Childrearing

Don’t Spank Your Kid Just Because Your Parents Spanked You

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shutterstock_195558152There’s something that rubs me the wrong way about parents who do something “just because their parents did.” I’ve heard this a hundred times, and I’ve been guilty of it myself. But I believe that part of being a loving, open-minded parent is to question everything that you do and determine whether or not it will benefit your specific child, even if it has been passed down from previous generations.

This is your parenting game, not anyone else’s. That is why it is almost physically painful for me to hear people justify their decision to spank for precisely this reason: “My parents spanked me, and I turned out fine.”

I was this close to making the same decision for my family, until I questioned the practice and realized that I don’t support spanking in any way, shape, or form. My husband and I were both raised in religious homes, and for this reason, we were both spanked often as kids. The whole “spare the rod” mentality made spanking an unquestionable part of the Christian parenting practice. In our households, you spanked kids when they acted up. That’s just what you did.

But there are many things that my parents did that I don’t plan on doing. Spanking is one of them. I don’t necessarily hold spanking against my mother or feel that I was physically abused, but I don’t see any reason to repeat the practice with my kids. I can think of literally dozens of other ways to deal with an issue than to get physical with my child, even if it is a quick spank intended to “get their attention.” Nope.

When this topic was brought up on Reddit, many parents who questioned the practice of spanking passed down from their forefathers had great perspective on the issue:

It doesn’t really work. If you’re spanking a toddler or a preschooler, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a kid that hits other kids. Now, hitting is developmentally normal for the short ones, but if you’ve been hitting the kid too, you’ve got no ground to stand on when you say, “Hey! No Hitting!” Good luck there. I reserved “hitting” for REALLY extreme emergencies, like a child reaching for a pan of boiling water.

I absolutely abhor spanking in any form. I think it is cruel and lazy. It teaches a child to fear the people who are supposed to protect them, and teaches that hitting someone smaller than you is acceptable. The argument I hear most often in defense of hitting children is “Well, I was spanked, and I turned out fine!” That is absolute nonsense – you think that hitting your kid is okay, so in my opinion, no, you did not turn out fine. It astounds me how people equate the results of spanking children with teaching respect. IMO, it’s more about breaking the child’s will and humiliating them into acting how the adult wants them to.

When I worked in a prison, it shocked me at first that no one had guns or other weapons. It was explained to me like very simply, and a light bulb went off after i thought for 30 seconds: “When you carry a weapon in a prison, you’ve just brought a weapon into a prison.” When you start using physical violence in your family, you’ve just introduced physical violence into your family.

Thank you, brilliant posters of Reddit. Cruel and lazy? Check. Unnecessary physical violence? Check. Instilling fear in a young child? Check, check, check. Parents, I know that we all mean well and are trying to do the best for our kids, but please take a minute to question this practice of spanking. Don’t continue to spank your kid just because your parents spanked you.

(Image: Oksana Kuzmina/Shutterstock)

255 Comments

    • Jennifer Freeman

      June 6, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      Cue the “Mommyish always talks about not judging others but this is judgy” people. They are coming.

    • CMJ

      June 6, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      And the cliques! Don’t forget how cliquey we are and how we jump all over people who disagree!!

    • Jennifer Freeman

      June 6, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      That’s right. Because none of us ever disagree. We all drank the KoolAid and act like a pack of rabid wolves when someone disagrees with something posted on the site.

    • CMJ

      June 6, 2014 at 12:14 pm

      I wonder if some people realize that when people disagree, as a group, it’s prooobbbbbbably not us with the wonky view.

    • Kendra

      June 6, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      Honestly, if they continue to fight tooth and nail, they don’t get it. There have been NUMBEROUS times that discussions here have made me rethink how I was looking at it. It doesn’t always change my view complete (re: drinking the koolaid), but it does give me perspective into better seeing the other side. Some people just can’t admit that MAYBE they aren’t 100% right.

    • Kendra

      June 6, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      LOL. Numberous. Good lord. This is why I shouldn’t use caps lock. NUMEROUS**

    • Jennifer Freeman

      June 6, 2014 at 12:31 pm

      I kind of like numberous. 🙂 My nephew once told us that he got so sick he vominated at school. The word caught on so much that I have found myself using it in regular conversation and wondering why people are looking at me funny.

    • CanLeigh

      June 6, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      Vominated is my new favorite word.

    • Jezebeelzebub

      June 8, 2014 at 1:00 am

      Vominated just went on my list along with “poopinin”. As in “Don’t open the door, Ma- I’m poopinin’ in here!” Also “shalad”, which is just how I happen to pronounce “salad” now.

    • Harriet Meadow

      June 6, 2014 at 12:34 pm

      I like “numberous” too!

    • CMJ

      June 6, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      I seriously feel like when I disagree with someone, I will rarely get into with them unless they start insulting me or just being a huge jerk…

    • Kendra

      June 6, 2014 at 12:20 pm

      Me too. I’m happy to debate politely, and agree to disagree. But if you call me stupid or fat or something like that…well…AH HELLZ NAH!

    • CMJ

      June 6, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      Oh, I’m sorry – you just called me stupid and I’m supposed to politely converse with you???

      NOPE.

    • Kendra

      June 6, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      I LOVE when they call me stupid and then I snap, and they come back with “Why are you being so rude?!” talk. Seriously people?

    • whiteroses

      June 6, 2014 at 8:11 pm

      This. So much this.

    • Jennifer Freeman

      June 6, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      Right? And not just a small cluster of folks, but a group of people who are from different genders, ethnicities, races, sexes, financial backgrounds, geographic locations, etc.

    • pixie

      June 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      FUCK YOU, CMJ! You’re just blinded by the liberal agenda, all you Sheeple!!!! OBAMA IS A TURRIST!! ur all just a bunch of bitchy liberals who have no idea what the truth is!!111!! THINK OF THE NERVE ENDINGS! big pharma is out to get us. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING!!

      Just kidding, I love you all. 🙂
      (and I couldn’t keep a straight face while writing that)

    • Megan Zander

      June 6, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      Love it #TURRIST

    • scooby23

      June 6, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      Dont ferget, der all just a bunch of dykes. DYKES!!! DYYYKKKEESSSSS!!!11!!!111!!!!!!!’nmq

    • pixie

      June 6, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      Right!

      ND UR ALL FAT N LAZY N UGLY!!! NO1 WUD WANT TO MARRy ne of u!!!111111!!!
      😉

    • scooby23

      June 7, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      ULL ALL JUsT DI ALOOne WITH UR 1550000 CATZ!!1!!!11 AND DeN UR caTz WILL eat UuUu!!111!!!211 N NooBoTYYY WLD CAR BC UR ALL ABUNCh oF HiDEeYUs CarPITt MUNCHURzzz!!!111!!!111111111111111!!!!!!!! LOLlolLOzllololo

      /s

    • whiteroses

      June 6, 2014 at 8:11 pm

      Oh, don’t forget that we’re all feminists.
      Seriously, why is that an insult? Shouldn’t that be standard in this day and age?

    • pixie

      June 6, 2014 at 9:26 pm

      Ah, of course, the feminist “insult”.
      Some people are just a little cray cray. Ok, a lot cray cray. And their craziness makes me laugh and cry at the same time.

    • C.J.

      June 6, 2014 at 10:44 pm

      I’m not a feminist or a liberal, I’m just me and I hate labels. Does that mean I don’t get to play??

    • pixie

      June 6, 2014 at 10:48 pm

      You can play, too 🙂

      With the way some of the crazies seem to think, you’d be lumped in with the rest of us no matter what you do or don’t identify as.

    • C.J.

      June 6, 2014 at 10:56 pm

      They can go ahead and lump me in, I agree with everyone here most of the time anyway and even if I don’t agree I support other people’s rights and choices. I probably just confuse people 😉

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      yeah but it also makes me sad when some of my fave readers #ragequit, like tea and Meteor echo 🙁

    • Megan Zander

      June 6, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      I miss Tea, he had such a unique POV 🙁 plus we were same state buddies.

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      *pours one out for Tea*

    • Emil

      June 6, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      wait, is Tea gone? like for good? I’m sad now. I loved his point of view.

    • Mystik Spiral

      June 6, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      I’m here. 🙂

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      I know I messed up but I always miss you anyway

    • itpainsme2say

      June 6, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      Wait that what happened to tea I’ve been wondering also where is Socks/Robot/Stiffler

    • pixie

      June 6, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      Socks trolled too hard on CNN and his ip address got banned from disqus 🙁
      And I forget why tea and meteor echo #ragequit, but it was recent-ish

    • itpainsme2say

      June 6, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      What! they can do stuff like that, so he can never come back?

    • pixie

      June 6, 2014 at 6:17 pm

      Apparently 🙁

    • C.J.

      June 6, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      Wow, I haven’t been on a whole lot lately. I missed that!

    • Emil

      June 6, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      me too, I want to know what drove him off

    • C.J.

      June 6, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      That makes me sad, I enjoyed reading their comments 🙁

    • C.J.

      June 6, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      I have been kinda busy lately. Had 3 fundraisers running at the same time. How did I miss this, hope they come back. Loved reading their comments 🙁

    • scooby23

      June 8, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      Wait, whAt? When? Why? This can’t happen! No no no no no!

      OK,I think I’m gonna go cry now.

    • Nikkers

      June 6, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      Be careful with saying that just because you agree or disagree as a group it means you are right. There are a great many instances in history where people agreed as a group and were wrong. Ie: the world being flat. Charles Manson followers. Nazi germany. Anyone who likes sushi and/or Nickelback.

      Okay those last two were silly.

      Point being, the majority isn’t always the “right” view. Sometimes the majority view is “wonky”.

    • CMJ

      June 6, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      While I don’t agree with your analogies (many people disagreed with Nazis and Charles Manson)…I do understand what yore saying….I hoped I had clarified that I completely agree with disagreeing with the masses….but please don’t be a jerk to me and expect me (or anyone else) to be okay with that.

