Is Smacking A Child Acceptable?

cwt edt


I Say this Because..

As a Little’ Un, I was smacked once or twice, (clearly it was soooo devastating that I can’t even remember how many times I was hit!) and in spite of this I think I have turned out relatively okay!

I was hardly a hellish child and my crime was forgetting to bring my swimming cap to the swim baths and getting my hair wet, in spite of valiantly trying to keep it dry. (Damn those dive bombers!)


Earlier on this year, in a similar conversation online, I was told by a young gentleman who sounded like he had swallowed a book thin pamphlet on the psychology of child hitting, that despite my insistence that I had not yet hurt any cats or hit people or ‘gone postal’ as a grown up, that I was in fact deeply and traumatically disturbed and hurting inside and just didn’t know it. This was a bit like telling someone they had an incurable deadly disease however, it would never cause pain, it would not in any way alter their life, hurt them or kill them.


I have to also differentiate between a tap on the hand or bottom administered way after the ‘crime’ by a calm, measured parent and horrific, purposeful and sustained child abuse. There is a difference. Your answers will enlighten me as to whether that difference is still considered unacceptable in today’s world.


So School Me People!

Is smacking a child today ever acceptable?

What say you?



278 thoughts on “Is Smacking A Child Acceptable?

  1. Hello friend,
    Thank you for stopping by my site. I hope you found something interesting to read. I am following you, we have some similar thoughts on life. As a child/teenager abused by both of my parents, I can say spanking/discipline and smacking are different. At 51 years old, I see many kids who are not disciplined or expectations set. I don’t think parents are doing the kids any favors with this approach. My mother beat me in the worst ways, I feel sorry for the person who reads my about page and says that was spanking. I am a firm believer in having rules, responsibility and accountability. I don’t believe a belt to the but or legs is spanking. If a parent feels a spanking is needed, have they implemented above? Children must grow up being respected and respecting their parents. I believe in taking privileges away, again part of letting the kid know what to expect. Kids are not owed unlimited unsupervised time on the internet, all the latest tech gadgets or a cell phone at nine years old. Parents need to be present in the kids life, have an honest relationships with and if punishment is needed, there is no reason to say sorry. Kids loose respect quickly if you’re apologizing for holding them accountable. My grandparents held us to this style of accountability. Yes, my grandparents would say, go get a switch. We knew we had done something wrong and expected however they didn’t hit as hard as they could or more than one time. I went to live with my grandparents at 14 years old. I was a hard to handle drug addict with a torpedo strapped on back going straight to hell. My grandparents taught me from the beginning these principles. I loved and respected them even in my worst times. I didn’t need a spanking after moving in with them. I had very strict rules which were not up for discussion and because of my background kept on a short leash. I understood.
    Have a great weekend.

    1. An excellent response, thank you. As someone who was spanked once (maybe twice? Can’t even remember!) I too know the difference between fear of a parent and respect of a parents decision to take accountability for their role in teaching me right from wrong, however they deem fit.

      I don’t need to delegate to a guy with letters after his name to distinguish between a bad parent and a good parent, or brutal consistent abuse and a deserved spanking.

    1. Thanks jinelleloves. The other day I watched a video where a student slap / punched the face of a teacher who was merely talking to him…hard! I believe he could do this because he believed the teacher to be his equal (or in fact probably slightly lower). Unheard of in my youth.

  2. I love this! I was spanked as a child, but I think the oldest it happened was before kindergarten. And I was never “hurt” – it was more humiliating. I soon realized that I needed to listen to my parents to avoid it, and that’s what happened. I fully intend on spanking my own children (which I do not have yet), so they learn to listen. However, I will not “beat” my child, or make them hurt. I do not believe a slight spanking is abuse, and I do not feel I was abused in any way. There is a difference between physically hurting a child, and teaching them right from wrong. As soon as it involves leaving a mark, or causing a child pain, it becomes abuse.

  3. I had loving, wonderful parents. I was smacked twice as a child: Once after repeated warnings I ignored and ran into a busy street; and, once when I tried to stick my finger into an electrical socket after repeated warnings not to do so. The first was a single smack on my backside and the second was a smack across the back of my hand – not enough to hurt me physically, but I burst into tears and never did it again. Valuable lessons learned after everything else had failed. (Frankly, I believe it upset my dad more than me.) After that, it only took “a look” to get my attention. Now that I am a parent, do I endorse smacking a child or any other person? Of course not — nor do I believe anyone should ever take any action in anger. However, I was not harmed when my father smacked me and to suggest that what he did under the circumstances he did it was abusive in any way would be absurd. He probably saved me from serious injury when other disciplinary measures had not gotten my attention.

  4. Does the child have to belong to you? Because I’ve certainly been around a few children that I would really like to smack or at least swat their little butt. πŸ˜‰ Nah, seriously, I’ve never raised my hand to a child. Peace.

  5. I got the stare too. That was enough for me to behave. In fact, I was probably smacked maybe two or three times in total (that I remember). Each time my parents did it in anger at something I’d done wrong, so there was nothing calm or measured about it. Having said that, I can’t sit here and honestly say that it was child abuse either. I mean, it’s not like they bashed me ten ways from Sunday either. I wasn’t left to bleed to death in a gutter or anything.

    This is not to make light of child abuse. That is a very serious crime. And, yes, crime is not too strong a word there. Children are not punching bags. They are little human beings who deserve as much love and respect as the bigger human beings who should know better.

    1. Lol! THE STARE! They should have schools to train for THE STARE! But yes I think there is (in my mind at least and a few others) a definite divergence with the concept of a smack here and there and abuse. We are indeed the bigger and wiser humans who should know better.

    2. You guys! The reason “the stare” works is you’ve already been trained, during your babyhood and toddlerhood. By the time we’re old enough to remember, we already know what can happen if “the stare” doesn’t do the trick.

  6. I think you’re asking the wrong question. “Is it ever acceptable to smack a child?” Socially acceptable and legally acceptable. Yes, in most places. Slavery was socially acceptable and legal for much of history. Hopefully we can all agree slavery is harmful. Some people find eating eggs and milk unacceptable, but is it always harmful (to the humans who eat them)?

    I wonder if the question you are trying to ask, (based on your story and the guy who swallowed a pamphlet) might be something like, “Is smacking a child always harmful for the child? I don’t think so, but what do you think?”

    1. Oh, I don’t know if I asked the WRONG question…I’ll have to think about that! Your question is an interesting slant that funnily enough I think most people have also answered anyway if you look at the comments.

  7. I would get hit for speaking my mind…then hit again for trying to explain it. My point is, why would you think hitting a child is ok? It just ISN’T. The only reason we would try to instill order in that way is when we feel frustration or rage.

      1. To me doing it after sounds even worse. Parent consciously decides to hit his child! And I do not agree that hey HAD to do it. They decided to do it.

      2. Well, thank you VS. This discussion needed you and Dustin. I was genuinely surprised to find that most people don’t actually agree with you. Let me correct that. Most people…so far…in THIS particular debate…don’t agree completely with you, because I am sure like me they don’t actually want to hit any child.
        But yeah, bring it on. The more angles on this the better.

      3. I’m glad we can have this discussion without shaming and judging anyone πŸ™‚ Hopefully, different opinions will give people a chance to think about this this issue and question in. Why do we do it? How do I feel about it? How does my child feel about it? Are there any alternatives? How will it affect his/hers future? How will it affect our relationship? Where is the line?

      4. Yep. Love a good ol’ debate! It really is a chance to be schooled and consider all viewpoints and hopefully…maybe take something newly learned offline.

        See now THERE’s a good question! I have been thinking about this from my own perspective as a child, but what does a child of TODAY think about it considering they will be exposed to different boundaries and social rules to the ones I had?!

  8. I received a few smacks in my younger day and I am a productive and loving man. I gave my sons a few smacks when they were children and they are productive loving men. I didn’t have to smack them often (but I was the type of child that needed it often). When I HAD to get them, it wasn’t on their head or torso, it was on their behind. I didn’t do it while I was angry and when I did, an explanation came with it and I didn’t carry a grudge.

    Today? They always call me, come see me, ask if I need anything and will run through an army if someone messes with their “Pop”.

