Social Question

BeccaBoo's avatar

Does smacking your child help?

Asked by BeccaBoo (2725points) February 13th, 2012

Just catching up on some news and I found this.

Now I grew up getting a ‘smack’ for being rude, fighting, dis-respectful, answering back and general behavior issues that most of us parents face day-to-day.

It never scarred me, it never made me abusive, in fact it taught me to have manners and respect.

If judging by how we see parenting skills being shown in alternate forms ie ‘Tommy Jordan’ saga.

Is it better now or is the old ‘tried and tested’ method better?

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157 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Getting smacked teaches kids not to do certain behaviors in front of their parents. Understanding why a behavior is wrong, means the person will not do the behavior even when they could get away with the behavior. Sure there are people who were smacked as kids who still grow up to be good people anyway, but really, hitting? Don’t hit your sister, but here let me give you a smack for not sitting still. Give me a break. How does anyone justify it?

tedd's avatar

Negative reinforcement can be effective. You just have to be careful to use it sparingly, and properly.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I think this is not a black and white issue. I think the people who cry “never” and “it’s abuse!” and “violence always begets violence” are looking at it one-dimensionally. I didn’t spank my child, but an occasional smack for dangerous behavior, to get a toddler’s attention is not a bad thing. 2 year old runs toward the street? A loud smack is more effective than a lecture on momentum and inertia. It didn’t teach my daughter to “not do certain behaviors” in front of me, it startled her and she remembered that a behavior like that was not acceptable. It’s not “beating” or “abuse”.

whitenoise's avatar

It may help you relieve your frustration as a parent. It sure will not help your child develop into a healthy adult.

There is overwhelming evidence that any and all forms of corporal punishments have adverse effects on how people (can) function as an adult. There is no excuse for corporal punishment and this UK guy is just silly and irresponsible.

whitenoise's avatar

Would you agree to having corporal punishments be reinstituted on the workfloor, in schools, in old people’s homes and prisons?

Then why on earth would you suggest a parent should? Or do you feel an inmate deserves better treatment than a child?

whitenoise's avatar

And yes… I feel passionate about this.

And no… This doesn’t mean I think that people that disagree with me on this topic are bad or bad parents. I just think they are gravely mistaken.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@whitenoise : Obviously I don’t totally agree with you, but I admire you for finding an effective alternative to the scenario I described.

JLeslie's avatar

@JilltheTooth I agree in extreme circumstances it might be an affective way to stop a child from doing something that is unsafe that needs to be immediately curbed, but I think that is extremely extremely rare. And, most people I know who were smacked as kids, were smacked a lot. Every week. And, I once read statistically the average amount children are spanked is three times a week, for those who are regularly disciplined that way. It is ridiculous. The parent who only uses spanking in extreme circumstance is a completely different parent than the one who generally answers, “spanking helps teach children proper behavior. Or, the one I hear all the time, “kids need to be disciplined,” which is code for get the belt.

I see people smack their kids in public here for ridiculous reasons. I live down in the south as you know, corporal punishment is alive and well here, and seems for most to carry no shame. In fact they are almost proud of hitting their kids, shows they are good parents. A kid who was not standing where his mother told him to in the post office, a child who was upset about not getting his way. I think most parents who use corporal punishment are clueless to other methods out there to have well behaved children, and they tend to be resistant to learning other methods.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@JLeslie : The scenario I described is not “extremely extremely rare” and your question at the end of your post: “How does anyone justify it?” smacks of absolutism.

keobooks's avatar

I think that a kid can survive smacks and perhaps if they are done correctly, they may benefit from them. Before I had my daughter, I decided that corporal punishment would be appropriate if the physical pain from the punishment would be less physical pain than she’d experience from doing what I didn’t want her to do.

For instance, touching a hot stove would hurt a heck of a lot more than a smack on the hand, so a smack would be OK. That was my opinion before I had kids.

HOWEVER, I think the danger in corporal punishment lies more for the parents. Smacking is very dangerous for parents because many times, the urge to smack a child comes more from instinct than a conscious decision to teach your child. Toddlers and babies can be very frustrating and every now and then, the urge to just reach down and smack them is VERY strong.

I’ve only had that urge twice, but both times, I wasn’t thinking of discipline or what was good for my daughter. She was annoying the crap out of me and I was at my wits’ end. Both times I stopped myself from doing it. When my husband worked for an agency that helped parents get their kids back from social services, he dealt with a few parents who lost their kids because they smacked them a few too many times. Most of the bruises and injuries were caused because the parents were using corporal punishment as a way to release tension and anger.

I think once you start using smacking as punishment, it can be hard to draw the line between a formal punishment and releasing some stress. Even parenting experts who are pro-spanking are almost universally against smacking. most of what I’ve read about spanking from experts who support it have stressed the importance of putting up many safeguards for yourself to keep your anger out of it and make sure that when you do it it’s a thoughtful decision.

Smacking takes forethought out of the equation. Perhaps some parents with jedi master control of their emotions could handle it, but most parents I know can’t.

JLeslie's avatar

@JilltheTooth I said I agreed it might be justified in very extreme circumstances, I was clarifying and partly agreeing with you. My example in my first answer was regarding daily behavioral scenerios. I don’t believe kids are in extreme, dangerous to their health, circumstances constantly that warrant a hit. Many times they can just be physically removed from a situation.

But, I have gone around about this before, so I am actually going to stop following. Not because of you, just because this subject is frustrating for me. I just did not want to simply dissappear from the Q in case you respond.

BeccaBoo's avatar

A good parent will love, educate, cherish, show, respect and DISCIPLINE their child!!

There are ways of showing an older child right from wrong, and I am with you @JilltheTooth on this, but there are boundaries you set yourself as a parent, when your hurting your child for the sake of your own anger and when its to show an association that something is bad and to link it to the short sharp shock of not doing something because of the consequences.

And @JLeslie your excused :-)

JLeslie's avatar

@BeccaBoo Just curious, Discipline means hit?

BeccaBoo's avatar

Not to me, it means to correct my childs behaviour in a manner I see fit (not always a smack) my 17 yr old son is way to old, however I did smack him when he was younger. He was about 8 when i was able to stop the threat and then start reasoning with him in other forms. I have never smacked (the word sounds harsher than the ‘tap on the hand’ that I WOULD do) my 2yr old!!

JLeslie's avatar

@BeccaBoo Where I live they use the word discipline synonomously with corporal punishment, and so when someone uses the word I never know how they are defining it so I ask. I know way too many children and adults who have never been hit, who are well behaved, good people. I think hitting is almost never justified personally, but I can see an argument for it in extreme circumstance when nothing else is working. But, I only mean life in danger. @keobooks example of getting burned would not be enough for me, but running out in traffic might be, again if nothing else was working.

jerv's avatar

I was smacked by my father.

I have a very shaky grasp on the link between misbehavior and punishment; I expect punishment regardless of how good/bad my behavior is.

I don’t think it works too well.

keobooks's avatar

Just so you know, I ditched the “smack near the stove” thing once my daughter got old enough to touch the stove. We had some stove training sessions. She is not to touch the stove at all—even when it’s cold. Whenever she touched the stove, I said “Hot! No touching!” And pulled her hand away. She didn’t get it and though it was a game. So I just removed her from the kitchen, putting her in a room with a baby gate every time she touched it.

She hates being gated, so she quickly learned not to even get near the stove. Now and then she will look at the stove and say “Hot! No Touch!” and then runs into the living room.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Sure, just like fucking for chastity works.

JLeslie's avatar

@keobooks I understood from your first answer that once having your daughter even the hot stove in your opinion did not warrant a smack. I gave you a GA on your first answer. Sorry if by mentioning your example I might have implied the wrong thing in my answer.

BeccaBoo's avatar

@JLeslie I think there are different levels of ‘discipline’ for different children. For example, I have never ever smacked my 10yr old autistic son, because not only would it not benefit either of us but also, he would never understand it, (i truly mean that, he just would see it as mum-angry = pain for him, then in turn every time he got angry he would lash out at everyone when he became angry at someone for something) now I know some people would argue that this rule would apply to all kids but it doesn’t, well not in my case.

However I completely understand what you are saying about corporal punishment and also there are many cases of parents taking their anger out on their children and leaves the child scarred and hurt (for me that’s taking it way too far).

But for me, a form of punishment for a child should be allowed to be decided by the parent, they are the only ones who know their child well enough to decide on whats best for them in the form of ‘discipline’ and shouldn’t be chastised for setting good boundaries and discipline for their children.

I don’t think you should be slated for your opinions on this, nor anybody else, we parent as we see fit.

Buttonstc's avatar

Does smacking a child help?

Help what or whom? Does it help a parent to control unwanted behavior? Certainly.

Does it help the child develop internal control and a healthy sense of self? The research is abundantly clear that it does not help the child and has the potential for great harm. Have some people who were spanked turned out fine? Yes. Some. But does that carte blanche justify it? Hardly.

People with the attitude and methodology of Jill the Tooth (who use it in VERY limited and clearly defined circumstances) are not that common.

It’s far far too easy to succumb to ever increasing usage after one initial success experience. That’s simply the tendency of human nature. We tend to repeat what works. And most don’t stop after toddlerhood.

It works in the short run (for the parent) unfortunately. It’s too easy to overlook the possible long term damage and cease the habit because of that.

And one person’s smack is another person’s clobber. The line between the two can become fuzzy for a lot of people. There is ample evidence of cases that went way too far.

In the schools where I taught, parents agreed to allow corporal punishment of their children.

But I discovered that there were far more effective discipline methods if one wanted lasting results.

When we first got kids who had previously been in the typically lax public school system, they simply ignored homework assignments or studying for tests (since that had not been enforced where they came from).

I found that one brief parent-teacher agreement to take away TV (or whatever else was valued by the kid) until consistent improvement and compliance was FAR FAR more effective and really got the job done.

Many kids can pretty much be unfazed by a brief smack on the butt. It’s over with quickly.

