ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Don't Spank Your Kids

Updated on May 17, 2019

Don't spank your kids.

"But," you say, "Some kids need to be spanked. You don't understand..."

The studies are pretty darn consistent, and they've done a lot. When you spank a kid, the act tends to INCREASE, rather than decrease, the frequency of the kinds of behaviors you are trying to prevent.

Those are just facts. They've run this experiment a zillion times (see links of meta-analyses in the sidebar for samples), and that's just the facts -- no bias, no interpretation. Just bare bones. More spanking tends to result in more "bad" behavior. We've run it, said, "That can't be right," and run it again...and again...and again....around literally hundreds of times in about the past 60 years, and came up with negative results almost every single time. Go ahead. Look it up yourself.

The next question is, "Why?"

The reason presented makes sense: If you teach children that aggression is the way to deal with behavior from people that *you* don't like, children will learn that aggression is the way to deal with behavior from people that *they* don't like.

I mean, think about it. If you step on someone's foot accidentally, and they say, "OW! That really hurt -- please don't do that," how are you likely to respond to someone stepping on YOUR foot a week later? Similarly, right? But if you step on someone's foot accidentally and that person steps on your foot back and punches you in the face, wouldn't you be a tad more likely to act a bit more violently towards the person who stepped on your foot a week later?

Keeping that principle in mind, here's what happens.

Toddler Johnny takes a toy from Toddler Danny. You spank Johnny. Johnny learns that this is the proper response to the situation. OK, so a few days later Susie takes a toy from Johnny. Johnny slaps her angrily and yells, "Mine! Don't take it!" Because he's learned from you that this is the way to deal with the situation. So you take Johnny and spank him for THAT -- reiterating and multiplying the scenarios in Johnny's head in which Johnny thinks it's fine to slap somebody. So Johnny becomes more aggressive, which leads to you becoming more aggressive...and it becomes in your mind a kind of arms race, while in Johnny's mind it's just an attempt to learn how the world works.

"The stronger association between corporal punishment and the aggression composite for boys may also be accounted for by child effects; because boys tend to exhibit aggression more than girls, they may also elicit more corporal punishment from parents than do girls. However...boys in general tend to receive more corporal punishment than girls. Taken together, these findings constitute a chicken-and-egg problem: Are boys spanked more because they are aggressive, or are they more aggressive because they are spanked more?" (Page 550)

What happens for many parents is that they think the child is "sinful" and they have to spank the sinfulness out of them, which turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy and vicious cycle in which the parent teaches the child aggression and then punishes the child for aggression by USING aggression, thus teaching the child aggression...etc. Although genetics do indeed play a part in aggression levels in kids, this practice of using aggression to punish aggression may be a major reason why you might think Johnny needs more spankings than Suzy -- Johnny gets spanked more and buys into the aggression you taught him, thus making it so that he needs more spankings. Suzy may need less spankings not because she is a better kid, but simply because she was not spanked as often earlier and is mirroring the less aggressive discipline techniques you taught her.

Now, the good news is that the earlier you end the spanking, the better. If you end the spankings around the time the child is 2 or 3, the child may recover, for the most part, or even completely (although there is a high likelihood that there will still be negative effects).

"But," you may say, "Johnny acts better when I spank him."

Well, of course he acts better right after you spank him, just as you are unlikely to step on the person's foot right after you get the shit kicked out of you. So it works in the short term. But as soon as he is in a position where he can copy your violence, will he?

Well, turns out they did studies on this, too. And people who got spanked were more likely to be violent towards their spouses and kids when they got older than those who didn't. Which makes disturbingly perfect sense.

"But I got spanked, and I turned out alright. Johnny should be raised the way I was so he can turn out alright, too."

Ummmmm...with all due respect, maybe you didn't. Maybe you're the grown up version of Johnny and you don't know how to resolve situations you don't like without violence, because that's how you were raised and it's what you know. Maybe you're taking out the aggression you learned in the way you were raised on your kid, and maybe how you turned out isn't what you're shooting for with Johnny.

Maybe spanking your kid is about your problems more than it's about Johnny's problems...but it will be about Johnny's problems if he grows up and continues the cycle on your grandchildren.

So I'm not saying you're a bad person. Maybe you need help. Maybe you need to open up to someone skilled in discussing these matters (like a licensed therapist). Not for yourself, but for your kid and your grandkid and so on. It could make a difference...it WILL make a difference, either way.

But now you know. So what are you going to do?

Don't spank your kids.

Your Feedback Is Appreciated

What were/are your attitudes towards spanking?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Michelle Ascani profile image

      Michelle Ascani 

      5 years ago from Deep in the Heart of Texas

      There is a difference between spanking and beating. Spanking is when a parent has a heart that is breaking because their little child is buying into lies and harming their future. The parent causes a slight sting on the child's skin to gain their attention, and for them to change their ways. AKA discipline. All children do not have the same personality type and do not all require a spanking to change their harmful ways. Beating a child is what happens when a parent is angry at their child and hits them with whatever or where ever to tell the child they are mad at them for doing what they did. Its all a heart matter.

    • profile image

      shamus 

      5 years ago

      Proper relationships must be build ammongst all family members. It includes the wife and children. Thus beating a child will all ways be reactive, instead cultivate preventative nurturing. Spanking a child out of unconditional love has its place, but let's be honest calmly spanking your child is difficult and close to impossible, but intervention must happen from the parents.

      There will always be pros and cons.