  9. I can’t believe that people still raise this question these days… I was never hit – there are plenty of other punishments that works just effectively as violence.. Only with respect and love rather than fear.

    1. Of course people raise it because people still do it. The other thing is that that method worked for you. Do you think it would work with every child? Neither am I suggesting that smacking works with every child.

      1. In my opinion, the person who wants to train their kid like an animal – with violence and fear instead of raising intellectual, independent human being, shouldn’t have children at all. I’m going back to basics and asking how are we different from animals if we cannot use our brain rather than physical punishment? People find ways how to fly to the moon, invent phones, laptops, blenders, sticky notes but can’t figure out how to raise a kid without smacking?! It is easy, selfish and quick way, which doesn’t even fix the problem. It simply covers bad behavior under fear but doesn’t give explanation.

      2. Reading through the comments will reveal a raft of varying experiences, a lot of which have involved some spanking but not involved fear or lack of explanation.
        No human is either black or white with no individual grey shade of experience, which is why one size could not possibly fit all i.e your way and no other suggestion could possibly be right.
        I don’t personally see discipline as either love and respect or medieval bestial torture. Do you? Please tell me you are not serious that these are the only options.

      3. Our judicial system uses punishment, up to imprisonment and death. Is thstvtreating people like animals? I’d argue lockung someone in a cage for years is more personally degrading than a swat on the bottom. Surely there us a role for both punishments as well as rewards in and system of rules?

      4. It’s weird how you do not see imprisonment and child’s abuse (even gentle swat on the bottom) equally wrong… It is absolutely the same thing. Degrading another human being in physical way rather then intellectual. I’m so sad to see how many people are willing to justify themselves instead of thinking a little bit deeper… Because it is “just a tap” means it’s less wrong?

      5. I’m afraid I don’t have answer to your question… In my opinion, we have to change the whole system. Many studies shows that more than half of prisoners, go back to jail for a new crime. We all know that in prison there’s a lot of violence and a high number of crime as well. In poor countries people are kept in horrible conditions and I’m not even mentioning psychological and emotional aspect of this system… Clearly it does not work. It seems like people just think “You committed a crime, I don’t know what to do with you so let’s just lock you so you won’t bother the rest of us”… Right now, everyone is so used to old ways, there’s a high number of work places created and no one really wants to do anything for those people. Same with smacking.. I don’t know what to do, so I’ll smack you to quiet you down. Problem is – IT DOES NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

      6. Maybe it is not a torture but the experience is based on fear. It is not intellectual upbringing. These events stuck in child’s mind and even though it doesn’t seem like a horrible experience it reflects in their decision making in the future. Anxiety, low self esteem, negativity – these are just a few consequences of violence. Shouldn’t we teach kids to separate right from wrong instead of making them guilty for not knowing?

      7. Absolutely agree. But you are assuming (for example just in my case alone) that I didn’t know that I was telling a pork pie about my swimming hat. I knew very well that I had lied and said I wore it when I didn’t.

        Also, most people who know me in person would tell you that I was the most confident person they knew hence I became everyone’s personal lawyer and go-to advocator whether I wanted to be or not! You don’t coach abused women and hold self esteem seminars for girls if you lack your own self esteem now do you?

        So these sweeping statements about the consequence of smacking are simply not true for every child.

        Now, tell me. Do you consider ANY contact with bottoms child abuse? Even the lightest tap? Because it’s not that I don’t agree with what you are saying, I just think it only applies under the context of what I consider to be REAL child abuse. You might consider ANYthing to be child abuse of course.

      8. I guess my issue is not with the actual tap but the way we choose to educate and raise our children. I believe in smarter and more loving way to do that. I was never hit and I do have a good discipline. I do respect people, I do have a good work ethics and I do know the difference between wrong and right. Going back to the smacking, I would rather choose a tap on my hands rather than bottom as it is such a private and sensitive part of your body. To me it seems like abasing the child but not wanting to teach a lesson. Tap on hands grabs the attention and doesn’t humiliate as bottom does. Does that make sense?

      9. Ah ha! I’ve got you to a tap on the hands. I WIN! I WIN! πŸ™‚ I’m jest joshing with yer! Have to say though, I think I got it on the hands and if I remember correctly we did actually get to choose, hand or bottom! Oh dear you won’t like that one!

    2. I am not even close of being convinced that smack on hand is acceptable… I am sorry you had to go through this and I’m sorry that as a child you were put in this horrible position where you had to choose between two equally wrong punishments. Nor child, nor grownup should ever experience this.

      1. Thank you for feeling sorry for someone who feels blessed, grateful and enriched by their upbringing and discipline.

        When I win the lottery I’ll let you know too so you can feel sorry for me then also.

  10. some of these comments really are interesting. Well, to answer the question… I think its fine to get smacked once in awhile.. especially if you deserve it. I’m still a teen right now so my smacking days are right behind me. I understand that it is a controversial topic because how much is too much? Well to answer that question I would say that its the reason, the reason would be the most important thing. If you chose to smack your child… why did you do it? And of course there is going too far, if it becomes a lasting scar then you know reason or no reason you’ve gone too far. I’ve been beaten a lot, and I’m not ashamed to say that it really has made me a better person, I see many parents using the ‘non violent’ method and I really question it, yes it works sometimes because your child may be one of those rare ‘perfect from the start kind of child’ but to those other really stubborn children you really need to show some real discipline.

  11. There is a fine line between what’s acceptable and what’s not. Spanking on the tush a couple times or yelling is far away from smacking or hitting your child.
    I’ve been hit by my father all through my teenage years. At least until I turned 14. When I say hit, I mean hit, punch, slap even some times. He never had an excuse for it. It was his anger being reflected on me. He was basically taking it out on on me for the smallest things around the house and it would go everyday for years. It left huge scars on me because I never knew what I did and I was never satisfying him even if I tried to change. It made me feel unloved and that my father did it on purpose. That there was something wrong with me and I deserved what I was getting. Mind you, as a 10-11 year old.
    It is not acceptable to cripple your child’s mind. It has boundaries. Anything can be solved calmly if the child is raised firmly and right while it’s really young.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that Marija. I would consider this clear cut child abuse which is not the experience I had and was wondering if other folk made the same distinction. I’m surprised to see that quite a few do.

      1. Some would call it abuse as well. To be quite honest, I didn’t experience it as physical abuse as much as mental abuse.
        It’s wrong. But hey, hopefully, kids who have been through such things, know better with their kids. πŸ™‚

    2. unless you’re killed or crippled, it’s actually never the physical aspect of abuse that is the problem, I mean, rarely is it physical symptoms that are the worst of it. It’s mostly the emotional, psychological, etc., sort of damage that is the problem.

      1. Nevertheless. Any kind of crippling, mind or body is not acceptable. Is not healthy to make your child believe you have no reason for your actions and therefore, make them think you do it on purpose. Thats exactly the mental scars that are left on the child.

  12. I may have swallowed the same novel you speak about- or maybe it was my clones annoying echo. Reading through the comments, it is obviously a difficult topic to change opinions, even in the presence of top neuroscience findings, consistent human behavior, facts and empirical evidence. My believe is that if people were to advocate against hitting children, they would then have to look at their upbringing objectively. That is not easy to do. Stating that “I was spanked and I turned out okay” is a pretty basic social response that is not objective. It is fact that hitting children lowers their IQ, causes a 48% rise in the risk of cancer, causes addiction/alcoholism, depression, 20yr reduction in lifespan, early promiscuity, criminality anxiety and the list goes on. We can justify and deny all we want but I think it is a large enough finding that we should all at least take ten minutes to research something so devastating. There is no justification for hitting a child. How can we expect a toddler, infant or even a child to be responsible for a “misdeed” when we try to correct that behavior with violence. Using violence to solve problems does not and will never work. We will extend humanity to children eventually and when we do, I want to make sure I am on the moral side of that conflict.
    Of course, if parents don’t teach their children the importance of negotiation, empathy, virtue etc, they will not grow up with those necessary traits but making the claim that “kids who are not spanked are out of control” is based on nothing but social bigotries. There is no greater power disparity in society than between parent and child and the children don’t chose their parents. They have no escape route and they are completely dependent on the parents. When society decided it was against men hitting their wives, I never heard excuses and justifications for it. We all knew it was immoral. Hopefully soon enough we will extend that to the most important humans- our children. Thanks for this post.