But deprivation of something they really like could possibly last half a lifetime with no reprieve (from THEIR point of view) unless they change their ways.

There are PLENTY of more effective discipline methods once a child is old enough to reason. They aren’t toddlers forever.

The problem lies when parents who eschew spanking are too lazy (or thoughtless) and don’t discipline their kids at all.

But over disciplining physically is just as damaging as non discipline.

There is a middle ground. The goal is for kids to learn internal discipline so they can function as adults. Smacking does absolutely nothing to teach this important skill.

digitalimpression's avatar

Every kid is different and will respond differently to negative or positive reinforcement.

Muddling the difference between spanking and “hitting” is a technique used by people with a skewed agenda. I was spanked growing up and there was absolutely no confusion about the difference. Kids aren’t stupid. People who will tell you “how can you spank your kid as punishment for hitting” must think their kids are stupid.

I have a theory (just a theory, mind you) that the same people who would abolish spanking are also the people who would: have every playground filled with that rubber nonsense, give every kid a ribbon (even for 19th place), and coddle their youngsters for every little thing.

“Spare the rod, spoil the child.”

“Getting smacked teaches kids not to do certain behaviors in front of their parents”
It’s important to explain to kids why they are getting spanked when it happens. That way they understand what behavior is unacceptable and why.

@tedd Truer words were never spoken

@JilltheTooth I agree wholeheartedly with your first post

@whitenoise Spanking has nothing to do with “relieving frustration”. If it is done in this manner, than absolutely it is wrong. I think there is a problem with parents being abusive under the label “spanking”. Those parents are wrong. However, spanking done correctly is effective. I don’t need a study (done by someone with a bias, no doubt) to show me that it works effectively on my kids.

The most important thing I could say about this, though, is the thing I started with. Every kid is different. If you know your kids, you will know best how to discipline them.

ragingloli's avatar

I can tell you quite clearly that all it ever did was to fuel my resentment.

JLeslie's avatar

Obviously I have not left the Q yet.

@digitalimpression Or, you could simply just explain why.

Blackberry's avatar

It depends on how much, your culture, and what you want them to be like etc. Not that every parent thinks of those things, as some just know that smacking shuts them up makes them not do bad things, so it must work!

digitalimpression's avatar

@JLeslie Depends on the kid. Talking is good, but can’t solve everything… just look at politics. Some of them could use a good spanking.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Define “smacking.” Is it a smack on the face, which I find awful, or a swat on a well padded butt, which works well for immediate discipline.

jrpowell's avatar

If you hit your kid for any reason you already fucked up somewhere. [removed by Fluther]

Restraint and hitting are two separate things.

JLeslie's avatar

@digitalimpression Well, you said smack and then explain why. I say in that situation why is enough. Why, and your dissappointment as a parent. Most children don’t want to dissappoint their parents. If they don’t give a shit, then the problem is much larger. I’m not talking about some kid having a little tantrum because he wants to buy a toy. But, the big things: stealing, hurting another child, lying, the life lessons, those take an understanding of why, and if the kid does not care why, does not care his parent is dissappointed in dishonesty and violence, then they are on their way to being sociopaths. I am not saying a 4 year old who wants to get away with eating a cookie when not allowed, I mean a consistent track record of a child who lies without qualms, and finds hurting others funny. Hitting that child will not fix things in my opinion. Their conscience is what is important to curb their behavior. No conscience, really big problem. Conscience, the why is enough without the hit. In cases of safety, if they can understand the why, again the hit is unnecessary.

For very young children usually a parent can find a different alternative, as @keobooks pointed out, her child hates to be gated.

I just think people inclined to hit, inclined to think spanking is the best way, they seem to not believe that maybe the absence of spanking works just as well if the parent is otherwise good at modeling good behavior and finding alternate methods for discipline.

I was shocked, totally shocked a few years ago when I found out corporal punishment in public schools is still legal in almost half of the states in the US. There is an entire part of the country that has not heard of or experienced such a threat for over 40 years, but so many people around me here in the south think it is just awful when a school decides to do away with corporal punishment, it is such common practice here. Yet, somehow in states and school districts where it has not been used for many many generation students do well, graduate, go on to be successful, well disciplined people. A friend of mine who teached high school said one of the things she learned when she moved from teaching in MS outside of Memphis to the St Louis area was corporal punishment is simply not necessary. She also said her students in St. louis were much more curious, knowledgeable, and interested in their studies. I am not saying those things are directly reoated, but it might go to the home life, and how the children are included in adult conversation I bet, and not treated with a seen and not heard attitude, which I find often goes along with the strictest and most controlling parents.

I have wondered, if the culture of the community to use corporal punishment at home and with the threat of it at school…is that child more likely to only respond when the threat of corporal punishment is there? Is there some sort of conditioning going on? That it becomes true the kid needs a spanking, because that is what he knows? I am trying to figure out why some adults when recalling their childhood say they needed to be hit to stay in line or they would have done all sorts of bad things? Are they trying to justify hitting their own children? Trying to feel betterabout their own parents and childhood? There are entire countries of, prosperous, civilized, well educated, industrious countries of people who have frowned on spaking and corporal punishment for many many years, and somehow their kids are well adjusted and obedient.

Just thinking out loud. I don’t think I have the end all be all answers. There certainly are people who were spanked who grow up to be just fine, I just prefer to err on the side of no hitting.

SpatzieLover's avatar

This is an extremely relevant article @BeccaBoo:
Spanking Can Cause Kids Long Term Harm

My husband sent this via an email to me last week. Yes, spankings can lower IQ, cause psychological damage and lower one’s self esteem. All of this has been proven time & again, yet, as the article states somehow this topic remains open for discussion.

wundayatta's avatar

There’s all kinds of research about how ineffective and even counter productive corporal punishment (including “smacking”) is. It has been posted on fluther time and again; every time we have this discussion.

If you believe the research then there is a reason for laws like this. And clearly it is necessary here, since apparently people do not find the research compelling. We need anti corporal punishment laws in order to bring people’s attention to the issue.

However, what we really need, is education. We need parenting schools or something, so we can show people how to raise their kids without laying a hand on them in anger.

Of course, no one would ever fund such courses, and few parents would attend the courses, so in the end it is a public relations issue.

There are more effective ways to bring up our kids that don’t involve hitting or smacking or spanking them. The law won’t change the reality on the ground, and I doubt if it prevented one “smack.” Parents will smack because they don’t know what else to do. They are at their wits end. They can’t think fast enough or creative enough to find an alternative. They were smacked as children and believe it worked, so they’ll use it on their own kids.

Interestingly, there’s a kind of class element to this, according to the article. They say middle class parents send their kids to private school or give them tennis lessons. What? This is discipline? I wonder where that comes from?

Maybe it’s just a working class perception. Working class parents, it seems, need to hit their kids because they can’t afford tennis lessons. Ok then. There’s logic for you.

But I do sometimes wonder if the spanking issue is somewhat correlated with education level. Presumably, if you are more educated, you know more alternatives in terms of raising kids. Similarly, it seems to me that the lower you are on the economic totem pole, the more it is deemed acceptable to use violence to solve problems. Slaves, of course, are lowest. Working class people seem to face much more harsh conditions in their work places.

People who are raised to be leaders are less likely to be hit as they grow up, I think. They are being raised to the the ones who discipline, not the ones who are disciplined. They will be the leaders of the future.

Following that logic, it seems like people with less resources are kind of training themselves to stay in that economic stratum by using corporal punishment. They are raising kids to expect to be hit instead of treated with intelligence and dignity. Oh. and based on what @SpatzieLover just posted, they keep their IQ down and lower self-esteem—all things that seem appropriate among the people who are raised to be followers.

It’s amazing to me that people will actually do this to themselves, arguing all the while that they are not harmed by this behavior. It’s as if they want to stay in the same economic stratum. Or make their own lives harder. Yet they argue it’s only a little spanking, and it’s it’s only used when they are running into the street and it never hurt them so it won’t hurt their kids.

Like I said, maybe we need the law to get the message out. I doubt if it will change things much if we don’t include education with it, but I really don’t think people want to change. I think they look at these reports and dismiss them as irrelevant because they aren’t like that. They’d rather justify their own behavior than try to make things better for their kids.

It’s very frustrating to me, personally, because I’d love for people to improve the quality of their lives. My kids will probably grow up as leaders. But we are all better off when everyone is better off. The more productive the people with fewer resources are; the more productive the people who manage them will be, and the wealthier we all will be.

Also, if people with fewer resources are raised to be more empowered, they will be less likely to want to give away their wealth to the 1%. They will be less fooled by Republican policies. They will be able to see, better, how they can be better off, and how we can all be better off. It’s all related because life is a wholistic thing, not a thing of parts. I don’t know how many people see that, though.

digitalimpression's avatar

@JLeslie Well, you actually misquoted me, but its cool. I understand what you’re saying.

@wundayata Were you spanked as a kid? Just curious.

tedd's avatar

My eventual children will be faced with spanking at some point. Not like a brutal beating or anything like that. I use negative reinforcement quite frequently with the autistic boy I tutor. It’s not typically physical, but only because he simply cannot process the connection of physical feelings.

Quite frankly I find nothing wrong with the prospect of spanking a child, so long as you’re not leaving some kind of permanent damage. The fact that the child is being physically punished is often far more effective on the child than the actual “damage” from the spanking. So long as you pair it properly so the child knows what caused the negative reinforcement… and you offer plenty of possibilities for positive reinforcement… I have no problem with it.

For that matter, ask professional animal trainers about negative reinforcement. They may not like it, but it is undeniably effective when used properly.

Dutchess_III's avatar

If spanking lowers the IQ then I must be a moron by now!

BeccaBoo's avatar

@Dutchess_III Oh I am so with you there!! In regard I have no IQ and come from a lower class!!!

