General Question

spendy's avatar

To Spank Or Not To Spank?

Asked by spendy (1446 points ) April 7th, 2008

We all know what a heated debate/conversation this can be. Let’s not allow it to get out of control, please. Serious adult conversation only; let’s not pass judgement. I’m interested in everyone’s opinion, stance and constructive criticisms on the subject.

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117 Answers

kapuerajam's avatar

I would reccomend it hurts and teaches me to do the right thing but its far from child abuse

hairypalm's avatar

spank. Worked for me.

gailcalled's avatar

Never, never strike a child.

delirium's avatar

Spanking is only good for one thing: Teaching violent activity.

TheHaight's avatar

I dont believe in it, and if I had to it’d be as a LAST resort. It never worked for me or my sisters, we’d crack up laughing.

spendy's avatar

Could everyone also state (for information sake) whether or not they are a parent?

gailcalled's avatar

I am. Raised 2 of my own and 3 step-sons for 1/4 of each year. None of them ever hit their kids.

monsoon's avatar

teaches child to solve problems with violence, and undermines the authority of the parent, among many other negatives, from a developmental psychology perspective. Also, its just lazy.

spendy's avatar

@TheHaight – right on. I’m sort of with you on that one. It never really worked for me either. Then again, I wonder what else I might have gotten into if it weren’t for the possibility of a swat now and then. It was always last resort, though. Communication first, followed by alternative discipline, followed by more communication, followed by more alternative discipline…followed by a good ‘ole fashioned spanking.

delirium's avatar

No, i’m not a parent. I’m 19.

I plan to be a parent once I get my PH.D. (IE. once I can be financially stable and assured that I can give my child a good life.)

monsoon's avatar

yeah, not a parent. I’m coming from an educational backgroud in psychology. Its not anecdote, its statistics; spanking’s harmful to every one involved.

TheHaight's avatar

yeah, I agree spendywatson. Last last last resort. Communication is the most important strategy./tool for discipline.
I’m 21. Id have a kid now if I could! But as delirium says, after school.

cwilbur's avatar

I don’t see any evidence that it does anything constructive, so I don’t see the point.

hairypalm's avatar

I spank. My kids a very well behaved. I only spank if it’s called for. All those loud,yelling back, kicking and screaming and acting up in the store kids is what you end up with no spankings. As long as you ate not abusing and taking it over the top. After each spanking I sit down and have my kids explain to me why they got a spanking and we talk about it. It’s very easy to say don’t spank when you have no kids.

monsoon's avatar

@hairypalm, I don’t have kids, which is why I sited a gigantic scientific study that backs up my first answer. Its not my opinion.

JMCSD's avatar

man, I didn’t even read all the way, this is gonna get out of hand for sure. Either way, my opinion. Kids, at some point, need to be spanked. I agree with most here though when I say that spanking should not be you first choice though. There are situations though where a kid just needs to be punished, and a saw ass and the imbarrasement of being spanked does it. And I was spanked alot as a kid, and I promise you I am the opposite of violent, it all depends on each individual and the circumstances at hand.

spendy's avatar

@gail, how in the world did you avoid spanking all the time? I am not a frequent spanker, by any means. I prefer up-front communication, examples, hands-on correction (as in, physically walking your child through the motions of doing something the proper way) and time-out-style or nose-in-the-corner discipline. But, once in a blue moon, it seems like a good swat is more effective when all-else has failed. I’m wondering how you bypassed this with so many children. Please share your method(s).

hairypalm's avatar

come talk to me after you have three kids. This is all the time I’m spending on this one.

babygalll's avatar

No, I am not a parent. I have a lot of experience with children and have been working with them for more than half my life.

There are going to be people that say spanking is good and other will disagree. You have to remember that different things work for different kids. If the only thing that will work for a child is spanking then a parent must do what they have to. Spanking should only be done if the child did something extreme. It should not be done as a daily thing. If it is done more frequent than say once in a blue moon then your child will think that hitting is OK.

I know a child that was frequently spanked by his parents and even when the parents wanted to give the child a hug he would raised his hands up and cover his face. So, if a parent decides to spank, then it is a great idea to choose something other than your hand. Otherwise, your child will fear your hand.

spendy's avatar

@babygalll – totally agree. Cowering children are not okay. Another firm belief of mine where spanking is concerned, if and when it ever takes place: The first swat is for the child, and any that follow are for the parent. More than one is not okay.