    1. That’s a mighty long list of issues there and it also suggests that children who are never hit may not encounter any of these issues, (99% of which don’t apply to me or any of my spanked siblings by the way) a lot of which can be put down to the results of simply being alive. If a simple spanking can cause all these issues, what then a fight with your playmate or an altercation with someone a few years older than you, or a thorough ticking off from a teacher?
      Also, how can they identify which of these ailments out of the kazillions of stimuli one encounters growing up is specifically down to a short tap on the bottom as a child? Do they isolate the child from all other stimuli?

      I personally do not need that list. I am able to trust my own intelligence, cognition and experience to know that being hit as a child was the least of my issues. Yes, (shock, horror) above the word of doctors I have never met!

      Some of the things on the list frankly sound ridiculous – but of course I’m a lay person. And yet if one neuro scientist comes out with a ‘fact’ that all those issues stem from a child being hit, another 10 will refute it and so on, as they do with every other ‘fact’ they come up with.

      Having said that, I watched some of your film. It was talking about child abuse. I don’t consider my spanking child abuse. The points you are making take on a whole new meaning if we are indeed talking about child abuse as I consider it to be.

      Having said that I do agree that people should always look at their own behaviour objectively especially if they are to discipline others. I also agree that kids who are not spanked are not immediately out of control either, so I’m at least partly on your side!

      The greatest argument that may sway me and I’m always open to being swayed, (even from administering a little spank) has been the one that has been mooted a few times and that is the fact that we are not allowed to smack other grown ups. Although to that I still say it is not our duty to discipline other grown ups. And to THAT I would add that I have never yet hit a child to discipline them and would not want to. I think (hope) one can be more cerebral about it, certainly initially.

      Glad you came to balance out the numbers! I had been expecting you Mr Bond! πŸ™‚

      1. You are correct- I should have said that “violence” can cause those issues, not just spanking alone. Spanking can, and does lower IQ up to 4 points. Arguing from effect is not beneficial and we could spin in circles into eternity. Its like pushing surface sounds around into endless fog. I guess that could be fun but the bottom line for myself is ethics. Is what I am doing immoral? Is it unethical? Those are important standards that I try to live by. Aggression against children, whether a smack, hit, punch, spank- that is a violation of the non-aggression principle and is objectively immoral. I am not willing to do something that violates the very foundation of moral ethics. So, even if violence against children turned them into well behaved adults, the justification for raising any kind of hand to a child is immoral and unethical. When the world accepts the non aggression principle as a standard of ethics to live by, we will end violence, poverty, addiction, racism and war. πŸ™‚
        Regards- Mr. Bond out…

      2. tej, point-by-point:
        where I get stuck is I’m focused on the damages of abuse and punishment, and in that sense, it really doesn’t matter that we try everything else first, it only matters that we do or don’t end up using any sort of force. Sorry. And letting them have some real-world learning “occasionally?” That should be stepped up to “always, except in cases of serious injury or death.” Again, sorry.
        It’s terrific that you like the main thing, that parents don’t always need to win, that’s really central – and honestly, it can all flow from that. If you take that to heart, you’ll be all with me in no time!
        I didn’t mean to tell you how you felt. I’m only saying how the concept you espouse – getting punished and agreeing with it, actually liking it – doesn’t fit in my understanding of things – so I tried to understand it and that’s all I came up with. The upshot is, then, I just don’t understand it. Let’s pretend I kept my speculations to myself, OK?
        – the “yes” crowd is the majority everywhere, except maybe in psych. circles, as far as I can see. Like I said, around 80%, and that’s people who are unembarrassed, self reported. Yes, surprising, but I think I’ve identified why.
        Of course, I have a blog on WP here, it’s “abusewithanexcuse.”
        I know I sound rough and arrogant on this topic, but honestly, the message I have gets rejected for every possible reason, it’s the message that offends. There is no “nice” way to tell people what they don’t want to hear. I think it’s the reality of what the message is, not the method in which it’s delivered. Sorry.
        No, this is my target demographic. If I can’t convince people who use “a pat on the bum,” how do I imagine I’ll convince psychopaths?

      3. Thanks NS. Just to correct you that I didn’t like being punished at all, but I agreed that I was in the wrong and if it required disciplining or correction then so be it. I decided this not in some deeply academic way but with simple child-like thoughts. How my mother chose to do it was for her to decide, because I trusted her implicitly and did not fear her. I only feared disappointing her, which clearly I had done.

        I think you COULD convince psychopaths because you have revealed an amazing passion for what you believe in and have hung in there knowing (as I did not) that this might be a yes crowd.

        I actually don’t think it is the message that offends. It is the way it is delivered. Your message is don’t hit children. How could that possibly offend? But no one is going to consider rethinking their values if you open a discussion by insulting them – again, not you, but others. You do have to tread lightly because you are potentially stomping on people’s beliefs, asking them to change decades of thinking. When you get bolshie or arrogant people shut down and become defensive. Imagine if I said you were an imbecile with wishy washy liberal views and blamed all the disarray and indiscipline of society on parents like you as an introduction to this discussion, would you really then want to engage politely with me?

        I’m a busy person, but I watched Dustin’s film because his manner was approachable and he wrote with some degree of passion which I felt merited me affording him an open mind. He didn’t change my view because I was not impressed by the bit of film I watched. If the film was impressive and Dustin (who indeed was more impressive) told me something new, believable and / or inspiring I could be singing from your hymn book right now.

        If you really, really, really want to be the spokesperson for your message and alter people’s hearts and minds I suggest you spend time watching video’s of people who know how to get people’s attention and know how to deliver a tough message without alienating their audience. I’m not presumptuous to decide it is my job to tell you what to do so I merely offer this as some advice which you can bin or take on board, because I think I sense in you a genuine passion for this cause, so you might want to lift your selling skills to equal that passion.
        I also hate that you gave up the ‘The Dream’ and remind you that if Rhonda Byrne had given up also, millions of people would not have adjusted their thinking to adopt The Secret, which quite frankly was a miss mash of very old motivational teachings repackaged and re-delivered beautifully.

        Look, I’ll be blunt. Hitler was not a nice man but he knew how to deliver the most heinous of messages to a whole nation and get them to believe in his vision. I’ll say it again that I totally believe that it is not the message but the messengers. The only name calling, rigidity and arrogance I can remember on this particular debate came from the messengers on the no side, just sayin’.

      4. Hmm . . . I’m losing track of this thread – was this the right stream? It’s the only reply button I can find for you in this portion of the comments stream.

        I have come across a few people, one author who seems able to sell these ideas and that is Alfie Kohn, have you heard of him? I have one by him, “Unconditional Parenting,” which is a terrific way to brand it. I think you’d like him. He has another I haven’t read yet, not as focused on only kids, I think, “Punished by Rewards.” Kohn is a terrific voice for this. On-line, there is a Bea Marshall, whose brand is “Yes Parenting.” She’s great too, she can be found through Twitter “@beathetree.”

        There are some great voices out there, with some marketing skills, and I don’t see myself as at their level, or rather more importantly, I don’t feel needed because these folks are already there. I think if I can have a role, it will be to represent the dark side, to talk about damages, sort of pick up from Alice Miller’s focus on the damages parenting can create.

        I’ve been on-line elsewhere for a few years now, and honestly, I don’t think the authoritative style of parenting is amenable to change, either by gentle nudges or by the bludgeon. I respectfully suggest that you might over-estimate the level of conscious thought we all bring to parenting, and under-estimate the psychology.

        I confess, I mis-spoke or lied a little when I said that these parents on the “yes” are my target audience. Really, folks like Dustin here, as well as psychologists and social workers are the people I feel I need to reach, I want to talk to the teachers, it’s them who can create the change I hope for.

        Having said THAT, there is one person on a less serious site that seems to be hearing me, a parent – but she’s learned from life experience, she has already raised and sent into the world four kids and now she’s got a new one, a toddler now. I suspect it’s folks with some life experience who can see things differently, the young parents who haven’t seen the results of their parenting yet seem hard to convince.

      5. – couldn’t resist . . .