Quite the contrary but hey!!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m sorry, but if a kid runs out in the street he’s going to get an instant reinforcement of why he or she isn’t going to do that again. I mean instant. I’m not going to have a long, loving, logical talk. I’m not going to waste 60 seconds getting him or her into time out. I’m going to scare the shit out of them. I’m going to yell “HEY!!! STOP!!!” then march up to them and give them a pretty hard swat on the butt and I’m going to tell them, in no uncertain terms, that they will NEVER do that again. I’ll tell them “You can get hurt,” yadda yadda yadda, but my words won’t mean as much as the shock I put into them at that INSTANT. Besides, if a kid runs into the street, he obviously doesn’t know it’s dangerous. Even if you tell them it’s dangerous they might not understand about something that COULD happen in the future and they may not have a reference even put it in to. They DO understand my immediate reaction, though.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Quite frankly I find nothing wrong with the prospect of spanking a child, so long as you’re not leaving some kind of permanent damage.

How will you know if you’ve damaged your child @tedd?

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta I think people really have a hard time seeing past their own community. Whether the community is defined by socioeconomics, or religion, or neighborhood, or the work they do. People tend to take advice and believe the people they respect, and all too often people actively show disrespect or put down those outside of their own group. I think socioeconomics has a huge bearing on the topic as you pointed out, but I think religion plays a part on this topic, because I have some very educated people around me, lawyers, engineers, pilots, who believe in spanking, and for me what they have in common is being religious southern Christians. The topic does not come up much here, but the two times I have discussed corporal punishment where I live in the midsouth, I have never had anyone else at the table be against hitting a child. Everyone has agreed it is necessary, and commonplace. There is tons of reinforcement in their community, whether we are saying the community is the Christian community, or just a geographic community where I live. As I write this I wonder if there are any Christian movements, clergy who speak out, specifically against corporal punishment? I know a close girlfriend of mine said she recently attended class where her priest, she is Catholic, began by telling a story about how he used to paddle children who were being disobedient in his classroom, and some parents began to mumble how they need to bring that type of discipline back, and my girlfriend was so happy to hear the priest end with saying he believes now the paddling was wrong.

But, back to putting down people outside of a group. Let’s say socioeconomics is the biggest factor. Many lower class put down the rich, or who they perceive as rich, and so why would we think they would take advice from the middle class and higher? Those high falutin people don’t get it, their lives are different.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I was smacked (only about three times in my whole childhood – I was a quick learner) and, I believe, like you @BeccaBoo that it did work for me and I don’t have any bad feelings because of it nowadays. However, I believe that every child is different and what will work for one whilst causing no mental trauma will not work in the same way for another. Whilst he doesn’t seem to be mentally scarred or resentful of it, being smacked for bad behaviour didn’t work for my brother. He just didn’t care enough and if he wanted to do something, being faced with the consequences of being smacked was not enough of a deterrent for him.

JLeslie's avatar

@SpatzieLover @wundayatta I do wonder about the lower IQ claim. Maybe those with lower IQ’s are more likely to spank, and so genetically their children are likely to be lower IQ anyway. Or, the spanking implies other things about their parenting, or the environemnt/community the child is in, so it is not the spanking that lowers a childs IQ, but rather there is only a correlation there.

To those who are going to jump all over what I just said, I am not saying people who spank are all low IQ, or stupid. We are talking statistics here, averages. As I said above I have many friends who are engineers and lawyers who believe in corporal punishment.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@JLeslie I’ll try to look for that particular study, but as far as I recall, that wasn’t the case.


Here’s an article with this info from the study:

Straus and his colleague Mallie Paschall of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in Maryland studied nationally representative samples of two age groups: 806 children ages 2 to 4, and 704 ages 5 to 9. The researchers tested the kids’ IQs initially and then four years later.

Both groups of kids got smarter after four years. But the 2— to 4-year-olds who were spanked scored 5 points lower on the IQ test than those not spanked. For children ages 5 to 9, the spanked ones scored on average 2.8 points lower than their unspanked counterparts.

BeccaBoo's avatar

@Dutchess_III if I could GREAT ANSWER that X100 I would…....

@Leanne1986 Agreed, but has it effected your IQ. Are you a lower class citizen?

I WANT TO SEE THIS STUDY, and to whom they did the studies on!

tedd's avatar

@SpatzieLover That’s an incredibly situational question. But I know for fact the long term “damage” the can be associated with not practicing negative reinforcement when necessary. It’s far less damaging to just practice it, and do so properly.

SpatzieLover's avatar

My husband’s parents & my mom both did what at the time was considered the proper method:

Sit down. Tell your child what they did wrong. Inform them as to why they are getting physical punishment.

For me, it did nothing but create animosity. For my husband, It has caused long-term trauma.

As a child you are supposed to trust what your parent tells you. “I love you!” “I’m so proud of you”

It’s difficult to believe that person after they’ve told you they hit you because they love you.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I wonder if the verbal words and tone of voice of the parent the entire mental atmosphere surrounding the spanking, would be the deciding factor whether a child feels “traumatized,” or simply “corrected.” Verbal and mental abuse is horrible. Unfortunately a lot of parents resort to it. You hear them out in public all the time.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe : Thank you for that helpful input from someone who knows all about it.
@johnpowell : See above comment to @Adirondackwannabe .

SuperMouse's avatar

I have said it before here on Fluther and I will say it again: I have three great kids. They get good grades, have good friends, do their chores and homework, etc. They listen and do what they are told. They do not touch hot stoves or run in the middle of the street without looking. I have never hit my children and have no plans to begin hitting them. Sure they get mouthy and test their limits, those three boys push my buttons more then anyone else in the world ever could, this is all the more reason to me not to hit. The only time I have ever been tempted to hit them, it has been because I was at my wits end and on the verge of being out of control. Like it or not I have to be the adult and not let my anger and frustration get the better of me. IMO all hitting a kid teaches that kid is that bigger people are allowed to hit littler people just because they are bigger. A parent needs to have better tools in their toolbox and if they don’t they need to get some – toot sweet.

Contrary to what so many people seem to think, there are ways of disciplining children that do not include hitting or long involved logical discussions about why something is wrong. I tend to use logical consequences. When a child is little, as @keobooks mentions, separation from mom and dad in the form of a timeout is a great and effective consequence and typically worked well with my kids. Now that they are older they have different currency. No video games or television until the work is done. If they want to talk back and argue with me they are going to lose a privilege. Logical consequences. My 13 year-old has officially hit the point where it is worth both of our time for me to explain to him why I have forbidden something and why it is important to think before he acts and make responsible choices. If the boy disagrees with a decision I have made he is allowed to share that with me, as long as he does so respectfully.

Ever since my oldest son was a baby I have asked the same question of the parents of grown children who are succeeding in the world. I regularly ask them what they think they did right to raise such awesome kids. To a person they have said they gave their kids lots of love and attention. Not a single one told me they believe their kid grew up to be successful because they hit them.

Spanking is actually not negative reinforcement. Negative reinforcement consists of taking away a negative stimulant to reinforce a desired behavior. It is not introducing a negative stimulant to reduce an undesired behavior. An example is that annoying beeping sound your car makes until you buckle your seat belt.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I never spanked one of my kid simply because I was emotional. If I was really, REALLY angry I’d send them to their room for 30 minutes first so that I could calm down before I spanked them. I also didn’t “Hit them regularly.” I saved spankings for serious offenses.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

With what? Making them incapable like the parent? Sure.
I’m VERY anti-smacking.

wundayatta's avatar

@Dutchess_III Your kid runs out towards the street. You yell “Hey Stop,” or in my case, I just yell “STOP!!!!!!!” in my loudest voice. My daughter froze, instantly. Very gratifying. So why do you need to hit them after that? You’ve already prevented the harm. You’ve already scared them and gotten their attention. How does hitting them help anything at this point?

@digitalimpression I was spanked. Oddly, my father was never spanked. My kids have never been spanked. They are probably more well behaved than any of their peers.

I have always discussed the reasons for why we ask them to do things. I think that helps. They understand why we do things. I have never said, “do it because I say so.” Well, ok, I said that, but only as a joke. I have, in fact, told them not to do things because I say so. Do them because they make sense. I have told them I want them to question me. I am not always right.

Of course, on fluther, that’s not the case, but with my kids….. ;-)

It gets annoying because there are things where we don’t agree, and they take the side of convention against me. I am not, for example, against recreational drugs. I think they should be used with caution, but I do not think they should be banned. My kids are not happy when they see me drink. I don’t use recreational drugs any more. I’m too old and have too many non-recreational drugs to take and am greatly afeared of drug interactions.

My daughter is probably a daughter others would kill for. All she wants to do is study. She has no interest in boys at this point in her life. She wants to get into college. She is on the honor role and would be straight As except for her Algebra II teacher. We tell her a B is fine, but she is not so fine with it. Competitive instincts for college, I guess.

Well, I don’t think high school is the be-all and end-all, and I try to maintain that attitude with her. Part of me wants her to get straight As, but I also want her to not be depressed, as I was at her age. So, since she is lonely, we are discussing getting a dog.

My point is that there are different ways of interacting with our children. I don’t think it would make any difference who my kids were. If you treat them with respect, they will return that respect, and they will not be the kind of kids who some people think need to be hit. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that.

Another theory of mine is that people try to justify their own childhood experiences. It’s a form of cognitive dissonance. If you like yourself, you need to like how you formed, and if that includes hitting, then you need to like that.

Aethelflaed's avatar

There is no evidence that spanking is ever better than all the other parenting techniques. There is lots, and lots of evidence that it has long-term damage for lots of people. You wanna tell me how everyone turned out fine? Get some evidence. No, not anecdotal evidence – you’re personal testimony saying you turned out fine doesn’t count any more than my personal testimony saying that I didn’t link it to the behavior but to my parents not loving me, that it did cause some issues, and that I had to go through a lot of therapy before turning out “fine”. Find real evidence.