Randy's avatar

Spanking can be a good thing. Like hairypalm said, it’s best to talk to your children and let them know why they are getting, or got, spanked. I’m not a parent but one day I hope to be. Spanking is not some hillbilly running around with a leather belt, beating his children because they looked at him funny. The punishment has to fit the crime. I recall getting spanked by my parents. Them explaining how I did wrong and how they were disappointed in me hurt way more than the spanking. Basically when problems escalate, pain works. It teaches a lesson that talking cannot. It really depends on the children though. If they are sorry for the things hey have done and have learned a lesson, spanking is not needed. I’m defiantly not opposed to it though. It helped me become the respectful caring person that I am today.

spendy's avatar

Well put @Randy

hairypalm's avatar

@ monsoon. please explain why it is lazy. I’m a bit lost.

simone54's avatar

I got spanked when my parents had too. It worked very well.

The important thing is, you don’t wanna spank them out of anger and end up hurting your child.

trogdor_87's avatar

Spanking works, as long as the parent does not go overboard on the spanking. But I also see spanking as a last resort as well.

monsoon's avatar

@hairy palm, because, as it states here spanking does have one positive aspect: it makes the behavior stop in its tracks. Its a short term gratification that can, according to these psychological studies, have a lot of very negative effects.

The paper admits that there are plenty of people who can say I was spanked and I’m fine, but statistics cannot lie (if you don’t let them), and they show that spanking is an immediate gratification that generally does not stop the behavior in the long run (it only makes the child not want to be caught doing the behavior) but can have all sorts of long-term negative effects. Please check my link, I don’t want to type them all here on my iPhone. I’m not saying your a bad parent.

The fact that you explain why the punishment was used is very good, these studies probably assume that parents just spanked and leave it at that. Its your judgement that counts.

monsoon's avatar

I have to go take a nap. :) I was never spanked, and I’m not a parent, so really I’m just putting that research forward for you to do with as you like. My opinion won’t really count, like you said, until I have kids of my own.

hairypalm's avatar

From now on I will depend
A web site to “show me the way” thanks have a great nap.

gorillapaws's avatar

@hairypalm, it’s a scientific psychological study. Is there some better source for gathering information on the possible psychological benefits and negative consequences of something like spanking? Anecdote perhaps?

I heard Osama Bin Laden was spanked…

hairypalm's avatar

fubar, I’m done.

gorillapaws's avatar

This whole question is based around testable claims so we really should be looking to the research to see what they come up with. I’m sure there’s probably pro-spanking studies out there as well, shouldn’t we be discussing the merits and flaws of the various studies instead of things like: “I was spanked and I’m ok.” The fact that you’re spanking your children could be a sign that you’re NOT ok. I don’t know, I’m not a psychologist, but I do know there are intelligent ways to go about answering questions like these; running away from evidence isn’t it.

delirium's avatar

If problems escalate to a point where you need to spank and cause physical pain to your offspring, your parenting has failed in other ways already.

I said this before, and i’ll say it again: Spanking simply perpetuates violence. Its an exceptionally uncultured and irresponsible way of dealing with a problem.

delirium's avatar

Also, since we’re claiming the validity of our personal accounts…

My parents did not spank me. I have never gotten in any violent situations in my life (save one, which was an attempted rape). I have no desire to. I personally don’t see the point of hitting someone. It doesn’t occur to me in any situation. I never hit any other child when I was younger, and was never unruly in stores. I never needed an “outlet for my anger” and never needed to be told to punch a pillow.

Randy's avatar

@ delirium- Other than your own experience, do you you have any other evidence that supports your spanking leads to violence claim. I’m not violent and I was spanked a lot. Of course, I fell I deserved the spankings. When I got into trouble, i did i right. :)

spendy's avatar

@delirium, I truly felt 100% the way you feel before I had kids. Something along the way changed, however.

Like I said before, I am not an avid spanker and never EVER use it as a first resort. I was spanked. However, I don’t feel my parents used this method as a last, last, LAST resort after exhausting (fully) the alternatives, and also could have followed/preceeded this discipline method with appropriate communication and didn’t. They also often gave more than one swat/spanking at a time. I don’t believe either of these things are okay.

skfinkel's avatar

I have four children. I do not believe in spanking. I remember spanking one child once when I felt he did something potentially harmful (by omission) to a younger sibling. And I’m not sure if that was really effective or not. I believe that there is little good that can come from spanking, similar to little good that can come to hitting your neighbor in an argument. If you have to spank your child, you should probably go back and review what you are doing in general as a parent. Think of discipline as “teaching” and not punishment. Guide your children, don’t punish them. You are much bigger, they will watch you and repeat what you do. And most sadly, those who say being hit didn’t do them any harm may not be totally honest in that assessment.