        I think “empty message” is not what I said, certainly not what I meant. But in practice, “don’t hit,” all by itself is unrealistic and it’s no help to many folks. I think there’s a sort of “wink wink” thing going on there, many folks have been telling us not to hit our kids, and for decades already, but they usually don’t spell out for us what I’ve been saying here, that in order not to have to force things with our kids, we will have to be willing to lose many of the conflicts, at least until they’re old enough to reason with.

        Any time someone says “don’t hit” and then talks about “alternative” ways to win every conflict, they are keeping silent about what happens when the “alternative” methods fail. The parenting books I’ve read give all sorts of different ways to attempt to get the kids to do what we want, but they leave us to our own devices if we need to win and the kids aren’t buying it.

        So, first, they aren’t asking us to change our expectations, they seem to feel, as we mostly already do also, that it’s a parent’s duty to win all the conflicts, and they sell us on the idea that we can win them all and without force or violence – but again, the ones I’ve read either remain silent on what to do when their ideas fail to convince our kids, or they openly advise that we revert to our old, forceful methods.

        Now, when a new parent reads this stuff and tries to put it into action, but the kid doesn’t play along – that parent is very naturally and correctly disillusioned. Many of these parents, if they feel they must win the battle, wind up using old-time force – a smack on the bum – and throwing out the book that led them on. This is what I mean when I say that advice fails, and that this is why so many folks are still spanking, despite that they and their parents have already been told that they shouldn’t.

        This is why the “no hitting” movement has failed so far.

        In my opinion.

    2. Loved Your comment! Finally someone spoke with some knowledge rather than basic opinion and assumptions. Specially I loved what You said about hitting a woman. How child is different? Thank You for giving some food for thought!

    3. Dustin, I wrote this below for anybody, but I want to make sure you see this:
      I just want to put this out there for anyone reading, probably more the folks on the “no” side of the debate, that “physical” punishment is the wrong question for society and parents. The info is in about physical abuse and corporal punishment, and the educated answer is no – but that answer isn’t enough. The info has been there for decades now, and the problem isn’t going away, as many people still spank as ever, pretty much, as you can see from the ratio of spankers VS non-spankers on this post. It’s still more than 80% of Americans – and those are the ones who admit it.
      The problem is that “don’t hit” isn’t enough.
      It doesn’t address the underlying things, parental expectations that parents need to win every conflict with their kids, that kids are expected never to have a negative effect on the parents plans. With these expectations, nothing else is going to “work.”
      I’m not saying there are non-physical methods that “work,” there aren’t, and that’s part of the problem, the parenting “experts” are letting us think that we can have it all our way, that the parents never have to lose a conflict with their kids, and that this can somehow be done nicely, non-physically. This is bullshit. And this is why most folks still do it the old-fashioned way, because the parenting gurus have spread this stupid, useless lie, and every parent who tries just “not hitting” finds out on their first day what a crock it is.
      The thing is, it’s not just about “corporal” punishment, it’s about ALL punishment, it’s about expectations that the kids will never do anything not “in the program” and that the parents must always have it their way. The key to not hitting and not punishing, is that we have to allow the kids to misbehave, and teach them, by talking only, explaining things to them, and let the world teach them when they don’t listen. Let them touch the light bulb if they don’t listen when you only TELL them not to, they’ll learn something. I mean, hold on to your little ones near the road, but if it’s not life-threatening, let the kids win, let them learn things the hard way.
      That is the ONLY way not to hit, we would have to decide not to win every little thing. At my house, things got broken, things got dirty, but by the time the kids could talk and listen, they did, we always had interaction, conversation. That open communication has always been there because we never committed the betrayal of unilaterally having everything our way and forcing the issue, whether it be hitting, timeouts, or anything else.
      Long and short, if you are committed to having everything your way, of making sure your kids lose every transaction – go ahead and hit them. There is no other way for that result.
      If you really don’t want to hit them – then be willing to lose most transactions until they’re old enough to reason with. That’s the only way.
      You know what was a wonderful surprise for us – we didn’t know how it would work out – after the toddler years?
      That it just got easier every year.
      When your friends grow bigger and smarter, as kids do, life gets better.
      If life gets worse when the people around us grow and learn, that is our clue that we have made enemies of the people around us.


      1. I don’t think anyone would even disagree with you. I think that myself and perhaps some others would prefer to choose which options to use without the suggestions that they are ‘training their kids like animals’ and unintelligent child abusers, (just using some of the language used by some of the no side there.)

        It is this idea that those in favour of a spank when they deem it is necessary, do not have the intelligence to work out when they think it is needed or that they might try, you know, talking to the child first, or letting them learn by their mistakes occasionally, that for me is somewhat erroneous.

        I actually love your idea of letting go of ego in parenting and not always having to be right…and yet here you are bulldozing any other experience or opinion and having to be right in this conversation. How else would you describe utterly dismissing how I told you I felt as a spanked child and telling ME what MY feelings were instead? Perhaps you know what I was wearing that day also?

        I don’t think you’ve lost the argument however. On another forum the yes’s may be in the minority. This is a small picture in the grand scheme of things which still surprised me. I genuinely thought the majority would be on the no side.

        Bottom line if you post your child rearing tactics and Dustin his films and some folk follow them, then we’ve all won as no one who took part in this discussion sounded unintelligent or sounded like they desire to abuse children – at least to my ears. Although those who opt for verbal abuse and a sense of grand superiority over everyone else in a debate lessen their chances of converting anyone – and that is not especially aimed at you, I know you were at pains to keep things light hearted.

        I also think that this audience is not necessarily your best focus. There are people out there who are purposefully maiming, starving, punching, kicking, shaking, shouting at and killing their children whilst we comfortably debate the difference between spanking and abuse from our computers. I would like to think that those who have expressed such enormous passion against abuse are using their energies in the direction of these irrefutably deranged and lost souls and that their (very welcome) participation in this interesting discussion was merely a momentary diversion from their real work at the truly fearful and life threatening end of this important issue.

      2. Thanks for sharing all these great thoughts. I love your position about win/lose interactions with children. There definitely is an underlying subconscious will to not allow children to “win”. Win/win situations- if allowed on a consistent and consecutive basis, children would not only learn the powerful and necessary skill of negotiation, they would learn compassion, social skills, empathy and a canyon full of other great attributes. The lack of hierarchy present when allowing win/win conversations with children would be so beneficial for everyone. It seems counter productive but it works. Adults have been so shredded and dirtied by social bias, historical lies, and bigoted absolutes that make us believe things that are simply untrue. For instance, nationalism is one of the greatest fire starters in the history of man- and most don’t understand that countries do not exist except in our minds. They are a concept. Arbitrary lines drawn on a map that don’t exist in the real world. Yet we worship and die and kill other human beings over it. I just hope in enough time, we can all see that peaceful parenting can and does yield non aggressive, wonderful children. Thanks for your comment.

    4. Thank you too, Dustin. I have to admit, I lied a little to the poster here – I’ll cop to her too in a minute – YOU are my target audience, voices like you. I hope that the “nospank” folks and some of the parenting “experts” can ponder what is the central point for me, that there really is no “non-corporal” punishment, that all punishments depend on force ultimately, and so advocating for “non-corporal,” “alternative” forms of “discipline” will ultimately fail, and with it the entire movement. My blog on here is Called Abusewithanexcuse and there are a few posts with the delusions-of-grandeur title of “my Doctrine” that lay it out, as well as some recent ones with “Corporal Punishment” in the titles. As I said before, I worry that although you are spot-on about it all, that it’s still not enough.

      I don’t know if you read through this entire comment stream – it’s a little painful – but I have two girls, 16 and 20, raised without spanking OR any of the alternatives.

      Thanks again.

      1. to the NEARLY converted, I think. Folks like him are SO close, but what I’m battling is what I see as a red herring, that it’s only “physical” punishment that’s the problem. I’m hoping to change the conversation to ALL punishment. I feel the talk about “alternative forms of discipline” is misguided and dooms the movement. I’m sure you must have noticed, and many, many parents must have noticed how empty the idea of just “not hitting” really is, and that’s why it gets rejected?