I think there’s this idea that psychologists are saying that everyone who spanked will turn out to be psychopaths or something, and then everyone who isn’t just the worst turned out fine. They aren’t. They’re saying, it causes some baggage later in life that doesn’t have to be there. I have yet to meet a single person who didn’t have something they could work on, so I don’t understand why there’s all this hostility to the idea that maybe if we stopped hitting our kids, things would be a little bit easier for everyone when they grow up. But then again, I don’t understand why you would want to treat your own child with less respect than the drunk asshole in the bar, whom it’s considered assault to hit like that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I WISH people would quit acting like a swat is just as bad as a punch or a slap, or getting shoved up against a wall, or thrown down the stairs.

SpatzieLover's avatar

In some cases @Dutchess_III it’s worse.

My dad never touched me, but did life long damage. My husband’s parent did swat/spank and did life long damage.

keobooks's avatar

It’s not a big thing, but I am tired of seeing people post about “negative reinforcement” and it’s obvious that they have no clue what the real definition of it is.

Negative reinforcement is NOT synonymous with punishment. Negative reinforcement means taking away something to reinforce behavior. The most common and easy to explain example is in some lab experiments, rats will be constantly hearing a painful high pitched noise unless they push on a lever. When they push the lever, the noise stops. They learn that pushing the lever leads to a bad situation going away so they do it.

Technically speaking, spanking is positive reinforcement because you are ADDING an element (spanking) to their behavior in order to diminish the behavior. This would be like the rat would only hear the terrible noise if it pushed on the lever. Then it would learn not to push the lever in the future.

I know it’s not a big thing, but positive and negative reinforcement have really solid definitions in psychological research and it just grates on my nerves when people use those terms the opposite way of how they are intended over and over and over.

Blackberry's avatar

@Aethelflaed I tried to find the clip of Louis Ck, doing his “joke” about how children are the only demograpic that it’s ok to hit. Everything else is assault unless you’re defending your life, but a kid breaks a TV? “Yeah, whoop his ass!”

SuperMouse's avatar

@keobooks I mentioned that fact at the end of my quip, and I totally agree with how annoying it is that the wrong definition is used.

keobooks's avatar

Sorry @SuperMouse I missed that. I was probably busy wincing in annoyance from reading it so many times that I didn’t see your last paragraph.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III But, we would not even swat another adult. Would we? We would not be ok with one child swatting another child. Would we? If my husband swatted me to discipline me, forget it. Didn’t hurt, didn’t leave a mark. I know it is not my husband’s place to teach me how to behave, so it is different than parent child, but this is about how we treat people, even little people, when we dissapprove of their behavior.

JLeslie's avatar

@keobooks I wanted to say I find it interesting that you thought you might use spanking as a form of punishment, or a way to deter dangerous behavior before you had your child, and now that you have one you prefer not using it. So often parents sort of say the reverse, that they thought they would be perfect, never hit or scream at their children, and then they become parents and do things they never thought they would, and tell childless people we just don’t get it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Blackberry Not a fair comparison. “Whooping a child’s ass” is NOT the same thing as a swat. Your comparison would be more along the lines of how it’s only ok to hit women and children, because there are men out there that think it’s ok to slap a woman on the butt as a sign of their “appreciation” of her butt. Not the same thing as “Whooping her ass.”

digitalimpression's avatar

Wow.. when did this thread get out of hand? XD Now our IQ’s are lower and we don’t know how to look outside our own community? Are we to be demons next? Those of us who spank kids? (insert eye-roll if you’d like)

Why do you suppose spanking isn’t against the law all over the world? Well, I suppose it must be because of dumb people right? Lord, some of you are beyond help. xD

Dutchess_III's avatar

@digitalimpression AND beating people up IS against the law.

Blackberry's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yeah, but the point of the joke was that it’s still ok to hit a kid and no one else without a good reason.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@digitalimpression Where is the empirical evidence to support corporal punishment of children?

EDIT: I prefer to parent without power struggles. To me, hitting is giving in to the power struggle. It makes no sense.

Jude's avatar

I don’t ever remember being smacked. I know for a fact that my brother and his wife never spanked my nephews growing up, and they turned out to be fine young adults.

I think that parents spank, smack, whatever, out of frustration.

When I chose to have kids, no spanking them.

keobooks's avatar

@JLeslie It’s more about me than it is about having a kid. I find that when I make violent gestures, the physical action makes me feel angry. And because I think you should never hit a child while you’re angry, this is a bad combination for me.

I also notice a lot of parents who spank try to use it as a last resort. The problem is, they don’t have consistent first resort tools in their discipline box. I’ll see parents at the playgrounds who will say “Stop it, Timmy. Stop it. Stop it, Timmy. Stop. Stop it.. Stop.. o**WHACK**o I SAID.. STOP IT!”

I didn’t want to get into a battle of wits with my toddler. I also didn’t want to smack her every single time she did something she wasn’t supposed to in order to be consistent. So my main form of discipline is taking her away from whatever she’s doing. If she’s at home, I put her in another room. If we are out on the town, we go home almost immediately (I give her one chance to stop the behavior and if she continues even once, we go home)

This isn’t really punishment, per say. I don’t yell at her in the car when we go home. I’m not even mad at her. I just figure she couldn’t handle being out in public, so we go home. Even though she is very young, she has figured out not to steal people’s shoes at the indoor playgrounds this way. I don’t have to hit her or yell at her. She knows that when I say “don’t touch the shoes” that she will go home if she touches the shoes again. I do it every single time. Now I don’t even have to tell her not to touch them.

It’s not that I think spanking is horrible and you should never ever do it. But with toddlers it’s important to be very consistent so they understand cause and effect. And from what I’ve seen, most parents who believe in spanking will allow bad behavior to continue over and over until the parents get angry and they’ve had enough.

Whether it’s hitting, yelling, or just removing your child from the activity, you have to be willing to do it EVERY SINGLE TIME with no emotion. It gets tedious and frustrating sometimes because toddlers spend a long time testing and experimenting to make sure they know exactly what happened and how they may have caused it.

Maybe some parents can give small little spanks for every repeated infraction every time without losing their tempers or feeling so guilty that they want to delay punishment for as long as possible. I’m not one of those parents. I stick with what I can actually follow through with.

Dutchess_III's avatar

If you don’t have children you really have no business even commenting here. Not talking to you Keobooks…this just happened to post under you and besides, you have children!

Blackberry's avatar

I’m not a chef, but I can just as easily google a recipe and cook something.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Dutchess_III Some people that have answered don’t have their own children. However, they work with children or have helped to raise children in their family unit. Prior to having a child of my own, I cared for hundreds of children. Many of these children had “behavioral issues”. I happen to believe behavior is communication
I never hit one of them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@keobooks And that kind of “spanking” is useless too. That kind of spanking as a “last resort and out of frustration” is detrimental. There an be so much that surrounds a spanking that makes it detrimental, not the actual swat itself. The anger and the words and the tone…those things can be far more devastating than a swat.

Oh my @Blackberry. You really think raising a kid can be compared to making a pie? Really?

ragingloli's avatar

Yep, let us disregard any and all science in favour of biased personal experience.

Blackberry's avatar

@Dutchess_III No. I was attempting to point out that I don’t need to a be a parent or a scientist to read a study, for example. I’m also not overweight, but understand being overweight isn’t good for me.

digitalimpression's avatar

@SpatzieLover You’re still equating “hitting” with “spanking”. If you don’t know the difference than for the love of Zeus don’t spank kids (whether they are yours or not). Please.

Where is the empirical evidence? Well, I’ve been conducting an experiment for the last 30 some odd years and the results have been as expected thus far.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Blackberry “Yeah, but the point of the joke was that it’s still ok to hit a kid and no one else without a good reason” and women with nice butts. It’s ok to hit them.

SpatzieLover's avatar

To a child @digitalimpression there is no difference between the words, hit, smack, swat, spank, slap. They all hurt.

digitalimpression's avatar

@SpatzieLover That is blatantly and glaringly incorrect.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SpatzieLover are you talking about a physical hurt? An open hand swat on a clothed butt doesn’t hurt. An open hand slap to the face does.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Blackberry I can read lots of articles on being a male. Does that mean I really have a clue what it’s like? No. And I wouldn’t presume to jump in on a conversation between males acting like I DO. No more than you would presume to jump in a conversation between females telling them what it’s really like because you’ve read some articles about what it’s like to be a female.

There is something about child rearing that makes everyone seem to think they’re an expert. The only people who DON’T claim to be an expert are parents.

Blackberry's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yeah, it’s all subjective, I guess.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Let’s have an authority figure physically larger than both of you @Dutchess_III &@digitalimpression try it on your bottoms. Then, report back. Yes, it hurts physically. It’s also humiliating.

JLeslie's avatar

@digitalimpression Again I feel misunderstood by you. I take the blame. Even the rich and educated tend to agree with their own communities. We, the big we, all we, in general, tend to become our communities to some extent. The more diverse and open, and the more access people have to differing ideas, and the more open minded people are within a community, the more likely they are to try new things, and go outside of the norm. A very diverse community has fewer norms probably, and less judgement. The people who spank, are they actively looking for alternatives? And, then come to the conclusion spanking is best? It seems there are many studies to say it isn’t best. Maybe a lot of the time it does not cause great harm, but why take the chance if there is a better alternative? Where is all the proof spanking is better? Objective studies? Long term studies?

CWOTUS's avatar

I like the tone of responses from @JilltheTooth:

There are no absolutes!

Not even that one.

digitalimpression's avatar

@SpatzieLover Ok.. now we’re talking about whether it hurts or not? Ok, well a snake bite hurts too… a tetanus shot hurts too.. are those spankings/hittings? Holy crap you all are giving me a real laugh.. I needed this today. Thank you! And I mean that sincerely! My butt literally just fell off from laughing.