delirium's avatar

Randy, read the article cited above to see what you’re looking for.

spendy's avatar

@skfinkel, I appreciate thoroughly what you’ve said and completely understand. I guess my concern are those moments, like you mentioned, when children are/may be potentially hurting or have already hurt one another. However, I do believe it all starts somewhere, and whatever problem you believe may be solved by spanking probably has a root problem that is not being addressed. I guess I’m contradicting myself…but like I said, I’m not an avid spanker. I know people who spank their kids at least once a month for good measure (or more often). That’s wild to me.

boffin's avatar

Somewhere it’s written that the childs butt is the same shape as the palm of the mothers hand…
A spanking as reinforcement is a good thing…

scamp's avatar

I spanked my daughter as a last resort. I didn’t spank her often, and when I did, it was a tap on the butt. I never spanked her when I was angry. I would send her to her room, then come in and tell her why she was being spanked. It worked well for us. She is a well balanced young woman, and has had no ill effects from it.

Breefield's avatar

I believe spanking is similar to spraying a dog with water, or flicking it’s nose when it does something wrong. Both children and dogs are innocent (at least at the age I believe we’re talking about, If you’re spanking you’re 5th graders we might have a misunderstanding), and neither knows that what they’re doing is wrong. In the event that they do know what they’re doing is wrong, then you need to show them it’s wrong. There are so many other ways to punish your kid than with your hand.

Back to my comment about the water / flick. It causes the dog to fear you, but it also teaches them that they can cause other’s to fear them with the possibility of water / flick. I’m not saying you’re dog will become more violent, but humans are a lot more likely to put two and two together.

This reminds me of something me and a friend talked about recently. It was the subject of how to neutralize disputes amongst toddlers. They were talking about it on the radio. Most people said you should separate the children, or punish them. Tell them not to fight. Anything to make them stop arguing. My friend pointed out that this is flat out wrong.

You should teach your children to logically sort things out, like adults. If they’re not old enough to comprehend that then ask questions that will lead them to compromise. Make them understand that they’re in the right or in the wrong, and if they still argue, go back to that reasoning.

You simply have to give your children the benefit of the doubt. Don’t make them fear you. Fear limits communication. Communication you will desperately want when you’re children get into middle school and drinking / sex / drugs come into play.

spendy's avatar

@scamp, I would say that your description of “tap on the butt” is in line with our practice, and never in anger. Matter of fact, as hard as it can sometimes be, we never even yell. It’s such a terrible practice…

@Breefield, great analogy. I really should have specified age in my question. I guess I assumed people wouldn’t be spanking 5th graders either. ;) I’m speaking more about the age where reasoning with a child isn’t always possible, like you said.

annaott22's avatar

I was spanked as a child I’m not violent or mean and I have no psychological problems from it

delirium's avatar

Annaott22: You wouldn’t know if you had problems from it, and your definition of violence or cruelty would be different because of it, so your statement is rife with subjectivity.

Randy's avatar

@ delirium- Says who? You can’t say what annaott22’s definition of violence is or isn’t. That’s an outrageous statement!

Breefield's avatar

No it’ not, she’s simply pointing out that being the one who was subject to the spanking annaott22 would have no way to know is his / her perspective of violence in general was skewed. Or if he / she was more prone to it. Only someone else could tell that.
Delirium wasn’t stating what annaott22’s definition of violence was or wasn’t. She was simply saying that annaott22 would’t know if she was subject to any kind of physiological problems because he / she would be that person with the problems. Not so say he / she has any.

Confused now, I am!

delirium's avatar

Thank you, breefield. I’m happy someone understood. :)

Randy's avatar

I see, I’m sorry I misunderstood.

hairypalm's avatar

This is getting out of hand.

Breefield's avatar

A discussion is getting out of hand? Whoa! I don’t think fluther is going to work, we should shut it down now.
If we can’t discuss topics (maturely) as I think we are, then how are things ever going to be decided upon?

I meant to say “Confused now? I am!” up there, but I forgot a ”?” :p

Breefield's avatar

Haha, hairpalm said it was getting out of hand, nice pun!

hairypalm's avatar

hmmm…..this is really getting out of hand.

mcbealer's avatar

I’m a parent and was firmly opposed to it. Then I became a parent. My take on it:
It is not effective for all kids, and should not be used solely to discipline a child.

gorillapaws's avatar

There are several things that need to be addressed with a question like this which may help clarify the subject a bit. When we ask if we should spank or not we are interested in several questions:

1. Is spanking an effective method for preventing a behavior in the short term? (I think almost everyone agrees that it is)

2. Is spanking an effective method for preventing a behavior in the long term? (Seems like there’s some disagreement on this)

3. Are there other methods of discipline that are at least as effective at correcting behavior in the short & long terms?