      2. No. I disagree there. I don’t see it as an empty message. Fair enough your journey has taken you beyond that, but the majority have not. Whether you want to add some extras to it I think the message still stands on it’s own if delivered correctly to open ears. It’s really a moot point how much of the message you deliver. People will listen to a good message, delivered well, period.

        I can’t imagine any parent would listen to a cohesive argument about child care and say ‘No thanks, I like a good thrashing from time to time.’ Any sane parent would be open to ideas.

  13. I was one of those who also suffered the occasional hitting. My internal joke was, when my younger sister and I argued, my dad would come in, smack me, and then ask what was going on. I probably had it coming most of the time, and I believe I can say I was not affected long-term. Yet who knows. Perhaps I would have chosen to go to college (like my older brother who never got hit and graduated with a degree in Physics), or been able to find my “true self” much earlier than my mid-forties, after slogging my way through close to 30 different jobs since High School. But perhaps that rebellious spirit I’ve had since I was young, the one that permits me to pick myself up after every stumble, moving boldly forward into the next adventurous challenge was so foreign to my ultra conservative father who worked for the same company for 40+ years, that the only way he could respond to what he didn’t understand was to lash out. Or maybe the struggles of my childhood were what I required to take the first steps towards enlightenment, to question more deeply than any of my non-hit siblings the mysteries of life. Perhaps the only way I was able to become as passionate as I am regarding my work with youth and my engagement as a spiritual coach was by contemplating the inner sufferings of my childhood. And if so, then thanks Dad! πŸ™‚

  14. I was smacked quite a lot as a child – not really hurt, just a little smack. I’m not a serial killer or anything.
    However, these days it doesn’t seem to be acceptable at all, even the lightest of spanks. There was an incident a few years ago where a father smacked a badly behaving child in a dentist’s office, I think it was. Someone called Social Services and he spent Christmas in a hotel, barred from going anywhere near his kids.
    Social Services are in a tricky situation – they don’t take action, a child gets hurt and they get blasted. If they do take action and it turns out the child wasn’t really being hurt – they get blasted. A very difficult job to do.

    1. It is a tough job, but judging by the amount of children being killed slowly over a long lengths of time by their parents with clues all around a lot of them are clearly not up to it.
      Also how is separating him for Xmas going to make a difference? Surely after Xmas if he was really an abuser he would simply continue the abuse? What the hell kinds of questions was he asked to come up with THAT solution I’d love to know!

  15. A spanking is a consequence, it is not a death sentence nor is it abuse. I don’t have to spank my daughter much but she does have consequences. I think we need to make sure that there is always a consequence for our children’s actions. That is what parallels with real life– consequence. I tell my daughter there is always a consequence for every action (good or bad).

      1. I believe that there is a natural consequence in every action. So, I am unable to agree that they are separate from any actions. I am not a die-hard advocate of spanking but I believe to not acknowledge that there are actual consequences to every decision is an injustice to children and adults the same. Consequences, in my opinion, are a part of the learning process.

      2. how is a parental punishment “natural?” If you pick a consequence, that’s engineered, conscious, sort of the opposite of natural, isn’t it?
        Plus, what we can learn about from a consequence chosen by a person – we only learn about that person, not about the actual thing that started it.

  16. I was spanked four times exactly in my childhood. The first time I was around four and was unsupervised in the back yard,(supervision of children may be an even more inflammatory subject, btw) and the dogs were whining by the gate and just looking at me sooooo sad that I was all “run and be happy!” and I let them out and it was a tremendous pain in the ass for the grownups and, since none of em were particularly bright, fairly dangerous as well as they could’ve been run over before they were rounded up. My mother remembers the first time she was spanked: she was about the same age and she ran into the street without looking. Neither of us was spanked hard- more in that way that makes a loud noise but doesn’t leave more than a very temporary warm spot. She never did it again. I never did it again. With little kids who are in that dangerous stage where they’re mobile and extraordinarily sure of their reasoning abilities, but are basically insane and possibly suicidal, I think a dramatic but light tap on the bottom is sometimes the only way to get it across that SOMETHING IS DANGEROUS, and I would additionally posit that the rise of time outs and the extreme anti-spanking sentiment of today is in direct proportion with how thoroughly we’re determined to scrub all danger from children’s lives.

  17. I got whacked a couple of times when I was ‘naughty’ – such as hiding under my friend’s bed when I didn’t want to go home as it was more fun at her house (in that moment). While it wasn’t abusive, it did signal to me that not conforming, rebelling, expressing myself a bit more freely earned me punishment. That kind of patterning can lead to too much saying and doing the right thing and causes tension!! Getting over it now, slowly…

    1. It’s tough as a parent. I’ve heard too strict parents get it in the neck from grown up children and I’ve heard very liberal, relaxed parents get it in the neck too.

      Then there’s the interpretations we make as children, such as yours which was or was not the intended interpretation. Boy! It ain’t easy, that’s for sure.

  18. In my opinion (obviously) smacking should always be the punishment of last resort, and it should never ever be done by an angry person. Because that isn’t “you broke the rule and you are suffering the consequences”, that’s “I’m angry because of what you did and so I’m hitting you.”
    I was occasionally smacked as a child, and I turned out ok too πŸ™‚ And I still get on well with my parents. I would consider smacking my hypothetical children, but unfortunately in New Zealand it is against the law to physically discipline a child – despite a referendum showing the will of the people to be otherwise. So much for democracy…

    1. That is good news – my reason is a little long to re-type, but please look at a recent post of mine, β€œOur end of the Deal, Part #2 – Teachers” – I think you’ll find some logic in it . . .

    2. I do think that banning hitting and stopping hitting isn’t enough. Most of the damage of punishment and abuse isn’t the physical stuff. Stopping hitting is sort of meaningless. We have to stop all of it, we have to stop believing that good can come from bad, any sort of bad.

      1. An interesting point! But then, sometimes it’s about context. Slicing a person up with a knife is generally a bad thing, but if you are a surgeon cutting out their tumour, it’s a good thing…
        Unfortunately, banning physical discipline in NZ doesn’t seem to have stopped people abusing their children. As JFK said, “peace does not rest in charters and covenants alone. It lies in the hearts and minds of all people. And if it is cast out there, then no act, no pact, no treaty, no organization can hope to preserve it…”

      2. yeah, but it’s a start. All sorts of thing that used to be everywhere can be improved, and law helps – spousal abuse, drinking and driving, these are lessening somewhat, at least in Canada.
        But, more to the point, you’re right, this is a tough one, and I think the governments who have outlawed corporal punishment rarely prosecute, I think it’s mostly lip service. I expect the only time the law is actually applied is probably in cases where some nut beats their kid to death, or nearly to death.
        Plus, again, like I’ve been saying to Dustin and the OP here – the “alternative forms of discipline” are a stupid mirage, ALL discipline must depend on physical control ultimately. That’s not a defense of corporal punishment, that’s a call to stop all of it, the “alternatives” as well. I think it’s because the alternatives aren’t a fundamental change, only a change of wording that spanking isn’t going away. So, yes, it needs to be a change in the hearts and minds of the people, a change away from punishing generally, not just the “physical” kind, as if there really was some other kind.

  19. I believe in discipline, not punishment. I have a bad temper so in order to keep myself from going overboard, I made a chart: If my child was caught in an outright lie, the result would be—. If my child sassed me, the result would be—. If my child deliberately disobeyed or showed blatant disrespect the result would be—. The children knew what to expect and I knew what the limit was. If I was too angry to be reasonable, I would tell the child I needed some time to calm down, and then we would deal with the situation. My husband and I always talked to our children first to make sure they understood why the discipline was coming. We told them we loved them and that it gave us no pleasure to enforce whatever was coming, but that it was for their good. We told them we wanted to teach them to be courteous, respectful, honest, caring people. After discipline was administered, we again made sure they understood what was done. Then we hugged them and told them we loved them. We have two pretty good kids now well into their adult years.

  20. I think smacking a child and physically abusing a child are completely different. Giving them a small smack to prove your authority and that you will follow through on your word if they don’t listen is acceptable; beating them till their black and blue however, isn’t. Most children are fine with that one experience of getting spanked and I feel that most parents are able to get away with counting down or the stare, and the child will listen after that one experience. Of course every child is different; but I see no harm in a little spank or slap on the hand with a stern scolding so long as the child isn’t getting spanked for every minor thing and its reserved more for lying, or purposeful harm on another.