@JLeslie I’ve already given you the evidence from my perspective. Three posts from now someone will ask for evidence again. I can’t keep doing this. It’s hard to type while laughing.

keobooks's avatar

@SpatzieLover I have met parents who mastered the art of spanking with as little physical pain as possible. One parent would smack on the diaper. This would release a pocket of air and make a loud smacking sound, but the padding kept the child from actually feeling anything. The punishment was just a big loud scary sound that would startle him.

Another parent showed me that you can cup your hand a certain way that makes almost no physical pain, but a very loud showy sound.

A lot of parents who are “good spankers” use these techniques. They rely more on the noise and then later the shame and embarrassment more than the pain.

I’m not an advocate of spanking. I will not do it. But I have seen parents who get the results they want from it and they seem to do an OK job at keeping anger out of it. But when people say hitting is hitting—it isn’t true. Spanking is not all about pain. (Now I think the shame and embarrassment part of it is kind of twisted and not something good. My child is too young to feel any shame so I can’t really say much on that yet.)

SuperMouse's avatar

@digitalimpression I for one never demonized anyone in this or any other thread, nor did I say that folks who spank are less intelligent than those who chose not to. I personally do not feel spanking is necessary to raise a good kid and I get incredibly frustrated by people thinking that because I don’t hit my kids they must be complete monsters. There also seems to be the mistaken impression that my only form of discipline is sitting and having long drawn out conversations with my kids. There are effective forms of discipline that do not include spanking.

@Dutchess_III the most gifted early childhood educator I have ever met in my life never had toddlers of her own. This woman was brilliant when it came to dealing with children and I considered working with her learning at the feet of the master. I give her a lot of credit for the parenting techniques that have been the most effective with my kids over the years. I have also used them in the past year with my very strong willed and extremely challenging step granddaughter and seen a huge difference in her behavior. Non-parents, while they may not have any first hand experience with raising kids, can have some great things to bring to the discussion.

@digitalimpression, are you really trying to convince us that there are no negative consequences to hitting your child? I think that is blatantly and glaringly incorrect. Is it ok for a husband to hit his wife every now and then when she really deserves it? No it isn’t, and there we’re talking about two adults not an adult in the position of authority and a child who looks to that adult to fulfill all their basic needs.

@CWOTUS for me as a mother there is absolutely an absolute, it is not ok for me to hit my kids.

zensky's avatar

I was smacked, and worse. I do not think it is wise to hit children.

I never felt the need to hit mine, and I must say they have turned out quite well – if I do say so myself.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@keobooks I understand. I have cared for children whose parents did “swat”.

I do not parent from a threatening stand point, either. Power struggle parenting is not a choice I’ll ever make.

digitalimpression's avatar

@SuperMouse No it is not ok to “hit” kids. Ever. Spanking, though, is perfectly acceptable. Lord, this is like arguing with a toddler and telling them “no… no.. that is not an orange.. it’s a banana” and having them counter with nothing but “yes, it is an orange”.

jazmina88's avatar

wow, do not answer unless….......

I do not have kids, but I have broken paddles on kids back in the day of teaching in TN. So I will answer. I dont think I was whacked much and I am spoiled.

Kids today have no respect in the school setting. I think parents should learn to teach their children with reason and respect.

It is not up to education to teach your kids respect. You can not leave parenting to the schools. We have so much more to do. and many more kids to influence.

JLeslie's avatar

@digitalimpression I haven’t seen any links presented by spankers, maybe I missed it? No objective studies or research. I completely respect the opinions of those who disagree with me on this Q, and believe their experiences regarding the topic at hand, but your evidence is antidoctal not scientific.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SuperMouse Working “with” children is not the same as raising them. I can run a cash register in a convenience store, doesn’t mean I could succeed in owning one.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@JLeslie What links? We’re here in person, discussing this. Are our experiences not valid unless they appear in some study?

digitalimpression's avatar

@JLeslie So I should let a scientist in Sweden determine whats good for my kids? Perhaps there’s a bigger problem with what you’re saying than you realize.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Of course your experience is valid, I stated that, but studies mean something to. Many jellies on the Q who are against spanking provided studies, not just how they themselves reacted to something or their kids. The stats might matter when deciding what to do with ones own kid, because your child might not react as you did. Spankers seem to want to justify how they discipline rather than look for what seems to be the best type of discipline in the long run.

SuperMouse's avatar

@keobooks so why even bother making physical contact if the whole idea is just to scare the kid with the noise? Why not blow whistle, or clap your hands?

@digitalimpression when did spanking become something other than hitting your child on the rear end? That is is playing semantics. If you want to “spank” your child have it. If you have to pretend it isn’t actually hitting the child in order to justify it, go for that too. Out of curiosity, if a husband does something dangerous, is it entirely appropriate for the wife just to go ahead and “spank” him? I mean since she isn’t actually hitting him then by your reasoning it should be fine.

@Dutchess_III It is very short-sighted to exclude people from this conversation just because they haven’t raised their own kids. They might have some valuable input.

JLeslie's avatar

@digitalimpression Are you willing to at least read the studies? Sweden, America, wherever?

keobooks's avatar

@SuperMouse – I can’t really answer that. I can’t spank. Ever. It goes against my nature. I’m just saying that some folk have gotten the results they wanted out of it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@keobooks And I appreciate that.
You know, the people who seem to be the most against spankings here are A) People who don’t have kids and B) People who were physically abused by parents who called that “discipline.”
There is such a word of difference between physically abusing a child because you’re in a rage, and administering a calm, rational swat or spanking.

digitalimpression's avatar

@SuperMouse The problem with semantics is on your end I’m afraid. You’re generalizing the term “hit” and comparing to a much different thing.. “spanking”. Why else would you insist on using the term hit? It seems you’re trying to subtly shift the idea of spanking and make it comparable to hitting/abusing a child. Your premise is irrevocably wrong.. be it from ignorance or something else I can’t say.

@JLeslie I’ve read them. I’ve also conducted my own experiment.. which I continue to conduct day in and day out. Scientists have also said the world was flat, that the world is gazillions of years old and that there is no God. Perpetually siding with someone (who is seen as the be all end all of facts) just because they are a “scientist” is no way to live. What device, then, do you have to sort the rubbish from the gold? I have no doubt that these “studies” are accurate for some kids. There are a lot of other variables to the equation than spank=mental problems. If you really take a close look at these studies you’ll see the problem with how they were conducted.

There can be no substitute for results I have personally seen (using the scientific method in my own home).

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I beg to differ. There are a bunch of people on the Q who have children, some were spanked some weren’t, who are against spanking.

@digitalimpression I just want to point out, I questioned the studies about IQ and spanking, that possibly it was not cause and effect, but a correlation. I am not sucked in that every study published is valid, nor am I saying experience does not count. I am not one of those science vs God people. But, I do think the more information the better, and I think spanking is demeaning to a child. It is not just about the physical, it is about their confidence, self esteem, and feeling they can stand up to authority with words.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SuperMouse Of course they could have valuable insight, just as I could have valuable “insight” on what it’s like to be a man, I suppose. But..not really. That isn’t “insight” that’s opinion because I can never know what it’s like to be a man.

OK…rather than going back and picking out posts and copying them here, who here was spanked (NOT abused, NOT punched, NOT slapped) and are against spanking, and why?

I was spanked. The last time was when I was about 12. At which point I realized…it’s didn’t hurt. It never had. It was the concept of being in trouble that hurt my emotions the most. It never hurt, physically.

@Spatzie…..wait In many cases that is exactly what parenting is about…power struggles. You try to teach your kid that they HAVE to stay in their car seat, and they don’t WANT to….wouldn’t you call that a power struggle? One that you HAVE to win, whether you resort to spanking or not?

digitalimpression's avatar

@JLeslie Well I welcome you to believe what you will. I will, obviously, maintain that spanking is an effective tool (when used properly). And as I said earlier.. it really does depend on the child. That’s where knowing them comes into play. If you have a kid who isn’t quite as tough as the others who will clearly react negatively to spanking.. then by all means.. use a different form of corrective action.

I have another theory (debatable at best) that 99% of bullies were either beat, or spoiled. I’m proposing neither of those for my kids.

Growing up I was continually amazed at the disrespect displayed by my peers toward their parents. It was no surprise to me to find out that these kids were not spanked growing up. Rather, they were coddled.

No matter what way you slice it, information is a good thing. Being sold on one form of corrective action and nothing else displays tunnel vision. On that much we can agree.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Dutchess_III, It’s only a power struggle if you allow it to be. Our vehicle does not move if the seat belt becomes unbuckled. The first time our son took his arms out of the belts we said firmly, “The police can give us a ticket if you don’t stay in your belts. If we get in an accident and your seat belt is off, you could die by going through the windshield.

He never took his belts off again. When his friend came in our car and took off her belt before we were done parking he said, “You are not allowed to take your seat belt off when the car is on”.

We don’t do power struggles. Personally, I have never done them. I set clear rules and follow up on said rules. I give one warning followed by clear consequences if the behavior/action continues.

SuperMouse's avatar

@digitalimpression as I mentioned upthread, feel free to call it whatever you want in order to convince yourself it is all right to hit or spank or whatever your child. I will chose to call a spanking a hit and not to do it to my child.

@Dutchess_III so if it didn’t hurt and it was only the “concept of being in trouble” that caused you woe, why bother with the spanking? My point here, as it has been in every other thread of this type, is that there are ways to show your child that a behavior is inappropriate without spanking them. Also, if it really is nothing more then a power struggle, then by hitting the child aren’t you just showing them that the bigger person, with the better swing has all the power? That is certainly not the message I want to send my kids.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SpatzieLover You would say that to a one year old? Would they have any concept of what you were talking about?

In a personal situation, when my daughter was about 20 months old we had a power struggle over sitting in her car seat. HOWEVER, she wasn’t biologically mine, and I’d been in her life for only 3 months or so. Also, her father used to allow her to stand up on the seat beside him when he drove (This was the late 70’s, early 80’s before that was illegal, although at the time I thought it was down right stupid.) I had taken her to visit a friend of mine and as we were getting ready to leave she decided she didn’t want to have to sit in the car seat. No one had ever made her do that before.