    • profile image

      blastoffgirl 

      5 years ago

      We clearly understand, and children ESPECIALLY understand, that a beating with a belt is far different than a smack on the behind. I do not agree with this article at all. One of the reason why I do not is because I have yet to read a study from the other side of the fence: what happens to children who are disciplined using a combination of a spank and time out? In my opinion, I do not think society, or children will become less aggressive should parents do away with a smack on the good old behind. Violence begets violence - yes. But a spank on a 4 year old's bum - and I mean a quick "swat" can have a lasting effective that is positive. How? Classical conditioning. they do in the laboratory with animals ALL THE TIME. And the negative reinforcement these experiments dish out are not beatings with a baseball bat. An even better example is the use of an "invisible fence" on dogs. The shock is mild, but the association with STAY AWAY and a quick zap is avoidance. Some of you will say "kids aren't dogs" - no they are obviously not! BUT many dogs have the intelligence of about a 3 year old child. Do any of these dogs kill people that come into the home because they can not leave the yard? NO. I do NOT believe that little Susie who was spanked on the bottom for throwing sand in her brother's eyes will become a hit man in the mafia. Absolutely NOT.

    • profile image

      blastoffgirl 

      5 years ago

      I have read many articles like this one, and time and time again I have asked the author to define the term "spanking". I think it is 100% conclusive that beating a child results in incredible PTSD and propagates a life long behavior of violence if therapy is not introduced to unwind the psychological damage done by the perpetrator. HOWEVER, the last time I listened to a child psychologist on this subject, it was on NPR (national public radio) and a caller challenged the "child expert" to clearly define what physical discipline was being studied. The answer was abuse. As in beating. Time and time again child psychologists report these statistics yet do not define what exactly the physical abuse entails.

    • profile image

      Monique 

      5 years ago

      Then raise your child. Raise your child how you see fit but know spanking is NOT discipline it it the punishment. Period! How do you calmy spank a child! You don't, you spank because you don't have any other disciplinary tools and that's all you know.

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      barrierbreaker 

      5 years ago

      That is why I included the YouTube video -- but yes, no guarantee they will see it.

    • profile image

      Katy 

      5 years ago

      I completely agree with not spanking. There is one step missing here however. Even if you do convince people to stop spanking, once they stop spanking, there will be a void that will have to be filled by something else. Otherwise, the parent will keep seeing more misbehaviour and revert to spanking. For example, once a parent stops spanking, they will have to do something else instead - like explaining to the child what they did wrong and what the child should do instead.

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      barrierbreaker 

      5 years ago

      I was speaking to the person who wrote the post -- even if he doesn't agree with some of the content, working towards kids being beat less is, hopefully, in his eyes, a worthwhile goal. I also never said that there is no difference between different kinds of spankings.

      Scott, nowhere did I say that spanking was the only reason for undesirable behavior by kids. That is straw man of the actual post. My point was that it is A reason for this behavior according to many studies, even when you control for many variables, and there are alternatives to raising children that do not require hitting your child.

    • profile image

      Scott 

      5 years ago

      Anyone who is against spanking could come out and write this article. You show which side of the fence that you are on and have been on in your last comment....

      "....Working towards kids getting beat less"

      Beat? So there is no difference between being smacked and sent across the room and completely losing your composure while hitting your child, and calmly giving them a smack on their behind and explaining why they are receiving the spanking? I'm sorry but all kids are different and it's in the parents who raise their children to decide HOW to raise them.

      Maybe your kid is a rotten shit because you pump him or her full of candy and soda? Maybe it's because you let him or her watch tv that shouldn't be viewed by a small child? There is no way to pinpoint spanking as a root cause in bad behavior.

      When I was a small child, I associated bad behavior and doing things that I wasn't supposed to with a spanking. After which, my father would come in my room after I had stopped crying and explain to me WHY he had to spank me.

      My point is that there are so many reasons that kids are little shits today and I absolutely do not believe it is spanking. If anything it is LAZINESS OF PARENTS WHO DONT PAY ATTENTION TO OR GIVE THEIR KIDS THE ATTENTION THEY NEED.

      My .02 anyways

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      barrierbreaker 

      5 years ago

      "Lost [my] [expletive]" with this "not professionally written" statement?

      "So I'm not saying you're a bad person. Maybe you need help. Maybe you need to open up to someone skilled in discussing these matters (like a licensed therapist). Not for yourself, but for your kid and your grandkid and so on. It could make a difference...it WILL make a difference, either way.

      But now you know. So what are you going to do?

      Don't spank your kids."

      That's aggressive in a way analogous to spanking your kid? I respectfully disagree with your assessment.

      But even if it was -- that's a red herring. I'm more interested in whether you think what was written was wrong than whether you think it was "professional" enough. I don't really care about being professional as much as I care about accuracy and being one person working towards kids being beat less.

      (By the way, it's "it's not professionally written.")

    • profile image

      kenneth 

      5 years ago

      The message from this article makes sense, but its not professionally written. You kinda lost your shit at the end...You're trying to indicate that violence is not the way....but doing so by typing in an aggressive manner. Ironic...

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 

      5 years ago from Los Angeles

      You've made good sense here with regard to learning aggression and developing knee-jerk reactions. I grew up in the 50s when spanking was a normal punishment for bad behavior. In my family, spanking or fanny-strapping w/ a belt were not done at the time when my parents were angry at my behavior. I was usually sent to my room- probably so my mom could calm down. If I was disrespectful and talked back, I had my mouth washed out w/ soap. It was only once or twice I had to be spanked, and it was for destruction of property or something w/ more serious consequences. I was warned in advance that I would be punished this way, and the fear of it was just as bad. In my case, it was a very effective way of correcting bad behavior. I did not spank my child. I sent her to her room also or withheld privileges.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)