  21. There’s a difference between abuse and discipline. My mother would still be in prison for the heavy hand she had with my brothers and I. We could be little shits sometimes. But… We are all decent and respectful human beings who know how to act and treat people.
    Parents shouldn’t have to be afraid to parent but these days, because they’re afraid of getting I trouble. Now they call the police when they’re preteen and teen get out of control and then get mad because the police can’t A. Solve 16 years of your mistakes in twenty minutes or B. Don’t coddle and swaddle the kid in front of you which is seriously how they got to be a little shit in the first place.
    Seriously, someone has called the police for a five year old that wouldn’t listen.
    I’ve only had to spank my nine year old a couple of times in his whole life. They were for serious offenses too. Just on the bottom.
    He’s a respectful kid with amazing manners too.

    1. I kinda agree even though I’m trying to stay somewhat impartial. I feel there is a great difference and I find it more disturbing when someone who does not know me tells me that I’m emotionally damaged but I just don’t know it, than any spanking.

    2. these folks who are calling the police have been fooled by the parenting “experts” that they shouldn’t hit, but that nothing else needs to change. They still apparently think they get to win every conflict and every argument with their kid, and if they can’t force a win, they’re calling the cops to force the win for them. If they had an actual attitude change, instead of no attitude change and only had the tool taken away from them, things would be different.

  22. It is now illegal to smack children in New Zealand – a very controversial act of parliament was passed. It managed to create a lot of division in our society, but now it’s law, there is no use in debating it. Personally, a smack with an open hand is not too heinous, and sometimes you cannot reason with a young child so this is the best way to discipline. However, I draw the line at belts, straps, etc, and beatings. It can be a very fine line, and a smack to one can be abuse to another. What a can of worms.

    1. That is good news – my reason is a little long to re-type, but please look at a recent post of mine, “Our end of the Deal, Part #2 – Teachers” – I think you’ll find some logic in it . . .

  23. My children still reckon a time out was worse than a spanking … which probably reflects my inability to spank. I’ve used a spank for discipline only for major naughtiness … like deliberately pushing your sibling off the top of a double bunk bed. Time out meant you had to sit and think about what you did, calm down, and prepared to make an apology. I don’t believe a spank counts a major trauma, as it should be more noise than actual inflicting pain. It is to underline the idea that the offense was deserving of discipline.

  24. I don’t think smacking a child as punishment is effective or a good reason to do so, but I don’t think it’s bad to do if they’re going to hurt themselves. Little kids may not understand when you tell them that touching a flame will burn them, but they’ll understand if you smack their hand away from the flame that it’s something you don’t want them to do.
    And there’s a huge difference between abuse and discipline. I personally disagree with it as a form of discipline, but I don’t think it will scar everyone for life if they go through it.

  25. Yes. When the child is too young to understand something conceptually and moving forward could hurt the child, swatting the child is a way to identify THAT behavior (or place) with pain. Don’t step into the street. Don’t touch the hot tea kettle. Don’t scream for no reason. It should be rare, it should be timely and it should be shocking. It should never be a hollow threat. This is ineffective if the parents are the kind that hit their kids often. Hitting for punishment can be OK, too but it should be exceptional behavior on the part of the parent, like once or twice in a kid’s whole life. I, however, was smacked regularly by my mom (across the mouth). She was wrong. My dad only smacked me once and he was RIGHT to do what he did.

  26. My parents would spank my sister and I with a belt and my grandmother would have us go pick out our own switch. In my opinion parents are afraid to spank their kids because nowadays anybody can file anonymous accusations of child abuse whether it’s false or true and child services is required to investigate. Another thing there is a fine line between where the spanking is given. If the hand lands above the hips on the small of the back it can be considered abuse and a punishment spanking must be on the bottom and not a bit lower (back of the legs) because they can call that child abuse too. Just my two cents and lastly I believe I turned out okay despite getting whippings as a child. Great post!

      1. I know it is a fine line, I learned this in my family law class in college. Some ways that fine line is good and protects but keeps the parents that discipline for legitimate reasons, looking over their shoulder and I’m sad to say that I’ve seen kids threaten their own parents if the parents try to punish them.

  27. Please do not do anything to children. They could perceive that violence is normal and acceptable. They can pass violence to their children in the future. We could suggest them the choices and consequences they can take actions. They will learn to be responsible on their action. ; ) Interesting topic actually.

  28. I’m not a parent but having been a kid I believe it is completely acceptable. Yes of course society should draw the line between discipline and abuse.
    I think so long as the parent does not make their child feel like their lesser, and much more their equal, then it’s fine.
    I was spanked…with many a belt in my day. And I was a child that rarely ever spoke and a straight A student…
    So I don’t really know why, but I do think it contributed a lot to seeing my parents as authority figures that I should respect. Nothing traumatizing whatsoever.

    1. there is no line, not really. The experience of abuse is subjective, meaning it’s up to the abusee, it’s not up to parents to decide what is and isn’t abuse. We don’t get to do whatever our weird lives taught us is OK and then tell the kid “this doesn’t feel like abuse to you.”
      This is the great secret: everybody has problems, because we all experienced (subjectively) abuse, whether the adults all agree that it was or wasn’t abusive. It’s not something we decide, like traffic laws, it’s more like a natural law, like gravity. It happens, whether we “agree” or not.

  29. I’m not too terribly concerned with ‘psychological evidence’ or psychological studies. When it comes to any question about human nature, I prefer to turn to human beings than psychiatrists. I know that psychiatrists are human beings underneath it all, but they seem to be able to turn that off when they start doling out advice.

    I know I took some spankings when I was little. Not only do I deny that I was traumatized, I believe that I’m better off for it. If I decided to doubt that for a moment, I’d only look at the parents I’ve known who refuse to hit their children ever. The majority of them don’t have well behaved kids.

    1. Fair enough Matthew I hear you! I think in both camps that one should review the results for themselves and if they are not working then think again. A lot of folk stick with their decision regardless of it working.

    2. there’s a huge trap there. People have been selling the idea that you don’t have to hit your kids, but that you still need to have it all your way, you can still win every conflict – that’s patently nonsense. It’s half way to sense. We went all the way with our kids – didn’t hit them, didn’t punish at all, in any way, and we lost a good deal of the conflicts. Now our kids are 16 and 20, brilliant, straight As, top scholars, and they were always – well, since they could talk – better behaved and nicer to be around than their punished friends. Right through the teen years, no trouble.

  30. That was my response, too- when my youngest son was little, I read a column by Dr. Barry Brazelton that stuck with me, and he said exactly what By Hook or By Book said—if you use spanking as discipline, never do so in anger. We very rarely used spanking (by the time the anger was gone, the incident was usually far away).

    1. Thanks Pam. I don’t want you to have the wrong idea about what I meant though. I don’t believe in hitting children under any circumstances. If you’re angry, you lose control, and as you said if you’re not then it’s likely the incident is so far behind you that the child won’t have a clue as to why they’re being punished. I have to reiterate, there are plenty of effective forms of discipline without resorting to hitting (and I’m not talking about timeouts). One last point: look at the football player who’s in the news right now. I apologize, but at the moment I’m having a brain freeze and can’t remember his name. He’s the one who was arrested for “spanking” his tiny three year old son with a tree branch, and not only on his bottom, but other areas as well. I’m sure you all know who I’m referring to. He hit him so hard he left welts, bruises, and scars. On a three year old! And he and his lawyer see nothing wrong with this. He was “spanked” as a child and he’s turned out well, so there’s nothing wrong with him continuing the tradition. It’s a parent’s privilege after all. Really? Somebody said, (I think maybe Neighsayer?), that violence begets violence. You can’t really put it any simpler than that. Climbing off my soapbox now!

  31. I’m probably older than most of your readers, but the debate on whether to spank or not had already begun before I had my children. My husband and I decided that we liked the way we turned out, so we decided to spank. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. I like the way my children turned out. I think it is a decision that should be made by each individual couple.

    1. Yes I would agree, but clearly not all parents have the wherewithall to make sound and sensible judgements as you have. It sounds patronizing, but 5 minutes watching the news would be testament to that fact.