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      That made me kinda sad because I like to think that we are all pretty welcoming here 🙁

    • CMJ

      June 6, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      It made me sad too. I actually get fairly defensive when I think about it because I think we are respectful but, like anything in life, when provoked or attacked, we do react.

      I really think sometimes people can’t understand that a disagreement doesn’t mean we are cliquey, it just means we disagree…sometimes more people will disagree with a person than others…but maybe that’s because you have the outlying opinion.

      ETA: I’ve been all over comments sections of other sites…and let me tell you, Mommyish is NOTHING compared to some of them.

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      besides, we have some awesome readers, I’m looking at YOU CW and you Ny Bond lady, who usually disagree with the majority of us but who can comment in a normal way and have discussions and don’t get all wah wah about it

    • JenH1986

      June 6, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      Even though we disagree with CW and NYBondLady a little more frequently than others, they obviously don’t feel “bullied” or picked on because they come back and comment. But again they seem rational and don’t take disagreements personally. Others? not so much. Disagreeing means we hate them…all.

    • scooby23

      June 6, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      Or it means that we are “paid trolls” that are obviously there to “attack” them.

    • Jezebeelzebub

      June 8, 2014 at 12:56 am

      I COULD BE A PAID TROLL! ME, ME, LET ME DO IT. I will vehemently disagree with anybody, and I can use the big words or the nasty words, or a stunning combination of both big AND nasty. OMG, please somebody pay me to be a great big a-hole… I do it every day for free but if I could make a living at it, that would be swell.

    • scooby23

      June 8, 2014 at 4:05 pm

      YES. Seriously, where can I sign up? We should start a paid troll company together… Jezebeelzebub and Scooby23 Troll Firm: Get a Good Pay for Ruining Someone’s Day

    • Jezebeelzebub

      June 8, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      IT’S BRILLIANT. You’re brilliant.

    • scooby23

      June 9, 2014 at 3:06 pm

      No, WE’RE brilliant. Everyone, be prepared, because us two are about to take over the internetz as you know it.

    • Jennifer Freeman

      June 9, 2014 at 7:19 am

      Also, don’t forget misspellings. Misspellings are key to being a good troll.

    • Jennifer Freeman

      June 6, 2014 at 12:33 pm

      There are always people who seem to think that everyone else must agree with them at all costs. Those are the people I can’t stand, because their stance seems to imply that no one else has a valid opinion.

    • Ursi

      June 6, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      SERIOUSLY this place is tame

    • Kitsune

      June 6, 2014 at 1:06 pm

      I’ve felt welcomed. I tend to lurk on forums and never comment because I’m usually too anxious but everyone here seemed supportive with just the right amount of snark and silliness so I’ve felt safe to comment. Do these people agree with their friends on everything? Why would the internet be any different? I like the various opinions and experiences on here, it helps me think critically about my own parenting choices, whether or not my opinion is changed.

    • rennieboy

      October 10, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      No way. Unless you’re totally creeped out and ready to vomit, you’re not welcome.

    • scooby23

      June 6, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      I especially love it when they jump all over us for being “judgy” but then come right back and call us a bunch of terrible horrible no good very bad sheeple lezbos.

    • whiteroses

      June 6, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      Love your allusion to the “Alexander” books.

    • scooby23

      June 7, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      Now I want to write to write a Mommyish comment section version of the series. It’ll be about this poor, innocent little troll getting “attacked” by us horrid Mommyishers.

      “And then, big bad whiteroses told ProudMamaToBreezelynn “But there is no scientific evidence that formula feeding messes up your kid for life!” And so ProudMamaToBreezelynn said “WHHHAAHH! Yes there is! Naturalorganicantiformulafeeders.net told me! Your just a terrible horrible no good very bad sheeplike lezbo!”

    • whiteroses

      June 8, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      Wow. Sadly, you’ve pretty much summed up most of my conversations on here for the last two weeks or so.
      I stick around for the cool people 🙂

    • scooby23

      June 9, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      Me too, whiteroses, me too

  1. Kendra

    June 6, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Yikes…I’m going to just go ahead and sit back here and observe on this one. Best of luck, fellow commenters…may the odds be in your favor!

  2. wispy

    June 6, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    I can say that I definitely never “learned my lesson” from the belt/wooden spoon/whatever. It just gave me serious anger problems. My husband was never spanked or yelled at as a child and he is the most level-headed, unconfrontational person I have met in my life. Before I met him I was always ready to fight and I am so ashamed and embarrassed of some of the things I have done out of anger. When I met him I was shocked when he wouldn’t fight back with me when I would pick fights and it was like I saw the light, like really? People can just NOT fight? Or yell? Or hit each other? I am so lucky I met him and was able to change.

    • Rachel Sea

      June 6, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      I can not remember a single reason why I was ever hit, I only remember that I did something that made my mom mad so she hit me. In retrospect I don’t think my mom hit me out of anger, but when I was a little kid I didn’t know that, I just learned to be afraid of doing anything she didn’t like. I have a terrible time trying not to bottle anger or shy from conflict, and it is unquestionably a reaction to my mom’s attempts to discipline.

    • wispy

      June 6, 2014 at 1:32 pm

      That is the reaction my sister had from all of it. If she is mad she basically can’t even talk. I think when she gets mad at her husband she just goes into her room for 5 days and then emerges like nothing happened and he is left bewildered because she won’t even say what upset her in the first place. She is also terrified of having kids because she doesn’t want them to be terrified of her. Sad.

    • Rachel Sea

      June 6, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      My wife finds it frustrating as hell that I can’t talk to her when I’m mad. If I try I end up crying instead, and then I still can’t talk about it, and I’m even more mad because I’m crying and I don’t want to be. I need 10 minutes or an hour or whatever to stop being mad and then I can talk about it, but mostly by the time I can talk about it I don’t care anymore, because I’m not mad.

    • candyvines

      June 6, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      Oh, you might be me. I hate this about me.

    • Rachel Sea

      June 6, 2014 at 2:45 pm

      I loathe that I cry when I’m angry, it is so goddamn useless.

    • Guest

      June 6, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      I also HATE crying. Whenever I cry my husband gets scared because, “you’ve only cried like three times since I’ve met you”. His family cries all the damn time but that just isn’t how I was raised. It certainly didn’t help that my dad got kicks out of seeing how quickly he could make me cry.

    • SunnyD847

      June 6, 2014 at 6:05 pm

      My mom didn’t just spank us. We had ritual beatings with our siblings as witnesses. She usually used belts or spatulas. She also flew into rages and threw things at us. Once she picked up a pan of hot oil off the stove and threw at my brother. My sister is more like her (verbally but not physically abusive),while I am almost pathetically non-confrontational. I will actually send my husband an email to let him know I’m upset about something because I am afraid to piss him off (he has never done anything reinforce this, just childhood trauma.) I love my mom and I have come to accept that she was overwhelmed by motherhood and a husband who was either deployed or gone for good, but we were absolutely terrified of her as kids. She has managed to completely rewrite our childhoods in her mind. I do not hit my kids.

  3. brebay

    June 6, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Your parents probably dug in your ears with Q-tips too, and made you tilt your head back when you had a bloody nose & swallow your own blood, and stand still when a bee was nearby. Now we know better, and didn’t they also teach you to go to school and learn new things and be intelligent? Q-tips cause impaction and you’re supposed to have some wax in your ears (unless you want bugs nesting in there). Leaning your head back will not stop a nose-bleed, picking or blowing out the bleeding clot will. You can out-run a bee. And spanking makes kids resentful, distrustful, less able to resolve conflict, more likely to bully and more prone to all manner of emotional problems. Also, most of them get bigger than you before they turn 18, so if you can only control them physically, you’re screwed.

  4. Theresa Edwards

    June 6, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Spanking taught me not to get caught.

    • Harriet Meadow

      June 6, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      To be fair, I think most methods of punishment do that. =)

    • Ursi

      June 6, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      This is my theory on punishment out of anger, period.

      When you react before thinking you’re teaching a child to avoid the reaction at all costs.

  5. Alex

    June 6, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Of all the reasons a parent might spank, “because my parents spanked me and I turned out fine” would be one of the worst. And yes, that applies to a bunch of other parenting practices.

    Except, that’s really not how that phrase is used. It’s a response against a belief that spanking has the potential to screw kids up later in life.

    So it’s not used as a reason to spank, regardless of whether their parents spanked or not; it’s used as a rebuttal to a counterargument.

    • K.

      June 6, 2014 at 5:01 pm

      Right–the whole sort “Well, research shows it’s detrimental to kids, but I dodged the bullet, so hey! Let’s shoot again!”

      I mean, I grew up eating BPAs and pesticides and a diet heavy on sugar, carbs, and packaged foods and I “turned out okay.” Doesn’t mean I’m going to start feeding my kid that way.

  6. Harriet Meadow

    June 6, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    I have to say that this has single-handedly changed my mind about spanking. I’ve heard a lot of back and forth on the issue, and I was always pretty indifferent about it. Here’s the thing: I was never PLANNING to spank, but I was open to the idea if I felt it was “necessary.” After all, my parents did spank me, and I did turn out fine (and I don’t feel like I was abused or anything). But the reasons outlined here for *not* spanking have really changed my mind. I have to say that I’m no longer not planning to spank; I’m planning NOT to spank. =)

    • Bethany Ramos

      June 6, 2014 at 12:49 pm

      Wow that made me so happy 🙂

    • Tazlima

      June 6, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      Yaay! And don’t worry about all that “spare the rod and spoil the child” stuff. My brother and I were NOT spanked as children and we also turned out fine.