4. Does spanking have long-term ancillary effects on the child? (Again, it seems like there’s some disagreement on this)

5. If so, are those effects harmful? For example, it may be found that spanking your kid drastically increases their likelihood of getting into S&M type of behavior in the bedroom when they become sexually mature (I have no idea if this is true or not, it’s just an example) but it is certainly possible that there is nothing harmful with that particular sexual behavior.

I don’t have children, but I don’t currently plan on physically reprimanding my kids when I do have them. That being said, I’m willing to go where the scientific/psychological evidence leads—and if there is a particularly compelling study done that shows a great benefit to spanking I’d be more than happy to look into it.

When my mom was a child, my grandfather used to use a belt on her and her siblings, and even though she would deny it/not realize it herself, I’ve seen lasting effects on her even now. It’s not like she cowers in the corner or anything, but she is incapable of admitting guilt, even for something small and unimportant like who lost the remote in the sofa? It’s certainly shaped my perception of the issue.

Robby's avatar

Well I cringe when I see a child getting it put to him. Always have. Maybe it’s because I was abused as a child. But I do believe it’s necessary to discipline your child when it calls for it. These days some kids need a good ol’ fashion ass whoopin, but then again they might turn around and shoot you! If anyone grew up in the 80’s or before i’m sure you can see the differance between then and now.

monsoon's avatar

@gorilla et al, This is a gigantic study that I have sited twice already in this post.

It’s a meta-analysis of 88 studies ranging back over 62 years of study, correlating different behaviors and experiences of children who are spanked that occur in their childhood, adolescence, and adult life.

Take everything with a grain of salt. There are criticisms of this study, as there are with any involving a controversial issue, so look into those too.

I could go back and forth. Look into it. As a student of psychology, I think opinions are for Freud, and no one listens to Freud anymore.

gorillapaws's avatar

@monsoon, I was referring to the study you cited for the most part, but I’ve yet to hear comments/criticism of that study here. For one thing, meta-analyses tend to have skewed results because of things like the file-drawer effect. You also have to worry about the author cherry-picking data if they have some sort of agenda. Overall though, it’s a very nice resource for anyone interested in looking at the data. I’d be interested to see if some of the pro-spankers have some quality scientific data to back up their claims.

monsoon's avatar

if you google “spanking study,” the first result is a study that displayed that spanking is not harmful if its infequent and not emotionally driven or painful.

It was performed with less than 200 white middle class families in the Berkeley area, though, and also says that an authoritative parenting style seems to have the best outcome, whether spanking is used or not (claiming both that it doesn’t hurt and doesnt help, aparently).

Anyway, my point is that if you want pro-spanking literature its out there.

skfinkel's avatar

Perhaps what might also help in this discussion is imagining yourself as the child, and looking at the angry adult who is going to spank you. Not clear, maybe, why you are being hit, afraid of the big adult looming at you in anger. Something else we are learning is that the hormone produced in stressful situations is cortosol, and this is not at all good for people.

In a great book, “The Science of Parenting,” Sunderland writes that a man hitting a vending machine or losing his temper in a restaurant or anywhere may have missed out on the empathetic parenting that would have helped him through difficult times when he was young (while having a tantrum for example) rather than getting angry at him and maybe hitting him.

spendy's avatar

@skfinkel…any parent that spanks their child with an angry or aggressive look on their face probably needs to spend some time in the corner themself. Any parent who spanks without warning or previous explanation needs to be knocked upside the head (without warning or previous explanation). And any grown man who hits a vending machine or loses his temper in a restaurant was likely spoiled as a child and may have been raised with the standard of “getting what he wants when he wants it”. Those things seem to be more an issue of patience…IMO.

hairypalm's avatar

So is it okay to spank aggressive while smilling? It’s hard not to make a nice face period when spanking. And even if it’s not aggressive. Again there is a diff between discipline and abuse. is sthis thread ever going to end?

scamp's avatar

@ monsoon Within the link you posted so many times it also says:

But, Gershoff also cautions that her findings do not imply that all children who experience corporal punishment turn out to be aggressive or delinquent. A variety of situational factors, such as the parent/child relationship, can moderate the effects of corporal punishment. Furthermore, studying the true effects of corporal punishment requires drawing a boundary line between punishment and abuse. This is a difficult thing to do, especially when relying on parents’ self-reports of their discipline tactics and interpretations of normative punishment.