      If there was blanket acceptance for spanking and it was left for individual couples to decide, what would happen to the kids of incompetent parents! 😯

      1. It is never acceptable to smack a child.
        Substitute partner, lover, woman, coworker, friend, husband, wife, neighbor, police officer, neighbor’s child, judge, president, the answer would be “of course not!”

      2. exactly – “if any.” We had none. Never punished for anything, ever, and when the kids were old enough to talk to, the lines of communication were still open. Reason has been enough since the toddler days – and like I say – we didn’t win every conflict. That’s the key. Give up the power and you can have love and communication instead.

  32. I always take the position that spanking is the right of the parent. I just realized though, that I actually don’t spank my children, lol. It just never comes to that. Now as for a parent just slapping their child in the face because of their lack of self control that IS abuse of course. I have met many children who could benefit from a spanken, like the one who just bit my daughter the other day. This girl is a perpetual menace and despite warnings, talking to’s, and I even tried to take her under my wing and teach her, but she is relentless. Its really her parents fault, they should actually be PARENTING. But yeah, some need a spanken for their own good and the good of those around them.

    1. Well this is the problem is it not. You have clearly instilled enough discipline in your children from the get go that you’ve never needed to spank them. With the other child, clearly her parents have not and the later you leave it the harder it becomes.
      I’m not even sure that she SHOULD be spanked from the sounds of it as it is not her fault that she has been literally trained to do the bad things she is doing.

      1. I should have clarified that I did spank them (rarely) when they were quite young, and now there usually is not a need for it. Its not to late for little biter girl, if she were to live with me a month I’d have her whooped into shape and she’d be happy, respectful, and not hated in the community.

      1. neighsayer- why would punishing a child make them steal, bite and be a little turd in general? I don’t understand what your saying. No, I’ve been around the mom when I’m telling her the latest thing her 11 yr old has done, and the mom just yells (!??!) And the daughter yells back, and gets away with it. It is essentially the parents fault but at this time the girl needs to be stopped so she does not break my daughters skin the next time. When she is being printed and led into a cell nobody will care that it is her parents fault. Spankens are a great deterrent and motivation not to be a little CRIMINAL.

    2. you just told me they’re both doing the same thing – yelling at each other – and for the kid it’s a crime and for the mother it’s not hard enough! They’re doing the same thing, yet you don’t see how the kid learned it from the parent?

      1. Yelling is not discipline. Yelling is a total lack of self control, and frankly its what lazy parents do. You seem to take the postion that the parent has no moral authority to admonish their child (I gathered this from your comments) I think this is where we will inevetably disagree and we can not move past this disagreement. Because I DO have the authority and OBLIGATION to discipline my children. If parents don’t do it nobody else will. So I still do not understand how a spanken on the rear would cause a child to become a feral biting creature? On the contrary if that girl knew the consequenses of her actions would be more than mom just yelling, but instead a reddened hurting bottom, she would not be doing all the damage she is. In short- Spanking would save a child from their own foolishness.

    3. yes, that is my position, and no, I guess we won’t agree. I never disciplined my girls at all, and they are the most civilized, moral young ladies anyone would care to meet. I would guess that biter-girl’s parents are chaotic, not as organized as some disciplinarians, so that the resulting kid is more chaotic than some disciplinarians’ kids are. But we are not born evil, violent and selfish, and we do not need those things beaten out of us. Abuse and corporal punishment CAUSE bad behaviour, there is a CAUSE of bad behaviour, it’s not that we’re born naturally evil. Original Sin is a religious idea, it ain’t any kind of science.

  33. What does the hitting mean? I got the belt, coat hanger, and naked palm. Yet now at my mid-20s I can say that I turned out a pretty decent guy. I was aware of the reason why I was punished physically I think, so I knew what I should and shouldnt do. The worst effect is the insecurity I had to carry and overcompensate through the years, because I don’t want to make mistakes. So I guess hitting is bad for the childs self esteem, verbal abuse has just the same effect as well.
    My point I guess is that you shouldnt hit your child. Like raising a puppy, no one likes the image of puppies being hit when they do something they dont know is wrong. Its sad that our standards are so low that we value how animals are treated than our own children.

    1. I would say that if it affected your sense of security then it was not so great a tool to use on you. And indeed you make another good point that words can be equally harmful to a child’s well being.

      I actually think that puppies and children, who are both blank sheets of experience when they are born, can be pretty much taught with gentle discipline and repetition from the very beginning. Having said that, people still hit puppies and not every parent has the luxury of time to learn about the psychology of children and humans.
      Thanks agadudes.

      1. no, we argued, but that’s just talk. It’s a qualitative difference to settle an argument with force. So, we didn’t win them all. Things got dirty, things got broken – just not the kids.


  34. Me and my sibling were all hit. With my Dad, it’s always the dreaded thick belt of his. My mom would warn us that my Dad’s gonna punish us. So she’d stuff our bottoms with newspapers! And if my mom would hit us with her floppy flip flop (hurts juuust a lil bit) though we knew she was just following my Dad.
    Now I’ve got kids of my own, I am against corporal punishment. I didn’t want them to fear us. In the grand scheme of things, I want them to make mistakes and tell them how to correct and avoid it next time. I’d rather have an open communication with them than them doing things behind my back for fear of punishment. But them again, that’s just me.

    1. No, I hear you. If that works for you then where’s the problem? It is SUCH a fine balance isn’t it? Because whilst we were hit I never feared my mother, just respected her and when I say ‘respect’ I don’t mean a stuffy, formal respect. We also had childish, stupid fun and games with lots of cheating and laughter and I would tell her everything. This is how I know she got the balance right in that respect.

    2. My girls are 16 and 20, we never punished them once, “corporally” or otherwise. Yes, real-world consequences for real-world mistakes, when not life-threatening, excellent. The “cognitive damage” associated with corporal punishment is because of exactly that – contrived, unrelated-to-reality punishments in lieu of real-world learning.

    3. “M.Winter
      October 10, 2014 at 1:50 am
      It is HARDER to be a parent!”

      – absolutely. Not punishing is the hard way, the long way, you actually have to teach every lesson, verbally, and by contrast, punishing is sort of a shoddy, one size fits all kind of shortcut. I don’t like the suggestion that not punishing is not parenting, that people like myself are lazy or somehow shirking our responsibilities by not punishing.

      – although, I think if anyone feels that way, that there is probably a real emotional truth under it – that punishing feels counterintuitive, so it’s emotionally difficult, “this is gonna hurt me more than it hurts you” kind of thing. So overcoming that feeling is the hard thing that punishing parents have to do, and I admit, that’s hard. I just think it’s unnecessarily hard, because it’s misguided.

  35. The popular opinion is never, under any circumstances. I disagree. The occasional ‘licking’ can cure bad behavior faster than rewards for good behavior alone. I also think the world should stay out of our private lives. I raised three. One boy got two spankings in his entire life. One got only one. Our daughter never got any.

    How we raise our kids should be our business and not random strangers along the street, many of whom do not have children.

    1. I agree to some extent. But…but would you really ignore it if you saw a child being pulverized by his parents on the street?
      Would you really ignore it if you know the child across the way was being molested by his parent?

      1. Interesting response, but in most cases, the people who are reporting what they see in public, are not reporting abuse (as it pertains to the law), but parental discipline.
        These are the same people who will give you the stink eye for “not controlling your child(ren)”.

  36. “Spanking” is only unacceptable to the same individuals that prohibit mentioning the Bible or Christ is in public school all in an exercise to eliminate the concept of consequences. I would have never admitted as a child but now must from the standpoint of honesty, when acting as an unreasonable brat, having a swift smack or two administered to my backside, after the pain and tears had subsided, always left me in a much happier and open state of mind.

    1. Lol! It’s true isn’t it? For some of us it Is a deterrent. The interesting thing is though, at my brother’s school, kids were spanked. For some headmasters I hear it was an art form as some would take a hop, skip and a jump run-up to administer the end blow with relish.
      But…but…it was always the same faces lined up outside the head’s office for yet another spanking. So clearly for some, although it hurt it was not a deterrent.

      But yes, some kids are ‘unreasonable brats’ at times and we are heading for interesting times as society seems to be heading into a place of little consequence for crime.