      Looking back, my parents’ non-spanking discipline techniques must have been effective, because in addition to being in good shape as adults, my brother and I were pretty darn well-behaved kids. The worst thing I did as a teenager was sneak out once at 8:00 on a Friday night, walk to my friend’s house, and see if she wanted to also sneak out and we’d go to the movies. She couldn’t go, so I snuck back home.

      (I’m such a rebel.)

      When my mother found out (because of course she did), she asked why I just didn’t ask to go to the movies, since she totally would have let me go. At the time I didn’t know how to explain that I felt like it was my duty as a teenager to do bad things, so I gave it a shot.

      My brother’s teenage shenanigans were equally minor.

    • Tazlima

      June 6, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      One other thing. Once I was grown, my mother explained her rationale for not spanking us. She made an excellent point which I have taken to heart.

      “Your father and I don’t hit each other. We don’t hit the neighbors, or your teachers, or any other adults. If it’s not OK to hit them, why would it be OK to hit the smallest and weakest members of society?”

    • Bethany Ramos

      June 6, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      Thank you.

    • Mystik Spiral

      June 6, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      That is one of my favorite arguments against spanking. If you hit an adult, you’re gonna get charged with assault. Hit a kid, why is it OK just because you made that kid?

    • Guest

      June 6, 2014 at 3:06 pm

      That pretty well sums it up. My husband and I do smack each other around in jest but obviously I would never go and smack him in anger so why would I do that to my kid.

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      June 6, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      I waffled back on forth on the issue and tried spanking for a short time and realized that I felt physically sick every time I resorted to it. It just made the situation worse and made me feel like an ogre. I was also spanked as a child by my mom and we are close to this day, but it just really isn’t for me. I honestly wish I could go back in time and never used it as a discipline method at all.

    • Jax Beckett

      June 7, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      Alanna I couldn’t agree with you more. I was spanked as a child and I have 3 children of my own and can’t spank them. Its degrading and my wife and I have found talking to them about their choices and the consequences of their actions works a lot better.

  7. Mystik Spiral

    June 6, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    My mom will say that a lot “You kids were spanked and you all turned out fine”. Well, actually mom, if you think about it… Speaking only for myself, I am a recovering addict with a lifetime of severely low self-esteem that I finally started making some headway on after my 40th birthday. I avoid conflict to the point that I will tell you what you want to hear just to avoid rocking the boat. I am insecure in just about every major decision that I make and no matter how hard I try, I cannot stop second-guessing myself. All. The. Time. I’m sure my siblings have problems of their own too.

    Now, do these issues necessarily have anything to do with getting spanked? Maybe, maybe not, there’s really no way to say for sure. But I definitely CAN argue the assertion that I “turned out fine”.

    • Lilly

      June 6, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      I see this a lot with my father’s family — they are all kind of a little messed up, but are always saying things like “I was spanked and turned out fine”, “i was spanked as a child and all it taught me was respect for others”

    • SunnyD847

      June 6, 2014 at 6:13 pm

      I am so with you on the conflict avoidance. Except, I have terrible road rage (not aggressive or dangerous driving just a lot of impatience and swearing.) I guess that is my release.

    • pixie

      June 6, 2014 at 9:49 pm

      I wasn’t spanked as a kid, but I still avoid conflicts as much as I can and also yell and swear at other drivers (not that they can hear me in my car, though). No idea why I’m like that, except I just don’t like conflict (I’ll usually shy away from heated internet debates, too) and can’t stand shitty drivers.

    • rennieboy

      October 10, 2014 at 9:17 pm

      Yeah, I’m so with you…I’m like totally creeped out…I mean, right off the chart! Ewwwwwwwwwwwww!

  8. Ursi

    June 6, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    IT’s weird how spanking in childhood can influence a person.

    I was spanked and because of it I would NEVER spank a child. My spouse was spanked and he thinks it’s a great way to discipline for serious offenses. It’s a good thing we aren’t having any kids because I told him on no uncertain terms before we married that if he ever laid a hand on a child of ours in discipline we would have a problem.

    I think it’s child abuse. He doesn’t. Who’s to say who’s right when both of us had similar experiences? I dunno. I remember being paddled and sent to my room to cry until I couldn’t catch my breath. I remember living in fear of the parent who did the spanking. I remember being told “Don’t hit!” and then spanked as a punishment.

    I could not raise a child that way.

    • Ursi

      June 6, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      Okay I’m going to tell a little story here that I’m not proud of.

      When I was a teen I babysat sometimes. I’ve never been fond of younger kids but there was a lovely girl I used to take care of in my teens. She was no trouble except sometimes she was kind of a practical joker and one day she did something that infuriated me. I remember a feeling of tension and rage flooding through me and I FELT that I was about to strike her. I was about to strike her right across the face and I remember the jolt of shame that followed. I didn’t hit that girl but I came SO close. I came so close to hitting a child. The reaction; raw fury divorced from any sympathy for her young age, scared me shitless. Literally made me question whether I was a truly evil person. And I know the look on my face was one I saw on the face of my parent every time I was grabbed and spanked for messing up. No, I was never punched or slapped, I was always paddled on the bottom, but the urge to strike out at that child any way I could was strong.

      You will never convince me that spanking didn’t do that. Never ever. You will never convince me there is no correlation between kids who were spanked and adults who resort to violence. I know I was practically a kid myself but does that sound like something a well-adjusted human being would do?

    • Bethany Ramos

      June 6, 2014 at 1:10 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing. Really, I think everyone has been there at least once.

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 1:15 pm

      Oh ursi I wanna hug your teen self. 🙁 I think what you felt was totally normal and even though I’m glad you did not hit her I feel bad for you too, like what the hell teens ARE impulsive and easily stressed out etc

    • Kitsune

      June 6, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      I was terrified while I was pregnant that this would happen to me with my son because I have had the same impulse. I’ve worked really hard to manage my anger and it hasn’t remotely been an issue but I still get anxious about it. I feel that there’s enough of a correlation to make me never want to hit my own children.

    • wispy

      June 6, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      I did the same thing as a teenager to my sister. I have no clue what I was even mad about but she whispered “you are acting just like mom right now” and I wanted to die.

    • Kresaera

      June 7, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      I totally know exactly how you feel. My son is 11 (soon to be 12) and he has the full blown pre-teen attitude to go with it. There are SO many times that I have come SO close to just slapping the shit outta his smart little mouth, but then I remind myself that he’s just going through the biggest change of his life and he really can’t help it. I was also spanked as a child. I have swatted my kids on the bottom for serious offenses, running away, reaching for a hot pan, things that could REALLY hurt them, but I haven’t had to do that since they turned 5ish.

      My husband however, believes whole heartedly in spanking. This is one of the biggest things we fight about.

    • KaeTay

      June 6, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      See it sounds more like you were beat not spanked. I was spanked hell my mom even used a wooden spoon once (something I won’t do) but I don’t have a single tramatizing memory from my spankings. My mom used object st in her spankings.. the use of soap (for mouth not spanking) are the more powerful memories for me.

      I spank but it’s a rare occurrence and it’s usually a tap on the butt which Is effective. I also plan to use soap as a punishment for when she thinks she’s allowed to be mouthy with me.

      The people I know, who weren’t spanked act like spoiled brats and their children are violent and brats as well ( I ended the friendship the moment their son tried to harm my daughter and no punishment was delivered). I think spanking is ok if it’s done right. If you’re wailing on a kid you are doing it wrong.

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      I love nothing more than a mouthy little girl. NOTHING MORE. Yeah, when they get to be teens and are evil mean I can see maybe wanting to soap them up but I’m all for small girls speaking their minds and having their own opinions.

    • wispy

      June 6, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      I know it. I have a pretty “mouthy” almost 4 y.o. and when she balls her fists up and stretches that little neck out as far as it will go to insist on something, I secretly love it and hope she’s like that for the rest of her life.

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      amen amen amen.

    • K.

      June 6, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      I would video tape it. And show it at the inauguration 🙂

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      June 6, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      Man, me too. I used to be a nanny for a family of 5 kids and my favorite one was this bossy ass 4-year-old girl. She was the shit, I respected her so much that none of her antics pissed me off because she was just NOT. FUCKING. HAVING. IT.

    • Kresaera

      June 7, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      I also have a very confident 6 year old girl. She knows what she wants and she won’t stop until she gets it. I always tell her that I hope she keeps her spunk!

    • candyvines

      June 6, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      KaeTay, I’ve noticed that sometimes someone will make a comment on something and you will swoop in and correct them. Ursi said she was spanked, not beaten. I was spanked as a child also and have a very similar opinion to Ursi’s. Please don’t brush off our experiences because they don’t mirror yours.

    • Cruelty Cupcake

      June 6, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      So much kinder than the comment I was going to leave!

    • candyvines

      June 6, 2014 at 8:47 pm

      I try to be a kind cupcake 🙂

    • K.

      June 6, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      …How is spanking ‘done right’? I’m really just asking; I was never spanked so it looks barbaric to me.

    • Ursi

      June 6, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      And yet my parents would tell you I was spanked and not beaten.

      Which is another reason I find the whole thing distasteful. I don’t see a clear line. I had my mouth washed out with soap too. I never feared that the way I feared the spankings up I’m pretty sure that’s considered abuse most places. Where’s the line? How hard do you have to hit the child before you’re abusing your child? Why the butt and not the face? Why the hand and not the belt?

      And if adults don’t agree on where the line is between spanking and hitting then are children supposed to even begin to feel about that?

    • Allen

      June 6, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      See, I think this, in itself, is a great reason not to spank. I think people who use the “I turned out fine” reasoning take for granted that since they’re okay, their kids will be, too. That’s not always the case. Some kids grow up feeling like you do.

    • Mette

      June 8, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      In Denmark it’s against the law to hit a child, and I would definitely call it child abuse. That being said, there have been several occations where I have had an urge to smack my 4 yr old when he’s acting like an asshole. I usually turn around and walk away until I get my shit together.