“The act of corporal punishment itself is different across parents – parents vary in how frequently they use it, how forcefully they administer it, how emotionally aroused they are when they do it, and whether they combine it with other techniques. Each of these qualities of corporal punishment can determine which child-mediated processes are activated, and, in turn, which outcomes may be realized,” Gershoff concludes.

So there really is no across the board answer to this question. I think that spanking a child too often or too roughly will of couse cause long lasting effects. But a well placed tap on the butt from time to time administered by a loving parent who is not out of control can be an effective tool to back up the spoken word.

sndfreQ's avatar

Thank you scamp…I think there is an inherent danger in relying solely on studies to pass judgment on other parents and their parenting skills or values. Clearly, there are many reasons and purposes for using/not using corporal means of discipline, and I think we saw some really helpful insights from both camps in this thread (yay Fluther!).

Perhaps my only advice to non-parents in this thread is to not rule out the possibility that one day, you too will be faced with this dilemma, and in spite of all the data and empirical evidence out there from which to glean, you too will have to face the situation (and under duress)...and so, what will you-

…Gosh, I almost sounded like that Hillary ad, the one with the phone ringing at 3am…where was I going with this?!?...Oh well, just wait ‘til you’re in that situation, you will be tested at some point. (Okay, I think I reeled myself back in on that one). It’s a decision that should not be taken lightly or with absolution-as a parent, I find it to be an extremely complex problem to deal with, and at present, have no definitive answer except to wait and see and keep an even keel (one day at a time, right?).

Nighty-night, and parents, give your kids a big hug and kiss :)

scubydoo's avatar

When I was younger, and I did things that were deemed “wrong” i got spanked. I believe they were referred to as ‘whoopings’ (may of spelled that wrong). Now I personally don’t feel that the spanking was child abuse. My parents never left bruises or caused bodily harm. It was mainly a hit to my rear end, which caused me to know that was wrong and not to do it again. however that said, i never received that many, thankfully. Most the time, when my parents told me to not do something, I’d immediately quit doing it. I prefer to call that ‘having respect for my parents’. Unfortunately, having grown older, no kids of my own, and working with the public, i often see parents that have a hard time with their kids. I often see parents telling the kids to stop, but the kids keep on. mainly ignoring the parents. and often the parents will keep on saying stop, with the same result.. often I think back to myself as a kid, and wonder what would of happened “if” I were that kid.

hairypalm's avatar

Well put scuby.

Robby's avatar

And yes I’m a proud parent..He is 16 now, and no way would I spank him now because he is well beyond knowing right from wrong. That does not mean I still wouldn’t punish him though.

gailcalled's avatar

I tapped my son, when he was about 11, on the rear end w. a wooden clothes hanger.. That was it. I tried to avoid taking them to unsuitable places for kids, and making sure that they had a routine of food and sleep and chores and fun that kept them uncranky (most of the time.)

As they got older, we made sure the punishment fit the crime. My son bought some pot to a seventh grade camping trip (after the class had been publicly warned.) He was suspended from school for two weeks. We sent him to his father’s in Manhattan and he had to do volunteer work at a local hospital every day.

My daughter was caught smoking 1/2 a joint at a school play. She was also in seventh grade and was suspended for a week. We gave her the choice; work in a day-care center or do a research paper on drugs. She chose the latter, and turned up w. a long, well-written tome entitled “Marijuana, the Evil Weed.” How I kept from laughing out loud was a miracle. Everyone in our family can write with a subtext, it seemed.

The other trick that worked really well was making my son clean up the vomit when his buddy, on an overnight at our house, had gotten violently sick from pills. We also called the parents and had some heavy-duty talks.

One of my step sons was caught selling what turned out to be catnip to other 5 graders, who thought it was something else. Step was suspended for three days. All kids at the same school, and my husband was the Headmaster, father of latter and step-father to my two.

I think that is also a very good idea to let your kids get mad at you and stomp around. You don’t have to give up any ground, but you allow your child to vent. (My brother taught me that.)

spendy's avatar

@gail, you’re absolutely right about giving children the option of venting and expressing their emotions. Kids need to be able to do that. There need to be limitations though, as I’m sure you know.

@hairypalm, I don’t actually think it’s appropriate to smile while giving a swat. No one has said that. There’s no need to appear as though you’re enjoying it. That’s just not right any sooner than it’s right to furrow your brow and grind your teeth. It should be matter-of-fact discipline, when used, that backs up the spoken word (as scamp put it).

hairypalm's avatar

I was just being silly. I can’t stop writing on this thread. This question is going on for way to long.

gailcalled's avatar

@hairy; “silly” is counterproductive, and really not very funny. If you are bored w. the duration of the discussion (*too long) take your kids for a walk or an icecream.