    2. there actually is something to a quick, mild punishment. Mostly because all the “non-violent” sorts of punishments they’re selling these days really aren’t “non-violent,” not really. Any punishment imposed on someone is unpleasant, so we don’t take it willingly. It’s all backed up with force, ultimately. In that sense, an honest, straightforward smack at least isn’t as confusing and unconscious as a punishment administered by a parent who doesn’t realize they’re doing it because they believe all this new re-languaging about it and is fooling themselves and their kids that the “timeout” or whatever isn’t punishment, or isn’t physical punishment. I’ve heard something like this from smart PhDs.

  37. I don’t think there is an easy answer. I was a vicim of child abuse perpetrated by my mother. Her favorite form of punishment was “smacking” my sister’s and my bottoms with the back of a hairbrush. Sometimes she’d do it so hard she’d break the brush! I won’t bore you with the other sordid details, but here’s my humble opinion. When you hit a child in anger you risk losing control, and when you do that, even a small spank can turn into something more serious. There are far better ways to discipline a child that actually work. Wouldn’t you rather use those?

      1. better a child should be struck cold-bloodedly, huh?

        of course, parental anger is dangerous, I’m not denying that.But if you’re doing the same thing, how you feel when you do it really doesn’t change anything.

      2. For me it does. If my mother hit me with anger I would resent her for it. The discipline message would be entirely lost because instead I would fear her.
        I can only go by my own and my siblings anecdotal examples NS. It did us no physical or psychological harm to be hit by a calm mother who gave us complete understanding of why we were being disciplined. I know you’re joking but the alternative to anger is not cold- bloodedeness, there are of course shades in between.

        Clearly maybe your experience and therefore outlook was different and that’s cool, that’s what these here discussion boxes are for. πŸ™‚

      3. for you it does, yes. Not for your kids, though. I guarantee you resented your measured punishments at the time. If you already agreed, you wouldn’t have “needed” it in the first place. And, yes, friendly discussion. It’s all good.

      4. Nope! I remember the emotion clearly to this day – not even sure why. I just wanted my Moms not be upset with me anymore because I knew I was in the wrong and of course before I slept that night she came in with a big hug, a kiss and a pep talk about telling Mom the truth always and I was so happy I was forgiven. (Yeuch! What a saccharine wimp I was! πŸ™‚ )

        I was a child. The fact that I already agreed was not something I could articulate. Lol! SHE was the boss – this was not a board meeting situation! I was just swallowing nervously because I got caught out.

        And for your third point I had just said that to someone, that I had taken this debate from my child hood experience, but what about kids today in a vastly different and PC world?

      5. I know will be hard to believe me when I say I’m still being civil and I don’t mean to offend – but I can’t wrap my head around your story, I don’t/can’t believe it. The only way I can make sense of it is that kids know if they don’t take the discipline that is offered, it escalates, so a kid can be happy with the first or second level of punishment, know they don’t have to worry about it getting worse.

      6. The truth is NS something in you is saying ‘If this person does not think exactly like I do or have the same experience as I do, it’s obviously not true and there is a problem.’ That is what is coming off the page from you.

        I cannot convince you that there are indeed other cultures, belief systems and mindsets other than your own and that is okay by me. No offense taken, your input, as always, is much appreciated. I’m sure you know that.

        I on the other hand DO understand that other people think differently, have different belief systems, different upbringing, and social behaviours to my own. That is what makes debates interesting.

  38. I don’t think a child will be scarred for life by a couple of instance of light, corrective punishment, but I think it should be avoided if at all possible. Doing a quick search just about every psychological and pediatric society on Earth say it is harmful to the child. If a time out or taking away a privilege works, why do it?

    1. it’s not the physical part where the real damage is, at least not if the kid survives and without brain damage. The damages are emotional, psychological, and cognitive – which are not physical effects, so not actually from physical causes . . .

  39. Interesting question I think. Like you I had the occasional smack – as I was generally a fairly compliant child, the threat was usually enough. Four children of my own later, I find my views have changed over the years. It’s an explosive issue and actually, like a lot of parenting stuff, it brings out the self-righteous streak in all of us if we’re not careful. On balance I think it’s great if you can avoid smacking your child, but lots of parents don’t have the resources or information about alternatives. I try not to make judgements. Being a parent can be hard enough already.

  40. As a customer said today:
    “There is a big difference between a butt whuppin’ and child abuse. If you don’t leave a scar, that’s a butt whuppin’. If you ain’t whuppin’ butt on a bad child then that is abuse… cuz that kid is gonna grow up to be all messed in the head. And a whuppin’ is the least of they problems then!”

      1. maybe you’re right about yourself, but
        A. everybody says that. Is everybody all right? and
        B. Generally, statistically, so to speak, corporal punishment has been shown in study after study, to increase rebelliousness and bad behaviour rather than actually cure it. Kids don’t actually have to behave better to avoid the punishments, they can just learn to not get caught, and dishing out hurt models, teaches, dishing out hurt.

      2. “theeditorsjournal
        October 10, 2014 at 8:52 am
        It didn’t in me NS. I think we might have to admit to horses for courses with this one.”

        – statistically it does.

      1. Actually no… That is like saying illiteracy should be cured already because we have English class. If it only works 90% do we get rid of it?

    1. all right, bad analogy. Still, the idea that punishing “works” is still pretty bad. For the theory that it cures bad behaviour and crime to work, that would mean that a whole lot of the bad actors in the world weren’t punished enough, and study after study after study has shown that most of the world’s criminals and prisoners were punished puh-lenty. For the theory that it works to fly, there would have to be some largish group out there that don’t discipline their kids – which is patently not true. Just look at the ratio of punishers to non-punishers on this post. If there’s a group of people out there not punishing, they’re sure hiding well.

  41. Maybe it’s not so much the spanking that people worry about but that so few adults seem stable enough to do it properly. Maybe ppl assume that if they “allow” it, parents around the world will start beating their children with bags of kittens.

    Personally I can’t understand how baby beauty pageants aren’t considered abuse but…that’s just me.

    1. earth2bellas you hit the nail on the head, for me at least. My mother had the emotional intelligence to use the threat of a spank as a warning tool and the spank itself was physically harmless and more of a performance than anything, which is why I can never really remernber the spank per se, just the way I felt about being caught being naughty.
      I would not trust a lot of parents (or schools) today with that ability just from what I see on the streets and in the news. And loool! Bags of kittens? Imaginative!

      1. I have no magic answers here, no one does. I have my opinion and that is that there are other options for discipline. I’m sure there are countless studies that will confirm that.

        My comment was more of a tongue-in-cheek one, about one parent spanking the other…that’s all.

    1. I’m not so sure there are a ton of studies that really test the efficacy of alternative options for discipline. I know there are a lot of studies about the damages of abuse and the damages of corporal punishment, but I really see the other options offered by the parenting gurus as poorly thought out, as afterthoughts. I mean they’re mostly good things that we absolutely should try first, before punishing, but there isn’t much help if they don’t work, and parents are kind of left to fall back to the old methods.

  42. I have not had to spank my children in several years. They are 10 and 7, and other than ADD/impulsivity disorder in the oldest (which in no way is related) I see no ill effects from the deserved punishment.
    Mind you, it was only administered for the most heinous infractions (ie. lying, blatant disrespect, etc.), and I always gave them a three count. Now, I don’t even have to finish saying one, and they straighten up, usually. It never goes past two, though.

      1. Yes, they have. No, I’m not particularly happy about it. Our family and friends are of the “children should be seen, not heard” persuasion, so we’ve done what we could to accommodate them.
        Is that wrong? Must assuredly. Am I trying to change? Also, yes. It’s a long, hard road for me, especially without societal/familial support.

    1. wms – yeah, we had the experience of no support, even though my on-laws were always around, because we struck out with the family bed, no mealtimes, no bedtimes, and no punishing at all. Everyone around us was normal, so we couldn’t get any support our way, and we would hand our babies over, so really, no babysitting, no relief at all.
      That’s one of my big concerns, that if kids get fewer real-world consequences, ALL they learn is about us. We need to learn about more than just what makes our parents mad, we need to learn everything else too.
      Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s