The battle went on for 30 minutes. We sat at the curb that whole time. I put her in, she’d slide out. I put her back in, she slid back out. We did that maybe 40 times. I didn’t yell, I didn’t hit, but I kept putting her back in. She got so very, very angry and frustrated, almost screaming in rage. At one point I got us both out of the car for a break, and we sat in the grass and she ripped up handfuls of grass in anger. After she was calmed down, I put her in her car seat…she slipped out. I put her back…and her little body just slumped in defeat. :( It was really sad, but we never had another issue with it again.

My other two never questioned it at any point, because they were in car seats ALWAYS from the day they were born.

But I agree…the parents are often the ones who cause the power struggles, because they want to make the child eat this particular food “Just one bite!” or whatever. They want to make them do things that are really silly.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SuperMouse We always had to “wait until Dad came home.” It was the waiting and the dreading that affected us the most. It wouldn’t have done anything at all if there wasn’t something to dread!

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yes. I don’t use baby talk.

jonsblond's avatar

never mind. it’s not worth it. I know how these always end. Spankers=abusers. Non-spankers=superior. have fun wasting your time trying to convince the other side

wundayatta's avatar

This is just too much fun, and people are adding too fast for me to read. So a few thoughts.

@digitalimpression All spanking is hitting, but not all hitting is spanking.

@various: there’s a art to spanking? Like make noise, but don’t hurt? Spanking isn’t supposed to hurt? Oh wow. What’s the point? Why can’t ya’ll talk to your kids instead of threatening them with loud sounds that simulate hitting?

“Wait ‘til Dad comes home.” I heard that one as a kid. Waiting. Dreading. And @keobooks mentions shame and embarrassment. This gets more and more ludicrous.

This is how codependent relationships are taught. We never say what we we mean. We threaten and shame and embarrass and we “don’t hit,” lololol. And then everyone grows up and says it didn’t harm them one bit. Because what? They’re still alive? Is that the proof of the pudding?

Is that how you want it to be? Is that how we should be teaching our kids to relate to each other? As far as I can tell there is no thoughtful, reasoned defense of spanking here. It’s more like, it was good enough for me, so it’s good enough for my kids. Anyone else see where this spanking/IQ relationship might be coming from?

Sorry people. As usual. I’ve lost it in this discussion. But that’s what happens when people make no sense. I can only make fun of it. Otherwise I’m in despair. This is so wrong.

A little introspection might help. Maybe it adults knew what they were feeling, they could express their own feelings to their kids. Maybe we could teach kids how to identify their own feelings. Maybe we could be less hypocritical about the reasons we ask children to do things.

Seems to me the reason people spank is that they know they want their kids to do as they say, not as they do. But there’s no logic to that, so they resort to hitting. And I don’t care what you say, even if they can’t feel a thing, it is hitting. And hitting someone in diapers? Give me a break! Toddlers are too young for hitting. No one should be hit, but toddlers least of all, and they are in the most formative years when they learn how people are supposed to treat each other.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, if I tell my kid not to touch something in the store, and they reach out to do just that, they’re going to get a smack on the hand before it reaches its destination. Works. Works so well that after the 3rd time, it never has to happen again. Reasoning certainly has its place, but so does instant action.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wait…are some of you saying that the only reason to spank a child is to hurt them? That’s sick! Just sick. A spanking incorporates the physical with the verbal. It’s a physical reinforcement, that’s all.

SpatzieLover's avatar

but so does instant action

Here’s where we differ greatly @Duchess_III. Instant action has no business being taught to a child. Then they do the same thing. Use hands instead of words.

I expect my child and any child I care for to use their words.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Dutchess_III I would grab that same hand prior to it reaching the destination.

@jonsblond I don’t think that spankers are inferior or non-spankers are superior. I know that spanking is not my punishment of choice. I also know that many times I feel ask though spankers believe that those of us who don’t spank are raising little sociopaths who are headed straight up the river.

DominicX's avatar

I believe that for some people and children it works, and I believe for others it doesn’t. Wow, how interesting and revolutionary that line of thinking is.

I also believe that spanking/smacking is hitting and that the point of corporal punishment is to associate pain with an undesired behavior in hopes of eliminating that behavior—basic psychology. That doesn’t mean I think it should never be used; I think that for some kids, that’s the only option. I also think that it is possible to effectively parent without the use of corporal punishment, as evidenced by my parents and me and my three siblings. We were never spanked/smacked/hit whatever the hell you want to call it, really, that’s unimportant and just an issue of semantics clouding the real issue, as usual, and as is fundamental to almost every argument it seems. Oh, but it depends on how you define “argument”...

But to argue that isn’t about pain and fear is ridiculous. You want to eliminate a behavior. If knowledge of the behavior itself isn’t enough to eliminate it, then why not associate it with negative consequences? And what consequence is more negative than physical pain?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SuperMouse I don’t feel that way at all, @SuperMouse. Not at all. I respect those who don’t spank, but I don’t have any issue with those who do. There are things out there that are far, far more detrimental to a child than an occasional spanking. Parents who actually HIT are far more likely to create a sociopath than either a spanker or a non-spanker.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@DominicX It was never my intention to cause pain except with a couple of notable exceptions. It doesn’t HAVE to hurt.

FutureMemory's avatar

I can’t wait to have kids so I can beat the shit out of them when they inevitably screw up. Leather belt, wooden mixing spoon, or metal wrench? Advise please.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Beating your kids is stupid! It’s like keying your own car

wundayatta's avatar

@FutureMemory Electric cattle prod. Taser would be even better.

jonsblond's avatar

@FutureMemory & @wundayatta yes, that’s what I did to my children. they are such terrible kids because of a few spanks on their bottoms when they were young. I’m surprised they haven’t turned up in prison.yet.~ <sigh>

BeccaBoo's avatar

Where and how on earth did the world cope before spanking was ‘banned’......even in the bible they talk about ‘beating kids with sticks’....all punishment is a form of torture for any child, whether it be a ‘telling off’ a ‘smack’ a ‘time out’ they all end up the same way. A child is ultimately humiliated in some form or another, its just us as adults that feel better because the form we choose suits us better.

I love my children, I bought them into this world and want them to learn through life, but I feel its my job as their mother to install a form of boundary to them that involves a consequence at the end.

That doesn’t mean I am going to run around the house screaming at them with a wooden club in my hand to beat them with, or sit them down and say ‘hey your behaviour is just not acceptable’. Quite frankly my boys would probably laugh at me if I did and then give me a thousand reasons why what they are doing is ok.

Kids today have changed, the level of respect has gone, there is an air of urgency in what they have to have and when, the manner in which they communicate is awful (not just my little angels) they have things that I never had (I’m only 36). That does not mean I want them to walk out into society tomorrow and be arrogant, rude, dismissive and hurtful to other people.

Yes I have smacked my children, when they were naughty, not out of anger, not out of frustration, just because they need to know that the behaviour they have displayed is not acceptable, or the actions they have taken is wrong.

I am proud to say my eldest son, is a well-balanced, happy kid. Not into drugs like his peers, he has a steady girlfriend (who is lovely) he goes to college everyday. He is bright and funny and caring and a boy I am so proud to say I bought up.

To all of you who think i messed up by a smack on his bum, or hand…..ask him, he would be the first to tell you how awful I am…or not?

OpryLeigh's avatar

@BeccaBoo whilst I will never know for sure, I don’t think being smacked a few times as a kid has damaged my IQ. I’m not the most intelligent person I know but I have managed to hold down a decent job in order to pay my own way in life and I am certainly not a lower class citizen even if my strong regional accent may give that impression!!!

YARNLADY's avatar

Smacking people is not the best way to teach them to change their behavior, whether they are helpless children, or grown adults. The entire discussion overlooks the fact that hitting is not an acceptable method of solving your problems at any time or age, and the sooner society in general gets over the idea of using physical violence to change behavior, the better.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I have a lot of respect for the parents on this thread, whether they spank or not, because I know that they have had to put a lot of thought and soul-searching into whatever decisions they made with regard to smacking/spanking/swatting/etc etc etc. For those who are not parents, but have had a hand in raising sibs or steps, I have some respect also, it’s a different situation (except, of course, when you’ve had to it instead of the parent and not in addition to the parent.) As for the rest of you, who have never parented, or assisted in raising kids (and I don’t consider teaching to be “raising kids”. Teaching is teaching. It’s an honorable and highly skilled and difficult profession, but it is not the same thing) reading studies and articles may educate you about the studies and the articles but it is no substitute for the real thing. I have read countless studies and articles about this topic, and I agree absolutely that using spanking instead of reason or alternatives is a bad, bad thing, when the children are old enough to understand. Spanking when there are viable alternatives is a bad thing. Sometimes a swat (as I explained in my first post) is the best choice in a specific circumstance by a specific parent of a specific child. Childless ones, I appreciate your concern, but to assume that every situation is the same, and that all the articles and studies you’ve read apply across the board is ignorant.
[Removed by Fluther]

Jude's avatar

Man, this place has gotten ugly, lately. A lot of bickering. And it’s always the same people.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@digitalimpression “I have a theory (just a theory, mind you) that the same people who would abolish spanking are also the people who would: have every playground filled with that rubber nonsense, give every kid a ribbon (even for 19th place), and coddle their youngsters for every little thing.” – that sounds nothing like me, a parent that is quite strict in many ways (comparatively speaking)..I do NOT agree with hovering or being over-protective and do NOT agree with making sure my kids feel like they’re number 1 all the time every second of their lives…yet I am vehemently against spanking so, at the very least, your theory doesn’t apply to me.

augustlan's avatar

Disclaimer: I have spanked one of my three children a couple of times, when nothing else seemed to work. Spanking didn’t work, either, so I didn’t do it again. As a child, I was spanked a handful of times and I don’t have any deep-seated resentment about it. I do not equate a controlled spanking with child abuse. However…

Anecdotal evidence: Many of us in this thread are parents who don’t spank, and many of us have extremely well-behaved, respectful children.