  9. Timba

    June 6, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    I absolutely 100% disagree with the notion that if you spank your child, you’re teaching them that it is okay hit other people. There’s a HUGE difference between spanking as a punishment and hitting someone because you’re angry or frustrated or want their toy. It is our job as a parent to teach the difference.

    • Jennifer Freeman

      June 6, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      But it boils down to the same thing – resolving an issue with hitting.

    • Timba

      June 6, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      See, I don’t think so. Spanking (for me at least) is not a resolution. It is a stopgap. An attention-getter, if you will. There are times a behaviour needs to be stopped immediately. There are instances when I do not have time to explain to my son why, for example, spraying the bleach spray is not a good idea or putting x in his (or his sister’s) mouth is dangerous. It is never done in anger, it is not the default, and it is always followed directly with an explanation.

      I think it is just as bad to completely write off a form of punishment as it is to say that its okay just because your parents did it. With all things, moderation and circumstance are key.

      I’m not gonna say it’s right for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it is WRONG.

    • Jennifer Freeman

      June 6, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      I understand what you are saying (and honestly, how you care for your children doesn’t impact me so I don’t want you to think I’m being antagonistic). What I don’t understand about this line of argument – that it is used to quickly stop a child from doing something harmful – is that the child is already within arm’s reach. It owuld be just as quick to grab the child or whatever they were about to touch as a preventative measure.

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      yeah idk, I think spanking a kid only proves you are bigger and stronger and you can physically hurt them if you don’t like something they do.

    • Stacy Shain

      June 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      I agree! You can be smart, and teach your child there are non violent ways to solve an issue, tools they can use later in life. It is illegal to hit other people if they piss you off, so why hit someone who is a small child who you are supposed to love. I feel hitting a child breaks there spirit, and makes them have low self esteem. And the people who put the kids pants down and spank, I can imagine the kid feels violated….?!

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      word and word

    • Rachel Sea

      June 6, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      How is a little kid supposed to tell that you are hitting to punish, and not because you are angry? Does a kid even care whether you hit them on the butt vs the legs or the back or the hands? When I was little, getting hit was getting hit, no nuance about it.

    • Guest

      June 6, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      Yes! My dad at some point heard the whole thing about explaining to a kid why you’ve spanked them and that you love them. I don’t give a shit if you say you love me after you sneak attacked me and paddled me until I cried. It literally ENRAGED me. I had many anger issues and I’ve worked my way through most of them where if I’m losing my shit I may throw something but I will no longer feel like smacking someone.

    • Nikkers

      June 6, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      Sneak attacked? That’s horrible. *hug*

    • Jennifer Freeman

      June 6, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      This is a good point. All I ever got out of being spanked/hit was that I was small and powerless.

    • moonie27

      June 7, 2014 at 1:45 am

      All I ever got out of it was anger and a determination not to be forced to do things by people stronger than I am.

    • moonie27

      June 7, 2014 at 1:44 am

      But you are teaching them it’s okay to hit other people. You are teaching your kids that there are times and places where it is acceptable to hit someone who is doing something you don’t like. You are teaching them that violence can be justified.
      Frankly, I think the only time violence can be justified is if someone’s life/well-being is in danger and there is no other option. Spanking does not fall into that category, so to me, when you spank a child, you are saying, “because you did something I didn’t like, and because I am bigger and stronger than you are, I can hit you.”
      Not the kind of world I want to live in.

    • Véronique Houde

      June 8, 2014 at 11:01 am

      You have to see it from a child’s perspective -a child who bsees things not in shades of grey but as black and white. A child eho makes sense of the world by setting up rules. If you hit when they do something wrong, they learn “when soneone does something wrong and it makes you mad, the normal reaction is to hit them”. Kids don’t have the ability to think critically about things in an adult way.

  10. Rachel Sea

    June 6, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Why would anyone want want their kids to be “just fine”? That’s a pretty low bar.

  11. ted3553

    June 6, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    bethany, I’m sure you’ll appreciate this since it involves Dr. Phil. I was watching his show one day and he was talking about spanking. I was spanked and haven’t suffered because of it and had always figured it likely that i’d spank my kids. He made a comment that parent’s spank when they’re angry and frustrated and that what you’ve done is say that when you’re frustrated or angry, it’s ok to hit. I’m supposed to be the adult and I should know how to control my anger to a toddler better than to hit them. It really stuck with me and I’ve changed my philosophy to doing my very best not to spank and to better control my anger or frustration.

    • Bethany Ramos

      June 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      Yes, thank you for this!! I am pretty sure Dr. Phil is my real father.

  12. Kitsune

    June 6, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    I’m pretty sure that spanking, along with being hit in general as a child are why I have always had such huge issues controlling my temper and my first instinct when mad is to lash out. I see no reason to ever hit my child barring something like the example of swatting their hand away from boiling water. I’m definitely in the camp of not doing things just because my parents did them.

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      YEP. I have smacked a hand in that circumstance and I have swatted a butt when a toddler ran out into traffic, IN ANGER, which I am not proud of. but here’s the deal, to me that is a normal impulse down out of fear and angry, I hate when they say “never hit in anger” because it creeps me out more, like a parent sits and stews with the thousand yard stare and then an hour later spanks their kid?

      http://24.media.tumblr.com/b9a3bd95c2766c614147c529e8757410/tumblr_mjaq68imT11r2dssko1_500.gif

    • Bethany Ramos

      June 6, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      this wasn’t supposed to be funny, but… thousand yard stare – lololol.

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      It just reminds me of this so much like some crazy mad person just fuming and then deciding OK IT’S BEATIN’ TIIIIIME

    • Bethany Ramos

      June 6, 2014 at 1:15 pm

      Stop making me laugh on this thread!!!!

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      well, idk, to me it is awful but kinda funny because I do totally have this POV like what kind of freaky freak would fucking hit some tiny kid for just being a tiny kid? UGH

    • Bethany Ramos

      June 6, 2014 at 1:23 pm

      YUP.

    • SunnyD847

      June 6, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      My mom would totally do that. You’d get in trouble out in public and she’d tell you that you were in for it at home. You’d feel anxious, but then everything would sort of feel fine. You might even forget. But, walk in the front door at it’d be “go get the belt.” I think that is WAY worse than a swat on the butt when a kid is about to run into traffic.

    • Ursi

      June 6, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      I guess maybe if they built a spanking android it would bring about world peace

  13. Frannie

    June 6, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Welp… My parents spanked me, and I didn’t turn out fine. I grew up to fear my parents (and now, resent them), and fear getting into trouble to such a degree that I missed out on having a fun childhood for fear of the repercussions. The only method I learned for dealing with my anger was violence and now that I have my own kids, I find myself just yelling a lot instead of being in control of the situation. I will NEVER spank my kids, but I wish I had been given the tools to deal with my frustration while I was young instead of having to wing it as an adult and feel like a failure.

    • Rachel Sea

      June 6, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      Oh man, I just want to give you a hug and a cocktail. I learned how to be in control by rote, practicing the steps over and over, but I always feel like I’m hanging on my my fingernails.

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 1:05 pm

      getting in on this hug and cocktail party.

    • Frannie

      June 6, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      I’m so there!!!!

    • Frannie

      June 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      This is sort of what I’m doing now- I have been giving myself a sticker on the calendar every day I don’t yell, and it’s really helping to be able to see my progress- it motivates me to keep going because I’ve already made it so far.

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      June 6, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      This is a great idea! I’ve been working really hard on patience as well. A visual reminder is not a bad way to go.

    • Clever name

      June 6, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      Oh, this is me. The only thing spanking ever taught me was to be afraid of my mother. I can honestly say that to this day I am still a little afraid of her. I also vowed that I would never spank my own kids (and I don’t), but I definitely feel like I lack the skills to keep my cool when I get upset with my kids, and I find myself yelling more than I should. I think I’ve gotten better with time, but it sucks not feeling capable. 🙁

    • Frannie

      June 6, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      We were doing a reward chart for DD if she does all her homework and gets ready for school/bed without whining, and I finally decided that I should do something similar for myself. So now I give myself a sticker on the calendar every day I don’t yell (traffic doesn’t count!) and when I get 100 stickers I’m going to treat myself to a pedicure or something. It’s really helping me be more aware of my yelling- not because there’s a reward attached, but because I see those stickers and I can physically see my progress, and it would suck to go back to square one.

    • Clever name

      June 6, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      That actually sounds like a great idea! maybe I will try something like that.

    • wispy

      June 6, 2014 at 3:25 pm

      That is an amazing idea.

    • K.

      June 6, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      You sound like an amazing person, and probably an amazing mom.

      ((hugs))

    • Frannie

      June 6, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      Thank you 🙂 I’m trying!

    • Kresaera

      June 7, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      I find myself yelling a lot too. I never feared my parents and don’t have any negative memories of being spanked, but I have no clue how to deal with my anger. My family didn’t talk about things. You got mad and left each other alone until you weren’t mad anymore, then it was all better.

  14. Nikkers

    June 6, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Nowhere in this discussion, or in the article, do we talk about how you have to parent each child differently. One punishment is not a catch all for all children. If you spank one child it may be detrimental to their self esteem and cause humiliation (especially when done in anger and not coupled with a loving talk about why the child was disciplined this way and that you still love them no matter what they do), whereas with another child a healthy fear of consequences and those in charge is the only thing that will work.

    Healthy fears are another thing that nobody has mentioned in this discussion. It is a good thing to have a healthy fear of your parents and the consequences they will set forth if you break the rules. Whether that be a fear of being grounded, spanked, toys taken away, physical labor, disappointment with oneself, etc. If we do not have healthy fears of consequences, we would do anything we wanted to as adults. Steal. Cheat. Lie. Kill.

    I was never spanked as a child. My mother was a victim of child abuse and decided not to spank. However, she did slap my mouth a couple times as a teenager when I was mouthy and I deserved it big time.