And of course you can stop.

spendy's avatar

@hairypalm…I was just clarifying. I know you’re pro-spank…and I caught the “silly” factor before I responded. lol :) No need to keep answering if you’re bored with this…just a good debate, I believe.

hairypalm's avatar

I would love to take my kids for a walk. I’m at work, so as soon as I get home I will. Thank you. I’ll let you know how it goes. O and my kids don’t like icecream, they like fruit

scamp's avatar

I think hairypalm needs to stop whining about this thread or he will get a spanking!! Just kidding. I agree, the debate seems to be going very well. Well done fellow flutherers!

gailcalled's avatar

@hairy, delighted that they like fruit. Now, how come you are online so much at work (lol, hahahaha, joking, just kidding, think of a lighthearted tone.)

hairypalm's avatar

I don’t mind a good spanking lol. I’m on at work alot cause of this dang iphone!! but now it/s almost lunch time so im back at the shop. I know you are kidding, trust me I have been talked to way worse. Plus this is the internet so ya…...O and one more thing…...This question is gone on for way to long lol.

Robby's avatar

@scamp LMAO

spendy's avatar

@hairypalm…so to sum up your POV:

Spank your kids and feed them fruit (not ice cream). :)

hairypalm's avatar

Yup…But spank only when you need to spank, and fruit all the time. They got me eating more fruit. Dang little spider monkeys!

scubydoo's avatar

finish your fruit…...or you get spanked…. lol.. j/k of course

spendy's avatar

lmfao

Seriously, thanks EVERYONE, for a great debate.

babygalll's avatar

81 responses! WOW! I think I am done with this thread.

hairypalm's avatar

no your not.

skfinkel's avatar

Has anyone thought differently from what they thought in the beginning as a result of this discussion?

scamp's avatar

I haven’t

spendy's avatar

nope, me neither.

scubydoo's avatar

Nope, my thoughts are still staying the same..

gorillapaws's avatar

I haven’t changed my opinion on the subject, but I have enjoyed hearing everyone’s various opinions (even when I don’t necessarily agree) on the issue. I think it’s been a good example of how people can discuss things rationally on the internet, even when they may not agree with each other (something I wasn’t sure was actually possible lol).

I’m still a little troubled though by how many people trust personal experience/how they were raised over what science is seeming to say on the matter. If this were about drinking water with possible carcinogens in it, I would think most people would listen to the science instead of saying, I drank that water my whole life and never got sick, it’s fine for my kids (Is that a fair comparison—and if not, why?). Is it that you don’t trust science in general? or is it more about the discipline of Psychology that you are less accepting of?

sndfreQ's avatar

@gorillapaws: I can’t speak for other’s, but my wife and I like to think it is based on both scientific and empirical evidence; not an issue of black or white.

Agree with you that the information and viewpoints on this discussion made it a worthwhile and particularly edifying experience for me (being a parent of two young’ns).

skfinkel's avatar

I also found this an interesting discussion.

Just for interest, they used to think the devil was in children and had to be beaten out of them. So, we have been developing a bit as a society; no one gave that as a reason to hit a child.

scamp's avatar

@skfinkel Who thought that? I’ve never heard of that.

Perchik's avatar

Back on the spanking issue….

I was spanked once as a child. The first time was after I got expelled for a week for slapping a girl across the face. My dad told me to go outside and find a good thin twig that wobbles well. I didn’t know what it was for, so I went and found this really awesome twig, it started about the thickness of pencil and dwindled down to nothing in about 3 feet. Dad then sat down and explained to me that what I did was wrong, why I got kicked from school, and how disappointed they were in me. I still maintained that I was right. Dad then made me go to my room, he came back with the twig, told me to drop my pants…

My ass hurts thinking about it today.

After that I started listening to my parents more. If they told me something was wrong, I decided to obey them, because there was always the threat of getting whipped again. I think I always respected my parents, but I would always ask “why?”.

Today I consider myself a well rounded, overall “good” individual. I’m not a violent person. I might raise my voice and tell some racist hick that they should leave me alone, but I would never strike anyone. I did read your study, but I will just choose to disagree. The problem, in my opinion, about psychological studies, is that no one incident affects how a person thinks. It’s their whole experience. Therefore it’s impossible to say this one incident did this to a person.