Empirical evidence: Study after study has shown that A) Spanking doesn’t work as well as other disciplinary measures and B) Can (not always, but can) cause long-lasting harm.

In conclusion… If you can get the same or better outcome without physical punishment, why spank? If other methods work better, and don’t involve possible physical or psychological pain, why not use them?

YARNLADY's avatar

@digitalimpression Try telling 200,000 parents their children didn’t need protected on the playground. Showing appreciation for participation in sports does not equal coddling. In professional football, every player on the winning team gets a Super Bowl Ring even if they don’t play, Some teams have also been known to give rings to former players, despite not having been on the winning roster

It is a mistake to believe being proud of a child has to stop if they don’t win first place

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

It did help with my oldest daughter. She has needed far more spankings than my youngest. My oldest daughter is just far more stubborn and has a history of refusing to care about consequences. My oldest daughter now knows that I’m not bluffing when I threaten a spanking; I mean business and other methods work now, for the most part.

I was also spanked as a child and it didn’t turn me into an abusive person, nor did it make me resent my parents.

For the record, I do NOT refer to spanking as “smacking”. “Smacking”, to me, indicates slapping or punching. I was spanked fairly often for my behavior and as an adult, I feel that I deserved every single one of those spankings. I was slapped only one time, when my father lost his temper, and I do resent that. I see a huge difference between spanking or “swatting” on the butt, and “smacking” or hitting.

digitalimpression's avatar

@SuperMouse I don’t have to convince myself of anything.

@wundayatta Again, if you don’t know the difference, use “timeout” instead. I’m done playing this little word game with ya’ll.

@jonsblond Bwahahahahahaha. Mine are all destined for prison with a terminal case of “pansy” too. (double sigh)

Are you sure he won’t be in the cell next to my kids? (triple sigh)

Spanking isn’t violent. If it becomes violent, it’s being done incorrectly. And if a smack on the bum counts as violence for you.. I have no idea what a rated R movie counts as.

@Jude But isn’t it fun sometimes?


@augustlan I don’t agree with the claim that spanking doesn’t work as well.. as I keep mentioning (ad naseum) it depends on the kid.

Their kids don’t need to be protected on the playground. Let them fall! It will teach them to be more careful next time.
As far as the superbowl thing.. well.. I don’t know any toddlers for which that applies.
And no one said you couldn’t be proud of a kid for getting 19th place.. but if you want to encourage him that 19th place is always good enough.. he/she may just continue to believe it is in life. Your choice.

Regarding that article “Spanking Can Cause Kids Long Term Harm” : Where are the studies? That article doesn’t mean anything without them. Just saying you’ve done a study with 20 years of research is meaningless without something more substantial to show for it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@digitalimpression Yes, thank you for acknowledging my clearly superior parenting skills. You’re welcome. ~

MollyMcGuire's avatar

What works for you and falls within what you consider decent and nonabusvie—that’s what is better. It’s not a one size fits all thing.

bkcunningham's avatar

@FutureMemory, whatever is close at the moment. An extension cord is for last resorts and in extreme circumstance. It should only be used on kids 16 and older and on the bottom portion of the body. Be careful of backlash if you whip it around like a lasso. It may come back and smack you. Practice your aim. Those are a few tips. Use birth control when you have sex. When the time is right, I hope they come in handy.

Pandora's avatar

I would spank my childs hand or a quick wack on the bottom if they did something really foolish but I always drew the line at smacking in the face. My parents where the same way about not hitting a child in the face. (except for one time my brother really dis-respected my mother and my dad wasn’t going to allow him to get away with that) Simply because we all felt that was always meant more as a dis-respectful gesture than discipline.
If anything I think because we never smacked our children in the face they understood that it was a line they should never cross with anyone unless they were willing to lose that persons respect forever.
They also learned that they didn’t ever want to be on the recieving end of such a thing because then they know that, that person has no respect for them as well. I think it taught them to value respect and taught them that respect should be given unless the person is dis-respectful. They learn to value our respect and never crossed the line.
Where as my husband had an aunt that never taught her daughters the value of not smacking and sure enough when she hit her teen years she would smack her mom easily enough when they got into an argument. No, mom didn’t smack her as a child, but she didn’t teach her that their are limits.
People think that corporal punishment is always needed and some think that none of it is needed.
It really depends on the children. Some only need to be told why and they understand. Some need a firm hand occasionally (When absolutely necessary) with good reasoning, and some need time out and an explaination. Children react to their emotions rather than reason things out. Some need a jolt into reality, some need time, and some actually know how to control it long enough to listen and understand. A person should always find a way to find what works and work your way to lessons that are not resolved physically.
But a slap is a bit much and closes the child out to hearing reason.
Opps, ignore the first half or so. I just read the article. I didn’t know it was about actual discipline. LOL. I got egg in my face. I thought it was about smacking a kid on the face. But parents should be allowed to raise their children as they think is right, unless the government plans to raise everyones kids.

whitenoise's avatar


“I don’t need a study (done by someone with a bias, no doubt) to show me that it works effectively on my kids.” How about that for a bias.

This is what amazes me about this topic. People treat it like religion. They feel attacked and stick to their ways, but are willingly and knowingly shutting out relevant research by scientific experts.

If you intent to hurt your child (that is part of the definition for corporal punishment, sorry!) you better have a good reason. Nobody knows the future, so all you do is work with likeliness of your parenting actions to work out positive. I have seen a lot of research and I cannot conclude to anything else than that there seems widespread consensus that with corporal punishment you not only hurt your child right then and there, but also his/her chances for a successful happy life in the future.

And stop using the ‘my grandfather smoked his whole life and he became 105 years old’ reasoning to proof it doesn’t harm anyone. That is just stupid.

digitalimpression's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Whatever helps you sleep at night. =)

“willingly and knowingly shutting out relevant research by scientific experts” Actually, I’ve read some of those studies if you’d read the rest of the thread. I’ve also mentioned that honing in and sticking to one type of discipline is wrong.

“my grandfather smoked his whole life and he became 105 years old’ reasoning to proof it doesn’t harm anyone. That is just stupid”
What sort of evidence will work for you? If my kids were to come over to your house for dinner, they would all sit down, say “please” and “thank you”, “yes sir” or “yes ma’am”, and asked to be excused after cleaning their whole plate. Anyone with young kids knows how hard it is to make that happen.

Through a boatload of trial and error, I’ve made it happen. So ‘poof’, along comes a study that says what I’m doing is harmful and hurtful and will turn my kids brains into mush (apparently).. What should I believe? The cold, hard facts that are right in front of me? Or a study conducted on strangers, by strangers, and confined to a control environment? The choice is easy for me.

So, do as you will with your kids.. whatever works for you. I’m not forcing the digi-spanks-his-kids-when-they-misbehave plan onto anyone. Every parent will raise their kids the way they see fit.

The problem I have is when you (knowing nothing of how my family operates, how happy my kids are, and how polite and awesome they are) claim that I am (in essence) being abusive and hurtful to them. You’re coaching from an armchair in a different state. It doesn’t work in football, and it doesn’t work in this instance either.

I wish you all the luck in the world with your kids, and being that you are remarking on this thread I can give you the benefit of the doubt that you are a caring parent. (or at the very least a caring individual who doesn’t have kids). I’m almost positive your kids will turn out just fine. Congratulations! That’s awesome! Just don’t assume that because it worked on your kids that it is the de facto solution for all parents. You don’t know my kids any more than I know yours.

Am I defensive? You’re damn right I am.

JLeslie's avatar

@digitalimpression No one is saying your kids are screwed up. Do you even understand the smoking analogy? There are people who smoke who never get sick. Does that mean it is wise to smoke? Does the scientific data on smoking and smoke related illness matter if your grandfather smoked for 75 years and never got sick? Are you going to recommend cigarettes to your friends and family?

augustlan's avatar

It’s similar to the argument that ‘we all rode in cars without seatbelts, and we turned out fine!’ Yes, we did. But many, many children did not. Now that we know better, would you argue that it’s perfectly ok for children to ride without seatbelts?

digitalimpression's avatar

I understand it. My god you people are impossible. I fold. Enjoy.

augustlan's avatar

@digitalimpression I’m sincerely interested in how it’s different. I am not saying you’re a bad parent, or are abusing your children. Not even saying spanking doesn’t work for your children. The question is, if other methods work as well or better than spanking, why spank?

zensky's avatar

It’s late (or very early) for most of you – and I am weighing in quite late here. But I did respond earlier and I still stand by what I said about not hitting children. I don’t mean to gang up on @digitalimpression – especially as I don’t know the jelly at all, however, what wunday said is exactly right; all spanking is hitting, but not all hitting is spanking. That is – whatever you call it – your hand is hitting the child.

This is wrong. It might take another (enlightened) generation to completely weed this out of (modern, western) society – but I completely believe, and this is from both the experience of having been a child who was hit, and raising two children under very difficult, at times, single-parent circumstances, that there is no reason to hurt or intimidate a child at all. In fact, I’ll take it one step further; if the child is even fearful of the possibility of being hurt – you’ve already screwed up.

Children should be loved and respected for the innocent and trusting little people they are.

A parent has done something wrong if they have “reached the point” where they must frighten, intimidate, spank or hit a child.

whitenoise's avatar


Please let me reiterate on a statement I made before on an earlier thread on this topic and…

Please allow me to stand firmly with you on not being judgmental about other people.

With you, I want to stand firm that a parent who has given their child an occasional swat or two for whatever reasons should not automatically be lumped into the abusive category.

I have two 8 9 year old boys that have so far never had to receive a punishment in excess of ‘go to the hallway and only come back after you’ve changed your behavior in a way that you will not be annoying others’. That was always the only condition, they would always be welcome to return if they could behave.. even after 20 seconds.)