    I have spanked my children when they were younger, also my nephew. I haven’t had to spank them in a long time. They have a healthy fear of consequences and also come to me to discuss problems and emotions. I have discussed that it is alright to be angry with me when they are being punished as long as they express it in a healthy way. That I love them very much and don’t enjoy having to spank them. They were also spanked for only severe oversteps. Running out into traffic/lying/stealing chocolate for the 6th time.

    However, spanking my niece never would have worked. She would have turned inward and it would have destroyed her as a person. Everyone reacts differently to different situations.

    I know not everyone will agree with my course of parenting action, but I chose based on personal experience as well as research which is all that anyone can do. To label it “child abuse” when used as a discipline and not to hurt and humiliate is a bit far. All things have to be considered. If someone chooses not to spank, that is their prerogative as a parent, as well as it is my prerogative.

    • Jennifer Freeman

      June 6, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      I am confused. You say that spanking is about discipline not hurt or humiliation, but spanking does hurt. It is humiliating. If you don’t think that the consequences of spanking are physical pain and humiliation, what is it about spanking that you think is instilling discipline?

    • Nikkers

      June 6, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      I think most disciplines are humiliating. Many hurt as well. Feelings/physically with labor and chores/self esteem when upset with oneself/having to explain go your friends why your phone was taken away. How one handles humiliation (which everyone is bound to come across sometime in their life) is the key here. Do they accept it and move on to be better? Or do they get angry and hate themselves instead? One type of humiliation may be detrimental to a person whereas another may not. I would be deviated for most of my life if I had bathroom problems in front of someone but if I had a wardrobe malfunction it wouldn’t bother me a bit.

      I must also point out that all disciplines as adults are humiliating and hurt as well. Having your life put into the newspaper for breaking the law. Details everywhere. People talking about you. Being put into an orange suit and made to pick up trash alongside the road. Being arrested isn’t something you can do in a dignified way. It’s a smaller scale of a different discipline.

    • Jennifer Freeman

      June 6, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      Punishments are given in order to correct a specific behavior, right? If my daughter is caught stealing, I bring her back to the store, make her return the item and apologize. She learns, from this, that stealing is wrong. If she doesn’t do her chores, she doesn’t get to go out with her friends. SHe learns from this that work comes before play, and that we are all part of a family team that relies on one another to achieve things. I don’t see how hitting fits into that at all. If you hit your kid to correct them for hitting another kid, they learn what, exactly? That it is OK to hit people if you are in charge of them?

    • Nikkers

      June 6, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      I’ve been lucky that my kid has never hit another kid. Other than their siblings which is a gladiator style sort of battle I mostly stay out of. In the instance that they hit another child I would not spank. As I said, any time I spanked it was a major offense. Each situation and child is different.

    • Jennifer Freeman

      June 6, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      OK, so say you don’t spank your child for hitting another child. You basically have admitted that hitting is wrong, right? At some point your child is going to wonder why you use something on them that you acknowledge to be wrong. I can only speak from personal experience, obviously, but I can tell you that realization came pretty early for me.

    • Nikkers

      June 6, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      Your experiences and mine are different it seems. I don’t think that *all* hitting is wrong. I think that some is, unfortunately, necessary. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to use spanking as a specific discipline.

      I said in my original comment that I deserved to be slapped for being mouthy to my mother. That illustrates that I think the smack was okay. And I do to this day. She should have put me over her knee long before that for the horrific things that came out of my mouth. I should have had consequences. Nothing stopped me until the sting on my face from something I knew my mother didn’t want to do. I learned a lot in that moment. About patience. About right and wrong. About what a slap felt like.

      Hitting is also necessary when defending yourself. Hitting is necessary in many sports. Hitting is used by our police when those they are arresting are uncontrollable and not cooperating.

      Do I think hitting is always necessary? Nope. Absolutely not. But sometimes it has value. I know that is not a popular opinion here, and I’m alright being crucified by the other commenters in here for it. We don’t have to agree.

    • Jennifer Freeman

      June 6, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      We are obviously not agreeing but I hope you realize that it is more a philosophical argument and I’m not attacking you. I just like to debate things. 🙂 As for the slap, we are going to epically disagree here. I don’t see how your mom slapping you out of anger taught you patience. It seems like the opposite of patience, from my perspective. As if she was too impatient to discuss your behavior with you, so she reacted with a slap.

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      I cannot wrap my brain around having a loving talk while I am beating my kid. That being said, I can think of many teens who need a good beating. ALSO, I think you can teach a healthy fear without resorting, as a parent who kids are supposed to trust and feel safe with, with means other than your fists etc. I have a VERY MEAN PARENTING FACE.

    • Nikkers

      June 6, 2014 at 1:30 pm

      I have never “beat” my child nor used a “fist” on my child.

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      OK, semantics, open handed slap spanking, whatever

    • Nikkers

      June 6, 2014 at 1:32 pm

      Not semantics. Punching a child with a closed fist in the face is very different from smacking their clothed bottom when they reach for a hot object. One is used to get attention. The other is used to hurt SPECIFICALLY.

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      for me, personally, screaming No and just sitting them down and explaining why I yelled no seemed to work just fine

    • Nikkers

      June 6, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      And that’s great that it worked for you. It may also work for me with my daughters. My nephew? Nope. He would do it again and again. As I said, all instances are different and none of us should be telling each other what we should and should not do. That’s what I love about Mommyish. We say “hey your way is different that’s awesome! Let me explore it even though I don’t think it will work for me”

    • Nikkers

      June 6, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      Also you talk before and after any disciplines, not just a spanking.

    • Véronique Houde

      June 8, 2014 at 10:43 am

      My daughter’s imitation of my mean parenting face is scarier than my mean parentung face. When she tells her 2 wreek old brother no, she also says it with more authority than i do..? I don’t know what that says about my parenting…

    • allisonjayne

      June 6, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      I think there’s a big difference between instilling a fear of consequences and making your kid afraid of you.

      I also think most adults don’t steal, cheat, lie or kill because we see those things as being wrong. Even if I thought there was absolutely no way I would get caught, I still wouldn’t do these things. It’s called having morals.

    • Nikkers

      June 6, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      Have you ever seen “The Purge”? It’s an interesting view of what would happen without laws once a year. Morals are fantastic – but where do you learn them? From your upbringing in most cases.

      Again “healthy” fear of consequences – not me. Although I am the bringer of the consequences.

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      The Purge is a pretty dumb b-list movie that had an interesting premise and a really stupid story that people would maybe watch on cable when nothing else is on. and I do think we can teach our kids that anarchy is not the best soceital choice without spanking them.

    • Nikkers

      June 6, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      That’s great that you think that. It takes all kinds of kinds to make this world go around. Thank goodness we can disagree freely 🙂

    • Kendra

      June 6, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      Just as an FYI, you are probably the most polite disagreer that I’ve ever seen. Props to you on that.

    • Nikkers

      June 6, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      Thank you! I had many years of training in debate and “arguing professionally”. Something else I had to learn the hard way in life is that There is no reason to be snarky or impolite because someone doesn’t share your view. Every viewpoint has value.

    • Jennifer Freeman

      June 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      I intentionally watched it on Vudu and it was pretty cool. #HDY

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      I just wanted it to be so much better than it was. PURGE YOU DISAPPOINT.

    • Jennifer Freeman

      June 6, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      Did you watch You’re Next? Seriously a cool movie with a strong female lead. Also, it made me paranoid about leaving my curtains open for like a months.

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      The best plus amazing use of a totally underrated Dwight Twilley song!

    • Ursi

      June 6, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      I appreciate most of the reasoning you’ve put into your argument but bringing the the plot of The Purge into it is a little crazy extreme.

    • Nikkers

      June 6, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      That was a side thought. I should have pointed that out. Not to be used as an argument. I got carried away with my thoughts. I apologize.

    • Jennifer Freeman

      June 6, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      Interestingly, The Purge sort of illustrates exactly what I am talking about. What it showed was that those in charge (in the case of the movie, the wealthy people who could afford security systems and could afford to live in nice neighborhoods) could get away with harming those people that were subservient (in the case of the move, socio-economically). Sure, Ethan Hawke’s family was wealthy, but their downfall came from him peddling ineffective security systems. Poetic justice and all.

    • Nikkers

      June 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      Thought provoking for sure.

    • K.

      June 6, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      So I’ve been reading your argument and the thrust of it is, “Kids are different; you dont’ know my kids; parents need flexibility to do whatever works with *their kids*.” Or at least that’s how I’m understanding it–please correct me if I’m wrong.

      The problem I have with this is that for me, the logic sounds good, but the reality never seems to be what you are articulating–ie, I’ve never met a kid who “needed” to be spanked. I have a hard time imagining what kind of kid that is or what kind of scenario we are talking about that exhausts all other types of discipline (I’m talking about a formal, “you did x; now you’ll get a spanking,” not an immediate swat for emphasis when a kid was about to run into traffic).

      I’m not sure how I expect you to respond, because I don’t want this to turn into a “well, x happened” and then “but why didn’t you try y”–Monday-morning QB-style, but I seriously just don’t understand. What does the behavior have to look like to warrant physical pain in response?

    • SunnyD847

      June 6, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      Respect is different from fear, not matter how “healthy” you may feel it is. We were terrified of my mom but we did not respect her. In my case, I became a sneak and a liar.

    • moonie27

      June 7, 2014 at 1:50 am

      No. Absolutely not. You should not forgo cheating, stealing, murdering, and lying because you’re afraid of the consequences. You should forgo them because they harm other people. You should forgo them because you are empathetic and sympathetic to the plights of others, because you are a compassionate person, and because you should strive to leave this world a better place for your participation. Because you honestly believe that other people matter and thus they should be treated with respect.

      Fear of the consequences is merely motivation not to get caught. It’s not incentive to be a good person.