So with all that said, I don’t know if I’ll ever spank my future child[ren?]. I don’t think it’s my choice. It should come from a conversation between me and my wife, about how we are going to raise the kid so that he/she doesn’t turn into a spoiled brat [aka American]

So long and thanks for all the fish.

andrew's avatar

[mod says]: Flame off.

MissAnthrope's avatar

From a psychological perspective, I don’t think ruling by fear is as effective as ruling by reason.

I don’t have kids, but I don’t plan on spanking them. I, however, am a perfect case study because my parents were divorced and had entirely different views on the issue. I’ve always been highly adaptable and I behave in different ways depending on what the situation demands, so I actually did have different behavior with each parent.

My dad: Strict, traditional, and would beat me bare-bottomed with a belt. He did this mainly when I was younger, I remember the highest frequency happening from age 3 or 4 until age 7 or 8. Even after he stopped, he would use it as a threat. To this day, I have some real resentments toward him regarding this. I wasn’t a bad kid, maybe a little naughty sometimes, but nothing I remember doing ever warranted this sort of response. It really, really hurt and the whole ordeal was traumatic. The result wasn’t even an obedient kid.. I got into more bad stuff when I was living with my dad than with my mom. Real juvenile delinquent stuff, breaking windows, sling-shotting rocks at passing cars, shoplifting, arson, hanging out with gang members.. in other words, I rebelled. Not only that, I think what I learned was that I could do bad stuff, but to be smart about it and not get caught. Not exactly the lesson my dad was trying to teach, I think.

My mom: Didn’t believe in spanking. Instead, she tried to keep open channels of communication and would answer my questions on any topic, in a non-judgemental fashion. Her punishments were groundings, restriction of activities, and forced labor. Much more effective, and the discussions we had allowed me to make responsible decisions when it came to sex, drugs, alcohol, and other illegal activities. The worst things I did living with her were dropping a water balloon on a construction worker next door and shooting at a neighbor’s window with my BB gun.

Honestly, when I look back, I truly value my mother’s parenting style. She and my step-dad treated me as a reasonable being. They gave me a long leash because they believed in and trusted me, and I liked that and didn’t want to disappoint them. I began to pride myself on the things they were proud of in me, my resilience, adaptability, maturity, and responsibility. As such, I worked to keep them proud of me.

I’m grateful I was given so many opportunities to explore the world on my own terms and to learn how the world works first-hand. Knowing I made certain decisions made failure more bitter, but it also made my successes sweeter.

anonyjelly16's avatar

I think the key word is “spank”—not “abuse.”
Occasional spanking, in my opinion is okay if its called for but it should not cross over to physical abuse.

Mizuki's avatar

I love these comments from folks that don’t have kids citing academic studies and coming out with strong absolute concrete opinions.

It makes me laugh, and think about before I had kids, I thought I knew everything about kids too. Now, with each passing day, I feel less sure, and more open to learn.

That said, the current generation of young people were not spanked in numbers like previous generations of young people—what we have is a nation of undiciplined, over fed, functionally useless, disrespectful, thugish, pierced and tattooed, hoodlum, clowns. BUT PRAISE JESUS THEY HAVE SELF ESTEEM!

delirium's avatar

Pardon, but I am pierced and tattooed and utterly functional. I can name a few other users who would find this statement a bit irksome as well.

Mizuki's avatar

Were you spanked?

Would you like to be?

delirium's avatar

No.

In some adult situations… it’s not a bad thing.

Jack79's avatar

I’m not against it on moral grounds, but as an educator I can assure you it doesn’t work. I have shouted at my daughter a couple of times and yes, sometimes if she hits me I hit her back (not hard of course) just to show her that it’s not a nice thing to do, but as far as punishment goes, I try to match it to the offence, and also make it logical.

For example, hitting a child that didn’t eat her food is irrational. What does eating have to do with violence? But forcing her to go to bed on an empty stomach teaches the direct result of the action. Or (the usual issue I face), making her tidy her bedroom (yes, even at 4, she learnt to do it at 2). Or isolating her from other children if she doesn’t behave nicely towards them. Because ultimately the reason we want to punish certain behaviours is that they will harm our own child in the long run if they are not uprooted on time.

Generally she’s a good kid though, so I don’t know how I’d react in a different situation. I guess some parents may lose their temper sometimes.

Mizuki's avatar

Seems like when I was a kid, corporal punishment was acceptable. Kids had much more respect for teachers, and parents.

But hey, since your a teacher, and you don’t think corporal punishment works, let me dump my bratty undisciplined kids on you and let you deal with them.

Jack79's avatar

You said it yourself: “bratty undisciplined”. So it hasn’t worked for you. Mine has never been spanked and she’s as disciplined as a soldier.