They are beautiful, very well behaved compassionate children. (And still very lively, confident boys.) I wish I could show them to you, they’re my pride and joy.

(Actually, I think @JLeslie is the only one on fluther that has seen their pictures, but I’m just too freaked about my and their privacy to easily share.)

BeccaBoo's avatar

Just to back @digitalimpression here…..there are studies done ( with out solid foundation in my opinion) on children that have been spanked and have suffered because of it. Well where are the studies on the children that were spanked and ARE OK, have come out OK. If all the kids in the world stood up and said that they had been spanked as a child, do you think they would sit back down a gibbering wreck? What about all the millions of countries that only abolished spanking in the last 10 yrs or so….hey that means that all the previous generations of kids are emotionally unstable and bound to grow up being abusive parents.

That argument is so flawed its untrue. We hear from the more sensitive children that it hurt them when their parents dare to raise a hand to them, we don’t hear from the more emotionally stable adult out there that had a spanking because for them it wasn’t a big deal, just how they knew not to cross a line.

I wonder how many scientists, politicians, members of the clergy, doctors, psychologists, teachers, chefs, celebrities etc were spanked as children. How many of them would stand there and say it messed up their lives?

I WANT TO SEE HARD EVIDENCE….that me smacking my child is going to cripple him emotionally!!

JLeslie's avatar

@BeccaBoo There have been studies showing many well adjusted people who were spanked as children. CEO’s, and doctors, and other very successful people from any objective standard. Then three are the studies which people have linked above, so slong term studies have already been provided to you, demonstrating negative consequences that are observed when spanking is used. Studies and information come out on both sides of course. What seems pretty clear to me is if you don’t hit your kid, there is no down side, and if you do, there is more risk they will resent you, be afraid of you, keep information from you, have lower self esteem, and more. They may not do any of those things, they may be perfectly well adjusted. When I say no down side, I understand children need to be disciplined, have expectations set for them, and have their behavior corrected, so parents need to have alternative ways to accomplish this. I am not a parent (which many people on this Q seem to think means my opinion means nothing, but I am going by the parents who I do know, not me trying to say I know better than parents) and I remember being a kid, and I completely believe children can push parents to their very last nerve. But, I know many parents like @zensky and @whitenoise and the majority of my closest friends and my own parents, and their children are good children, good people, and well behaved, without spanking.

I think @augustlan‘s answer were best at not being offensive or defensive probably. She admitted to having tried spanking as a last resort, she understands no one here is wanting to be judgemental or accusing a particular parent of being abusive. This is just a discussion, a trading of information. @augustlan basically asked if there is a possibility of a downside with spanking, why choose it? Especially as a common practice for disciplining.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Are you shitting me? This crap is still ongoing?
@JilltheTooth I held my tongue yesterday so I didn’t say something I might regret. Yeah, I know nothing about kids.That’s why I laughed Sunday when an eleven month old smacked me in the face as hard as he could. This kid is monster strong. We were playing with the ceiling fan and he tried to spin it and missed. He’s so curious about everything and he’s still learning about the world and about coordination. I love him with all my heart.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe : No you didn’t hold your tongue yesterday.
And I’m not quite sure why you are addressing this to me unless it’s because I stated that non-parents really don’t understand all the circumstances. And your story about your nephew? Exactly how does that apply to what I said anywhere in the thread? (I honestly don’t know.)

whitenoise's avatar


You ask for evidence that cannot be given. These kinds of research will give you results based on big groups and samples It is about chances, when translated to individuals.

There is evidence of pitential impact on future development, there are no guarantees. I will look it up for you, though.

It is like wanting to cross a deserted country road with your eyes closed. I cannot guarantee that you will meet that awkward car that passes by. Chances are you will make it across perfectly fine. But why would you, if you can open your eyes and have a safer alternative?

BeccaBoo's avatar

@whitenoise Nice try!! I will be waiting.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@JilltheTooth What about the people, like me, who are happy to share their own experiences of being smacked or not as a child and how it has affected them. I’m not saying we are experts on anyone else (or their children) but ourselves but surely, personal experience is also useful to threads like this?

SpatzieLover's avatar

Certainly all adult human were once children.
Every human may have an opinion on this subject.

JilltheTooth's avatar

So far I get the impression that my last post was not read as written. Maybe it’s my fault and I didn’t make myself clear, and maybe (as in one case I know for sure) the reader simply didn’t read it carefully. My point was that no matter the person’s experience as a person, the making of the decision itself is not a black and white issue, as I thought most of the parents made clear on this thread. Whether or not you were beaten as a child, or never touched at all, although telling, and will undoubtedly affect how you yourself would parent, it will not cover every situation in which you might find yourself with every child. It’s just different. Every child is different. I appreciate that when and if you become a parent your childhood experiences will definitely play into such decisions.
I said “Childless ones, I appreciate your concern, but to assume that every situation is the same, and that all the articles and studies you’ve read apply across the board is ignorant.” In no way did I say that you shouldn’t be on this thread, in no way did I discount your personal experience.
How absurd is it that I have to justify how I write my posts? Really. Done, now. If anyone else wants to take issue with the fact that I think that non-parents simply don’t have as much parenting experience as those who have raised kids, have at it. I’ve seen it on other threads in the past, I’m sure I’ll see it again in the future.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@JilltheTooth Thank you for clarifying but I don’t think either myself or @SpatzieLover were taking issue with your comment, just asking a question so I feel your tone was a little defensive. Actually, I agree 100% with you that this issue isn’t black and white and, whilst I am not a parent myself, I don’t condone anyone for the decision to smack or not to smack.

wundayatta's avatar

@digitalimpression “What sort of evidence will work for you? If my kids were to come over to your house for dinner, they would all sit down, say “please” and “thank you”, “yes sir” or “yes ma’am”, and asked to be excused after cleaning their whole plate. Anyone with young kids knows how hard it is to make that happen.

Hmm. Perhaps if you hadn’t spanked them, you wouldn’t have had so much trouble. We were (and are) always getting compliments on how polite and sensitive our kids are. We only had to talk to them.

To All:
There’s a whole set of theory about adult learning out there. There’s a lot of knowledge about what works, as well. The main thing they tell you is that adult learners don’t want to be treated as kids. They want to be respected.

That is the whole of the theory I applied to my children. I believe that children, too, want to be respected and treated like… hey… adults! Like people. So that’s what I did. I tried to avoid ever talking to down to them. I tried to be respectful and not only treat them as if they have a say, but let them actually have a say. In this way, they learned to respect their parents and others. We were modeling the behavior we wanted.

It’s as simple as that. It’s the damn golden rule. Treat people as you want to be treated—especially your kids. You’ll never have to touch them except with love. And it is very important to touch them with love, too! That helps them understand their own reality. We are physical creatures, not conceptual creatures. We need hugs and kisses. But spanks do not help.

Damn! These discussions happen over and over and we are really going about it the wrong way. We should not be talking about what not to do, or what doesn’t work. We should really be talking about what to do and what does work, and asking each other for help when we run into problems.

We also should not be judging each other for spanking or not. We should just learn from each other about what has worked, instead of trying to justify our own positions. Children learn from many adults, not just parents. We can all help each other. We don’t need to tear into each other. That is one of those adult learning techniques that doesn’t work.

Why do we take this so personally? I know I am guilty of this as much as anyone else. I’m losing sight of what is really important, which is our children, not me being right.

Jude's avatar

We had a beloved jelly leave over (and this is part of the reason why). I don’t think that I’ve hated this site more than I do now. Same fucking people bitching, people acting as if their shit don’t stink and people going off-topic almost all of the time. The traffic is low, and sadly it’s the same people going at each other, day in-day out. It’s not fun anymore.

whitenoise's avatar


As promised:

There is a lot out there, but here is a link to a New Zealand Government website.

It summarises a meta-study on corporal punishment and has an extensive list of literature references at the end.

From its Summary and Conclusions:

Our review of research has established that there is little evidence to recommend retaining physical punishment in the parental repertoire of discipline. Only one desirable outcome for child behaviour has been associated with physical punishment – in some, but not all, studies – and this outcome is immediate compliance. [...]

Research on the long-term effects of physical punishment are consistent, and overwhelmingly negative over a wide variety of child development outcomes. [...] The overall goals of family discipline for most families are for children to internalise the values and attitudes that will lead to appropriate behaviour, rather than relying on external monitoring and control. Research suggests that the use of physical punishment does the reverse, and inhibits the development of moral internalisation. While the effects of physical punishment may be a little less severe when it is normative in a culture, the effects are still negative. [...]

The use of physical punishment is deeply embedded in our culture and history, but it is a clear and preventable health risk for children. [...] Corporal punishment does not guarantee a harmful effect, but the more that children experience corporal punishment and the more frequent and severe it is, the more they are at risk for problems like aggression and depression, regardless of their cultural background. [...]

There is no universal recipe for effective discipline, and while research findings may seem clear, their application to real life is a different matter. Many parents, however, want to avoid the health risks inherent in punitive approaches towards their children, and feel increasingly uncomfortable with the use of physical punishment. Parents can and do change their ideas about discipline, with or without external support. [...]

whitenoise's avatar

I’m sorry to hear that we “had a beloved jelly leave over (and this is part of the reason why).”
I truly hope that I did not contribute to that departure. This topic is touching my heart and I feel seriously engaged with it. I honestly do not want to hurt anybody, especially not those that are on fluther debating this topic. They seem caring loving parents or people at least, including all those that disagree with me. Personally, though, I have the feeling most of the people on this thread, from both sides of the discussion, have been just honestly engaged and have not been merely bitching at each other.

auhsojsa's avatar

According to my studies in Child Development, children smacked up will grow up with the same ideals and the cycle continues. Sometimes these kids punish other kids as they get older and become bullies, and overall beat people when they get older if they believe they are correct and decide they want to prove a point to someone.

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