  15. KaeTay

    June 6, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Really? Every bully I’ve came across WASN’T spanked. The worst was this kid who hit another with a chuck of extra plywood that they had left over. The mother told the other one that the kid fell. She only smacked her son’s hand. There is a clear difference between beat and spank. My daughter gets spanking.. not hard ones and I don’t use any instruments. A spanking is delivered after every alternative fails. She also does not smack, hit, or pinch. I never acted out, I never disrespected my parents or teachers and it was because if I knew I did I would get a spanking.

    • Kendra

      June 6, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      See, and I think we should just throw the generalizations out the door on this one. Everyone I knew growing up was spanked, because that’s just how we were disciplined. Some of us grew up completely non-violent, with no anger issues, and others did not. I personally do not believe spanking has an impact either way. BEATING would be different, however. But, I really hate the spanking=bully or not spanking=bully argument. Every child is going to react differently.

    • Jennifer Freeman

      June 6, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      The problem with teaching kids that the consequences for acitons is a spanking is that they don’t learn WHY the behavior is bad. It is wrong to treat your teachers rudely because as humans and persons in authority, they deserve respect. When you are rude to them, it is hurtful and disruptive. It makes their jobs harder. Those are things that we know as adults, but a little kid who gets a spanking for acting out only knows that acting out earns them a spanking, not that their actions are harmful to others.

    • SA

      June 6, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      But the other part of that is probably almost every bully you ever knew wasn’t disciplined (different than spanking). You can’t say that it was the lack of spanking, it could have been that the behavior was ignored completely, the child never spoken to about why the behavior was wrong, and the child never disciplined. You don’t have to spank to show that bullying is wrong.

    • Mystik Spiral

      June 6, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      Exactly what I was gonna say.

  16. Kendra

    June 6, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Hmm…so I went to lunch and I came back, and I’m really surprised at how this post has turned out. I did not expect to see such a huge anti-spanking response here. I actually thought it would go the other way. Learn something new every day!

  17. allisonjayne

    June 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Here’s the thing for me about spanking: I think it’s wrong, so I don’t do it.

    Is it abuse? The law says no.

    If I find out another parent spanks their kid, I’m not going to report them to the cops or anything. I believe the laws in my area permit spanking. If I see no other signs of abuse, then the law says they are within their right to punish as they see fit and how I feel about it doesn’t matter.

    I wouldn’t confront them about it either (partially because I’d be afraid they’d hit me, to be honest).

    I will most likely feel sorry for them, and keep it in my mind so I know to never leave my kid with that person.

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 2:07 pm

      (I also secretly think I don’t wanna be friends with them and we have nothing in common and that they probably like really shitty music)

    • allisonjayne

      June 6, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      And they’re probably lousy in bed too.

    • Eve Vawter

      June 6, 2014 at 2:09 pm

      and they secret hate gays and people of other races and probably eat really gross snacks.

    • Jennifer Freeman

      June 6, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      They probably also put the toilet paper on the roll the wrong way. Over, not under, folks! (At least in my house).

    • allisonjayne

      June 6, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      Definitely over! Under just makes it awkward to reach. Why do that?

    • Jennifer Freeman

      June 6, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      I don’t know. Maybe some people just want to watch the world burn. Seriously though, someone once said they did it to keep their toddler from unrolling it, and I guess that scenario makes sense. Honestly though, I just keep the doors closed anyway because my dog is a toilet paper destroyer.

    • Jezebeelzebub

      June 8, 2014 at 12:45 am

      I don’t mind gays or other races- but frankly the grosser the snack, the better. And I especially love a nasty-ass snack after I hand out a few beatings- that shit really whets my appetite. J/K, I’m more into psychological warfare since spanking my kid doesn’t do any good. You know what DOES work? Kid Jail. Kid Jail RULZ.

    • Eve Vawter

      June 9, 2014 at 8:13 am

      FACT: watching OITNB season 2 has made me think jail is maybe not so bad 🙁

    • Jezebeelzebub

      June 9, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      I already watched all of season 2. IT WAS AWESOME. I want to say so many things to you right now about that season, but I can’t because SPOILERS. But I know what you mean. And I’m not saying I made my toothbrush into a shank just for practice… but I’m also not saying that I didn’t.

    • Kendra

      June 6, 2014 at 2:07 pm

      Interesting. This thread today is really blowing my mind!

    • Emil

      June 6, 2014 at 7:16 pm

      I actually learned from a CAS worker in Ontario recently that if a child is under the age of two and above the age of twelve it is considered abuse. I thought that was kind of strange to have somewhat arbitrary age cutoffs.

  18. SA

    June 6, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    In my opinion spanking is not a useful form of discipline ever. It takes little thought and little effort to address the situation. It also provides the child with no time to have to think about what they did. While spankings hurt, they are over within minutes and you are free to resume your day. Actually disciplining with some sort of punishment or chores, etc forces you to have a talk with your child, the punishment lasts over a series of time and the kid has time to ponder why they were doing this and why what they did was wrong as well as repeated conversations with your child about this as they try and talk you into shortening the punishment.

    I was spanked by my mom as a child. I would not call it abuse, but I wouldn’t call it rational either. The “Christian Way” my parents chose was to not spank in anger (although I remember still getting some angry spankings even a couple of hours later). But to me that is also insane to strike your child when you are calm. There is nothing worse than waiting for a spanking. I can remember being so freaked out. Waiting to be hit is torture! But at that same time it wasn’t like I was sitting there coming to a realization of why my behavior was wrong, I was sitting there afraid of the pain to come. (Still wonder if some of my anxiety doesn’t stem from this!).

    Teaching your child to fear authority does not shape them into a good being. Teaching them why we should and shouldn’t act certain ways does.

    • Guest

      June 6, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      Ugh I think the waiting more often than not was the worst part for me. It was sheer anxiety and terror. And why is my mom making me stand here and wait for pain instead of getting me the fuck out of here… because generally I hadn’t done anything wrong (a lot of all kids in the house spankings which makes no sense). My dad would just decide that the house wasn’t clean and at one point wasn’t home when we got home so he left a voicemail on the answering machine telling us to stand in a line and wait for when he got home to get hit. That is why you will never hear the words “wait until your father gets home” come out of my mouth or anything like it.

  19. K.

    June 6, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    I think that people get entrenched because of the “child abuse” angle and because people don’t relish criticizing how they were raised. My DH reports that he often has parents who insist—INSIST—that it’s the only way. And it’s kind of cultural too, in that it’s more prevalent among some communities than others. For the sake of my DH (the special ed teacher), I relay his perspective:

    The reason you shouldn’t spank is because it does not work. It WILL tell a child that their behavior was not appropriate, but more than that, it will tell the child it wasn’t appropriate to YOU, and you alone—ie, they’re not going to understand why the behavior isn’t appropriate beyond the fact that Mom/Dad doesn’t like it. So what’s motivating them to change the behavior isn’t based on logic or choice, it’s really based on fear of getting hit.

    Think about that for a second. That means that if they say, stick their tongue out at you and you spank them for doing so, they’re not connecting that they shouldn’t stick out their tongue because it’s rude and hurtful and disrespectful to others; they’re going to learn that they shouldn’t stick out their tongue because you are bigger and stronger and you’ll hurt them for doing it. …So what’s to stop them from sticking out their tongue at someone else when you are not around to punish them?

    …Someone like a teacher?

    Yeah, that’s the issue—spanking and other forms of corporeal punishment are really short-term and narrow, isolated forms of discipline. For the child, the threat of corporeal punishment (anything that amounts to pain and/or fear) doesn’t inspire them to correct a behavior because the behavior is wrong, it tells them they need to stop the behavior to protect themselves from harm. That’s not the message you want.

    (and that, by the way, causes all sorts of other problems—kids who think that aggression is the only way to solve conflict; kids who have low self-esteem (because they’re constantly being told that they’re bad kids who are worthy of being slapped, rather than they’re kids who make bad decisions); kids who are stressed out)

    • Kendra

      June 6, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      I was trying to avoid getting into this because I can see that I’m in the vast minority here, and I don’t have the energy to debate all day. But I will say that I can see where you’re coming from with your response here, but I feel that you are assuming that parents who choose to spank do not also discuss with the child why they were punished, which, at least in my experience, isn’t correct. I feel that you can use spanking and still explain why they behavior is unacceptable just the same as you would if you did not use spanking. I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive.

    • Clever name

      June 6, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      But if you are rational enough to explain to them why the behavior is unacceptable, why can’t you also think of a different way to punish them? I honestly can’t think of a single instance in which spanking would be the most effective punishment. If they are fighting with another child, separate them. If they are whining about something after you’ve already said no, send them to their room. If they refuse to leave the park when it’s time to go, they lose the privilege of going the next time, etc, etc. How would spanking help? It’s simply lazy parenting.

    • Fluffy_1

      June 7, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      Yes, cuz carefully explaining that fire is hot and will hurt them is sooo gonna stop a child reaching for a hot fire more than a slap on the hand will.

    • K.

      June 6, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      I’m not sure I agree. I mean, you’re right, they’re not mutually exclusive, but I’m confused as to why, if you take the time to explain to the kid, physical harm needs to be the punishment? It sounds strange to me to say to a kid something like, “You lied to mommy about taking a cookie, and you know that you’re not supposed to lie and you’re not supposed to steal. So now I’m going to hit you.”

      I can see that if you did do that, the child would have a better understanding that the spanking is a form of penance for doing something wrong (ie, it’s separate from the discussion—it’s like the payment or the “bad behavior tax” if you will), but I just think that pain, even if it’s used in that way, isn’t productive, because if you want there to be consequences, I think you should be teaching a child that the consequences are not entirely circumscribe to YOU hurting THEM, but THEM making things hard for THEMSELVES. I mean there are a lot of
      consequences besides spanking at your disposal as a parent. To me, saying “no more cookies for a week/not going to X’s birthday/no more video games/you have to rake the yard” are all more effective than “I’m going to spank you” because it’s a punishment that illustrates how bad decisions lead to bad effects, not just bad repercussions (if that makes sense—I’m having a hard time with my vocabulary here…It’s Friday.)