Mizuki's avatar

Jack—tell me what is an is not working for me please? You psychic gifts are so very valueable, can you please tell me more…..

Jack79's avatar

No need to be sarcastic. I’m just quoting your own words. So, are you doing a good job as a parent or aren’t you? I’m not judging you, I’m just asking. If you believe your kids are not what you’d like them to be, then you must be doing something wrong. At least that’s the conclusion I come to when something that I myself have done is not turning out the way I’d like it to.

Unless of course your point was that you were trying to turn them into undisciplined brats, in which case keep up the good work :) (see? I can do it too)

SeventhSense's avatar

@spendy
Always after the question of, “Who’s your Daddy?”

justus2's avatar

I believe it teaches violence and makes the child scared of you, the same as a tap on the nose to a dog. My fiance used to ttry to tap delilah on the nose and it made me so upset so he started to use a squirt bottle and now when we have the bottle she runs but doesnt run from our hand which is a lot better.

bunnylennox's avatar

Not Spanking….it gets an immediate response, vs learning to do the right thing even if noone is watching! When kids are little distraction is the key, and as they get older gentle discipline.

Lovey_Howell's avatar

I don’t have children, but if I did I would raise them the same way my parents raised us. Spanking is acceptable if warranted, and not conducted in a manner in which to inflict pain, but more used to get the attention of the child and reinforce negative behavior when a child is caught in the act of committing this behavior.

More often we were “threatened” with spankings, I was only spanked once as a child and that was for hitting my sister. My older brother on the other hand, it’s like he would never learn.

Every child in my family is a well-adjusted child, we have a very strong sense of family, and love each other dearly, none of us have any history of violence or abuse.

My sister has chosen to never spank her kids, I’d spank those little brats in a minute, they walk all over her, ignore her when she gives them directions, they are ill-behaved at home and at times I would be embarrassed if they were my children.

skfinkel's avatar

@Lovey_Howell : Having spoiled children, as you describe your sister’s kids, is not a result of not spanking, but more general not knowing well how to control children. Children need clear and consistent limits—and this has nothing to do with spanking them, rather communicating clearly and well—on their level—of what kind of behavior is appropriate. Children will always test their parents, but if they are hit every time they do this, it would be a sad situation indeed.

daemonelson's avatar

Apparently assault is legal as long as it’s your child.

Nice.

rahm_sahriv's avatar

Spank. Notice I did not say beat up or abuse. Corporal punishment may not be the popular thing to do now, but there are times when a good old spanking will get your point of ‘no, you can’t do that’, across better and will be paid more attention to by younger children.

YARNLADY's avatar

Time Article Strongest evidence yet against spanking.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

No spanking. It’s doesn’t do anything to change a child’s behavior.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@py_sue No spanking. It’s doesn’t do anything to change a child’s behavior. I would gander it does. If it didn’t why even bother giving life or the death penalty for murder? If it won’t deter killing why not just give the guy 15 years ⅔ of it therapy? When I was in school the teachers actually had control of their class rooms they did not have to call security. Just the mention of going to the office was enough to kill off all the BS and shenanigans because we knew going to the office more than not meant coming back to class with a sore behind. These days the butler has the keys to the mansion in school.

I remember when I was in the 3rd or 4th grade and after recess some kid tried to cut the line and I wasn’t having it. Shoving led to fighting. When the teacher tried to break us up I remember getting mad at her and I kicked her because she was preventing me from hitting him. She grabbed me by the collar and my feet hardly touched the ground 5 times before I ended up in the office. I knew I was in big trouble then. I knew I was going to get a swat or 2 but I was more worried of word getting home. It did, when I got home my mother lit me up like a Roman candle. She never stopped loving me one second, she did not ask she told; “Don’t you ever strike or sass a teacher again”; and I never did. Had I just been given a time out or a trip to the “naughty chair” I might have thought if any teacher ran afoul of my intentions I could kick, sass, or spit on them and not much would happen, almost like saying I have a yellow light to do so if not a green one. Sometimes things are done so serious it take a serious response to address it. 3 whacks with a belt or a wooden spoon does not equal a beating, and so long as there was a valid point for doing so not just because you got frustrated or the child wet himself or something then spoil that rod and spare that child in the long run before he/she gets corrected while wearing a orange jump suit.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

All I can do is speak from personal experience. Personally, spanking did absolutely nothing to change my behavior, but hate the person doing even more than I already did.

SeventhSense's avatar

@py_sue
I think in your case the pain may have been there without the love.

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