours in the office and haven’t spent much time with your child in the past 2 or 3 days, leave the spanking to your spouse. This works very well for us because my wife is homeschooling and if I cannot administer the spanking, she can.

4. SPANK ONLY WHEN A RULE HAS BEEN CLEARLY VIOLATED. This will need the wisdom that parents have. Between lying and disobedience, lying is more easily identified. Disobedience is not as clear. For us, we warn our children first that they are starting to disobey and if the warning is not heeded, the spanking comes right after.

5. HAVE A DESIGNATED SPANKING ROOM. When we determine that our child has clearly lied or disobeyed, he is told that he is going to be spanked. He is then led to the designated spanking room where he gets spanked. There is around 2-5 minutes gap between the time he is told that he will be spanked to the time he will get the spanking.

6. EXPLAIN THE SPANKING. At the spanking room before they get spanked, we discuss with our children why they are getting punished. At this time, the child will start to plead not to be spanked. He will normally be crying too. They need to be clear that they are being spanked because they disobeyed or they lied. We tell them that the spanking is for them to remember that lying or disobedience will have negative consequences, whether they are at home or outside.

7. SPANK HARD ENOUGH TO BE REMEMBERED. We spank bare bottom and we use either a belt or a small piece of flat wood. We spank at the lower half of the buttocks and not the sides. Depending on the gravity of the misbehavior, we spank at most 2 times, rarely 3. The spanking should be hard enough to be remembered. The idea is for the child to choose to obey and behave, rather than to be spanked for lying and disobeying.

8. POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT. Before and after the spanking, we affirm with our children who they are to us and why the spanking is necessary. They are reminded that because we love them, we don’t want them to continue on lying and disobeying since if this is done when they grow up, the consequences would be more than just spanking. We let them know that they normally behave way better than their recent misbehavior, and we expect them not to lie or disobey. We hug them after being spanked, and if an apology is required to a parent or a sibling, this is requested from them.

9. IMMEDIATE FORGIVENESS. After the spanking, our children know that they have “paid” for the misbehavior and are forgiven, effective immediately. If they apologized to the offended party, the apology is fully accepted. The child is reintegrated back to the family and family members if needed, are reminded that the spanking is sufficient punishment and that the matter is considered closed.


If done properly, spanking is a very effective discipline tool.

Our oldest is 9 years old and he is very rarely spanked at his age. He is a well behaved child and not just according to our opinion, but also from feedback we get from his teachers and close friends and relatives. He is a good example that if spanking is done effectively, it will produce the right results. Remember that our goal for spanking is to teach and train our children to choose not to misbehave, and if they do choose to misbehave, there is a consequence to it.

We learned these tips on how to spank a child effectively early on, and I hope that any parent seeking direction on this regard will be helped by this post.


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