    • Kendra

      June 6, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      I knew this would be the response I would get to that answer…so I probably should have clarified. I don’t spank as a punishment, per se. I have swatted my daughter a few times, more as an attention getter because she was doing something dangerous AND refused to listen to me when I told her to stop or get down or whatever. I have never and don’t think I will ever hit her to the point that it is painful. But, after I have swatted her, I always explain what she was doing wrong and why she shouldn’t do it, AND why I swat her butt. My husband can use a stern voice, and she will shape right up. For me, however, she just doesn’t listen. Period. For me, I belong in the camp of doing whatever works for you and your child. I’m not going to rule out spanking as a punishment in the future, because I don’t know what the future looks like. Is it my absolute last choice? Yes. But, I do find myself a bit surprised at the community here being completely opposed to it. I respect the others’ comments, and I get why they don’t like it. I just…I don’t know. I can’t make things like this one size fits all.

    • K.

      June 6, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      It’s kind of shades of gray, I think. Is “swatting” the same as spanking? Does it count if we’re talking about imminent danger? Hmm… I think that most people who are anti-spanking are thinking about “Spanking Classic” which is the sort of formal, bend-over-the-knee kind or “Spanking Wild” which is like, losing it and slapping your kid across the face. Some people are anti-any kind of hitting, but for me, I’m not sure. I have a hard time truly understanding the “need” to hit/swat, even in the minor context you’re talking about, simply because my parents never did it to me—and I was not the perfect child. I respect the fact that your child is different from me, though, and in the end, you sound like a pretty level-headed responsible person, so I’d say that “whatever works” makes sense for *you.*

      Others…I’m not so sure about.

    • SunnyD847

      June 6, 2014 at 6:22 pm

      As someone who had the crap beat out of them on a regular basis, I would not classify what you’re doing as spanking. I still think you could probably skip the swat and go straight to a time out and explanation, but I don’t think what you’re doing is harmful in the way a punishment spanking is.

    • Bethany Ramos

      June 6, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      Even when you look at training dogs, people have better ideas than this. Good points.

    • Ursi

      June 6, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      This is very true. Any good dog owner will tell you that the only time you hit a dog is in self-defense because you have no choice. In training there is NO place for striking, swatting ,hitting, kicking, etc. We know that this produces a tense, fearful, and often violent animal. Why do we expect children to be any different?

    • Bethany Ramos

      June 6, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      YES.

    • Elisa Probert

      June 6, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      and the younger the dog is when it happens, the worse it affects them…my puppy is now 7 months old and is very fearful of new people at home. (out in public, she’s fine with them) She was kicked by the man who owned her mother (he didn’t want any dogs) from the time she first started running around until she ran away to my house. It wasn’t like, a focused kicking, more like “kicking puppies out of the way” but they were freaking Chihuahua puppies the size of hamsters…even BUMPING them with a foot could hurt them!

      I’m thinking that probably applies to kids. Physically hurting them when they’re little HAS an effect, they just can’t say anything about it.

    • SunnyD847

      June 6, 2014 at 6:35 pm

      Our Jack Russell shelter dog was absolutely terrified of men holding sticks. A broom, a cane, anything like that he would cower and try to hide. The implications of that infuriate me.

    • K.

      June 6, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      Our dog trainer used to say, “People who hit dogs are idiots. It never occurs to them why begging at the table is such a persistent behavior.”

  20. G.E. Phillips

    June 6, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    I will be honest and say that I have spanked Face a few times (probably more than 5, fewer than 10.) Swat on the butt or leg, only. I’m not trying to justify it. I hate that I’ve done it. It’s never been a planned thing, it’s always been reactionary–almost exclusively to him doing something dangerous to himself or to hurting/biting me–again, not trying to justify it, just explain the context. The last time was last night. I was trying to wash peanut butter off his face and he bit my finger, really fucking hard, and I spanked him on the butt. Afterward, we both cried, and hugged and I told him I was sorry, and that I shouldn’t have spanked him and that I would try not to do it again. Face is a great kid–I mean, seriously, he’s such a good, kind, loving little person, and it breaks my heart that I’ve ever laid a hand to him, even knowing that I’ve never really hurt him (physically, anyway) in doing so…..and now I’m crying again.
    Ugh, I hope you all don’t judge me too harshly, although I’m also not asking anyone to understand or forgive me. And I didn’t mean to get all confessional. but it’s fitting that this article is up today after what happened last night, and obviously the subject has been on my mind today because of last night, and I just wanted to say that what this article made me think of was the different ways in which I was parented. I lived with my mother until I was 10. She was a spanker. She was a wooden spoon spanker, sometimes a “wait until you’re in the bathtub and then spank with the metal spoon on a bare wet butt because it hurts more” spanker. My mother has some emotional issues and not a lot of coping mechanisms, and while I have a good relationship with her now, at 10 years old I was taken away from her, and from then on was raised by my dad. My dad, who isn’t perfect, but who has never once laid a hand on me in anger.
    And guess who was the more effective parent?
    Fucking breakthrough, right there.

    • Bethany Ramos

      June 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      Please DON’T FEEL BAD AT ALL. I know you are an awesome parent, and we all lose it. I think even talking about it is a great thing. 🙂

    • K.

      June 6, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      You know, honey, we parents have been known to lose our tempers. Doesn’t make it excusable, but if it happened, then what matters is what you do afterwards. And what you did was the right thing to do–apologize.

      If it were to keep happening, then that’s something you should address–but what separates someone like you from a monster is that you recognize when you’re wrong. And that takes courage and strength to do.

    • Guest

      June 6, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      The spoon thing totally brought me back…we came home once and my dad was holding a ping pong paddle and said he had been hitting his leg to decide if that or his hand would hurt more to spank us with. He decided on hand which I felt was a relief because for some reason I think being beaten with something I played with felt horrible. That is your mother. My Mom spanked me once because she thought I hadn’t done a chore that I was supposed to, figured out that I had, and came and apologized to me. That is you. My Mom could have spanked me a thousand times in error and it never would have affected me the way the ping pong paddle has…she wasn’t trying to find ways to hurt me but only trying to correct me. I think you know that you are only doing the same and I’m sure your son will be just fine with it down the road. Also, you’re working on it and in my mind that shows that you care a helluva lot more than most parents.

    • SunnyD847

      June 6, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      One of the worst things about my childhood was that my mother never, EVER apologized to us for anything. It was just “might makes right” in her house.

    • C.J.

      June 6, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      What your mother did was abuse. You can’t compare that to you giving an occasional swat on the butt. Try not to judge yourself too harshly.

    • Emil

      June 6, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      You sound like an awesome mom. There are a lot of mistakes we make as parents, especially when we are angry. I have never spanked but I’m sure have done things that are just as bad if not worse.

  21. Elisa Probert

    June 6, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    I was spanked as a child. I remember spankings, but NOT what happened to warrant them. Most often, I feel like it was more my mom being overwhelmed and suffering from depression and anxiety without treatment or help. Especially with my sister who, as we’ve finally found out now that she’s in her 30s, has an Autism Spectrum Disorder which makes her “willful.” Which means she got spanked a lot for things that were completely unfair because she was “stubborn.” Then there were the youngest two, my brother and youngest sister, 14 months apart, who fought like demons. By the time they came along, if one kid got spanked, we all did. Me for not stopping them from getting to that point (and once for tattling even though I’d been told that I was SUPPOSED to tell if they were hurting each other), middle sister just for being there, so she MUST have been involved too, (though she was on her bed reading a book) and the younger ones for biting and hair pulling.

    Honestly, I doubt there was ever a time where *I* needed spanked. The words “I’m disappointed in you” hurt me more than any spanking ever could.

    I’m not against things like slapping a hand that is about to grab a sharp object or hot stove…that little sting is a thousand times better than a 3rd degree burn. I don’t believe that spanking in general is a great thing. I have the same depression and anxiety issues my mother had. Difference is, I am aware of them and I am under treatment to keep them at bay. I will be making a concentrated effort to avoid spanking if at all possible when the day comes where I have a kid and it starts acting as an independent entity.

    Aaand editing to add…Loius CK talking about just this thing – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5mlRkHOtkM

  22. Alicia Kiner

    June 6, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    We used to spank our kids, and all because our parents said that’s what works. It didn’t. When our son was 3, any time he got upset at anyone else, he hit them. Hitting was his first reaction to anything that he didn’t like. So hubby and I talked about it, and we came up with other ways to punish that weren’t hitting. Looking back, spanking was the easy way out, and it really did do more harm than good. We don’t spank now. We still use the threat, but the threat has been good enough. The only time we do any kind of hitting, is to knock their hands away from the stove or grill, etc. to keep them from getting hurt. But as they are 8 and 9, that doesn’t happen often. People will parent the way they choose. Spanking didn’t work for my kids, and it didn’t work for us. I personally HATED every time it happened.

  23. Guinevere

    June 6, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    I have to note that the phrase “spare the rod,” when quoted from the Bible has lost its historical context. No one was advocating for hitting a child with a rod. The rod was the same rod from “thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me,” that is to say: a shepherd’s crook. Something to be used to guide to gently nudge children in the positive direction. I mean, the action was nudging, leading, guiding, not beating. It is always taken out of context and that’s disappointing.

    • SunnyD847

      June 6, 2014 at 6:42 pm

      I like your interpretation much better! Discipline (teaching) is necessary but physical punishment is not.

    • Tazlima

      June 7, 2014 at 9:21 am

      Come to think of it, if I saw a shepherd beating a lamb I’d be like WTF? I learned something new and interesting today! thanks!

  24. 2Well

    June 6, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    My mom used spanking more when I was a teen than as a small child, usually when I was caught in a fit of hormonal teenage tantruming. She felt childish behavior deserved a childish punishment, and a smack on the butt brought me down to earth and helped me to have a frame of mind to assess the situation better than grounding me, taking something away, or yelling back, because when I got overly emotional as a teen I wasn’t in the frame of mind to listen.

    The only times I ever got spanked as a kid were when I lied about where I was going. I had a bad habit of saying I was going for a walk and either ending up near the highway picking cattails or trespassing on someone else’s property to go to the pond. Both were extremely dangerous, even though nothing happened, and my mother thought pain would show me that those actions could be harmful. They were actions my mom wanted me to associate with pain rather than acceptability, because I would be willing to risk a grounding to sneak off to the pond alone.

    I never feared my mother. In fact, I wish that she would have spanked rather than screamed. Sting fades, but some of her words have stuck.

  25. Donna

    June 6, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    discipline is necessary as children need to learn boundaries and what is OK and not OK, the point is well taken that using violence is a teaching (spanking can be violent in the eyes of a child) that violence is acceptable. An acceptable alternative to parenting needs to be in place other wise we will have a generation of non disciplined children that feels they can get away with any behavior.

  26. C.J.

    June 6, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    I was spanked as a child and turned out fine but spanking wasn’t a common occurrence in our house. I was spanked maybe 3 or 4 times ever. In almost 12 years of parenting I have used spanking twice, both times for the older one. Once she was about to stick her finger in a electrical socket and she got a tap on her hand and told no. The other time she was running with a stick chasing her little sister. She got a tap on the bottom. By a tap I mean one tap that wasn’t hard enough to hurt. She doesn’t even remember it. At the ages they are now I would not spank them. It is illegal to spank a child over the age of 12, to use a weapon or closed fist or to hit in the face where I live (I know a few social workers). I think it depends on what a person’s thought of what spanking is. If my parents had of excessively spanked me I might have a stronger view against it personally. I also think if a person feels they have to excessively spank a child there is a problem and that is abuse. I find there are better ways to deal with children than spanking or yelling. I let the kids know my expectations and potential consequences and they generally choose to behave. Discipline isn’t just punishment it is teaching kids to make the right choices too.

  27. Fondue

    June 6, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Ok, ok. I won’t spank my kid just because I was spanked. But can I spank him just because he’s being an asshole? Asking for a friend.

  28. Marisa

    June 6, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Children need to fear their parents a little bit. They need to know that if they step out of line that there will be consequences. They need to learn to listen when they’re spoken too and to do as their told and to follow rules and to respect adults. Growing up my parents did smack me and I feared getting in trouble because I did not want to get hit. It was just a light smack on the bum. But it was enough to keep me in line. So many parents these days are afraid to discipline their children. They are told do not say NO do not make them say SORRY do not put them in their rooms and do not take their toys away from them. Do not yell at them. Do not raise your voice. Kids learn that they can get away with anything because parents are too weak willed to really punish them. There is a difference between a smack on the butt or the back of the hand with your hand to hitting a child hard enough to leave a mark or using a belt or a whip or a bat. One is abuse, the other is not. I plan on smacking my child when she is older if she seriously misbehaves. For example, if she runs into traffic or licks a light switch or tries to turn on the stove she needs to know that those things are NOT acceptable and VERY dangerous and she should never do it again. I think we are too soft on kids these days and it is going to bite a lot of parents in the butt when their kids are older. I want to raise an adult who will grow up with a healthy respect for her elders and the rules. I don’t want to raise a spoiled child who will never pick up her clothes or do the dishes and will swear at me because she knows Mum will just say nothing about her bad behavior and just let her run amok.

    • whiteroses

      June 6, 2014 at 8:32 pm

      The thing about that is that just because a kid isn’t spanked doesn’t mean that they aren’t getting disciplined. My son knows, at the age of two, that he is to hold my hand at all times in parking lots. It’s become so routine for him that he will reach for his grandmother’s hand as well. He picks up his own toys. He knows that there are certain things he can’t do. There are other ways to teach your kids other than spanking them. There is no failsafe way to discipline. What works for your kid may not work for mine.

      My nieces were spanked, and they’re holy terrors. You have to be very, very careful when you’re deciding to use physical pain to discipline. Some kids respond well to it, others don’t. My son doesn’t. I learned that when I spanked him for sticking a fork in the light socket and for two weeks afterward, every time I told him “no”, he hit himself. He hasn’t gotten a spanking since.

    • Ro

      June 6, 2014 at 9:34 pm

      My kids have never been spanked yet somehow they have good manners, generally listen to what they’re told and know that whining gets them nowhere. I was never spanked, I was well behaved because I respected and loved my parents and hated to disappoint or hurt them. Kids are in a very vulnerable position simply by being small and dependant on adults. I don’t think it’s fair to add more fear to their lives.

    • Ashley Austrew

      June 8, 2014 at 9:52 am

      I don’t know any parents who are told not to discipline their children. And, honestly, hitting does not make a person more respectful than one who isn’t hit. It’s a lazy justification to claim that you hit your children (however lightly) because you want them to be respectful of authority unlike all these imaginary people supposedly being told by other imaginary people that discipline is bad and wrong. If you want to spank, fine. But own it. You’re not spanking because it’s the only or best way to discipline. You’re spanking because you don’t know a better way, and you don’t want to find one.

  29. LK

    June 6, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    There’s really no rationale for it other than “well my parents did it and I fucking awesome” which is why that one gets constantly cited when people are arguing for it. I know plenty of good parents who spank their kids, it doesn’t make someone a bad parent (on its own), but I have yet to hear a compelling argument in favor of spanking.

  30. keetakat

    June 6, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    Confession: I spanked my son once and literally –instant lesson learned. He tried to spank me for not letting him have a granola bar before dinner. He said “You spanked me when I didn’t do what you wanted!” He was 3 and a pretty good communicator and I’m convinced he would have prefaced that with “WTF Mom!” if that had been a thing then.

  31. YRUW8NG4HOT H2O

    June 7, 2014 at 2:46 am

    I remember in the 70’s kids in school were sent to the principals office for discipline. Once there depending on the infraction, the principal would give the student 2 options, a few smacks with “the paddle” or call parents at their job and have them come pick you up. Kids often chose the paddle because they knew getting the belt at home had no limits in the number of strokes.

    As long as this form of “corrective measure” is used by people-of-authority, it will continue at home.

  32. Fluffy_1

    June 7, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Some of these anti smacking people don’t seem to comprehend what a smack actually is. It’s not “hitting a child”, it’s corrective and isn’t supposed to actually hurt. My parents used smacking as a very last resort; most of the time, the threat worked. My brothers and I did not fear our parents, we respected them and continued to respect them. I once saw a little boy of around five call his mother a “bitch”. Her response was to weakly mutter, “Don’t say that, honey”. When a nearby person said that her child needed a smack, she got all huffy and said, “I never hit my kids.” And we can see just how well that’s working out for you, dear.

    Despite my parents believing in smacking, I can count the times I actually got a smack across the legs on one hand. Once was for playing with the cooker, once for pushing my brother down the stairs. And you know what, I never did those again. I don’t resent or hate my parents for correcting me, either; I know now that I’m older that they were simply doing this cuz they loved me. A talking to wouldn’t have stopped me playing with the cooker to see the flames; I would have done it again til I burned myself badly or even burned the house down.

    • whiteroses

      June 8, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      There’s also a distinct difference between “smacking” a kid and beating the living crap out of them. Some parents don’t have a clue what that difference is. I once taught a kid whose mother beat the hell out of her and called it smacking. Yes, I reported her mom. Some kids respond to spankings. Others don’t. My son doesn’t.

      While I would never in a million years allow my son to call me a bitch, drive-by parenting of other people’s kids is also less than helpful.

  33. Jezebeelzebub

    June 8, 2014 at 1:02 am

    beat ALL THE KIDS and then clean ALL THE THINGS!

  34. Guest

    June 8, 2014 at 1:04 am

    and don’t forget to ….

  35. Emma

    June 9, 2014 at 10:17 am

    I am a 40 y/o harry potter fan, living in my parents basement. My mom continues to spank me. I enjoy it.

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  37. Joanne

    July 10, 2014 at 4:10 am

    Spanking is so wrong. I still remember my mother, yelling at me to take my clothes off as she went to get the belt. She would whip my bare vulva so hard I thought I would die. Those spankings hurt for weeks. Nothing a child does can be worth such abuse. Its so much better to discipline positively, and to give them attention when they’re being good.

    • Diane

      October 27, 2014 at 11:12 am

      Some kids need more correction than others, your mother was raising you properly. By the way, she spanked you there because it hurt and it made an impact on your behavior. It’s quite normal. Quit trying to distort this into making her into a villain. She did her job.

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  39. cycadia

    September 20, 2014 at 7:19 am

    I was “spanked”. I’m still hurt/angry about it. Plus the idea that physical threateningness is a natural everyday thing. Not gonna inflict it on my kids.

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  41. leahdawn

    September 24, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    I very much agree with questioning how we were raised by our parents, and not just falling into the same patterns they used, even if we feel that we turned out alright.
    I was spanked as a child, albeit infrequently, and grew up to be a perfectly average person. But my mom was viciously abused as a child. Her mother was abandoned in an orphanage during the great depression (so you can imagine how great her life was), and so on, back through time. The fact that my mom didn’t abuse her children came only from the fact that she was EXTREMELY conscious of making her own parenting choices and not just repeating what she learned from her own mom. I’m forever grateful that she didn’t think it was good technique to smack her kids with wooden spoons when they were mouthy. And I don’t begrudge her for the spankings. Will I spank my own future children? I’m planning not to, and glad for articles like this that remind us that we always have the ability to change.

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