To Spank or Not To Spank? That Is The Question!

8:57 AM

I would bet pretty good money that the majority of us, were probably spanked at one point or another by our parents. I would also bet, that the majority of us (yes there are exceptions) were not scarred for life by this event. I myself, was spanked and with a belt on several occasions. I in no way hate my parents or think that they were abusive, but at the same time, I have chosen not to parent this way.

Sometimes I wonder though, are those of us who choose not to spank doing so for fear that if we do, we risk losing our children (even though corporal punishment by parents is legal in every state)? I will be honest here. On very rare occasions, I have spanked my children on the butt, three times, with an open hand, with their pants still on. This is reserved for extremely rare cases, like when my now 10 year old decided to try out calling me the "B" word one day about 4 years ago. You know what though? He has never called me it again. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have swatted my children on the butt and never with a belt.

Does that mean that I think those who choose to spank are wrong? Nope. I believe that everyone has the right to parent as they see fit. Quite frankly, different children respond to different forms of consequences, just as they all love in different ways and have totally different personalities. Unfortunately, my view and open mindedness is not a common theme in the world today and I think many parent's choices are being stifled by those who would say "tsk tsk" or take drastic measures to "protect" a child that is not in any danger (again, there are exceptions).

What I do know, is that when my parents told me to do something, I did not talk back, I did not whine and I did not yell at them (all things my own children have done to me). Is this because my parents chose to spank? I don't know, but sometimes I wonder if the growing unruliness and disrespect that the children and then adults of the world are showing, is directly proportionate to the decline of spanking in the home. It is important to add here, that I choose not to spank in my home because it is just not something I can bring myself to do, not because I am absolutely and totally against it.

What are your thoughts? Do you spank? If you choose not to, do you condemn those who do, or are you at least open to varying methods of parenting? I am not condoning abuse here, I wanted to make that clear! The legal standard says that spanking is okay as long as it is done with an open hand, on the butt, not excessively and without another object. It also needs to not leave a bruise or marking after several hours. (Yes, I looked it up.)

I feel like I need to put a disclaimer here first. I have no agenda with this post, it is not to point fingers or put down anyone who believes one way or another. It is simply because I hope to foster a healthy and open minded discussion on the topic. If you can't adhere to these guidelines, please don't post a comment. I won't have people being attacked on my blog. I do however welcome conversation and the stating of your own opinions as long as they are done in a respectful manner.

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  1. A hot topic, for sure! I do believe there is definitely a difference in spanking and beating. I've personally spanked a few times myself, but as you pointed out...the negative behavior stopped and I rarely have to do it.

  2. When I was a child, my father took spanking to the extreme. In all honesty, it was definitely abuse. Because of that, I have always been terrified to spank my children for fear of going overboard as my father did. There was one time that my daughter came up and hit me, and I instinctively told her "No hitting!" as I swatted her butt. Then I thought to myself, what did I just teach her? I tell her no hitting, yet I hit her. It made no sense to me. So, we had a talk. I apologized for hitting her and explained why we don't hit other people. And guess what, she never hit me after that! I would never condemn another parent for any choice that they make (as long as they are caring for their children and not harming them), but spanking is not for me.

  3. I spank my children, but certainly not for every infraction. Deliberate disobedience and to reinforce the danger of a situation (such as running out into traffic) are the two main reasons why I spank. I have personal rules for spanking, too. They include: 1. Do NOT spank out of anger, EVER. 2. I use a wooden spoon. Why? It gives a little sting without hurting the child (leaving a mark) and with less force AND the child associates the discipline with the spoon and not with your hand. 3. Shower with LOVE afterwards. I tell my child why they're getting spanked. I administer the discipline. Then set them on my lap, hug them and talk to them about what happened. They always hug me back and say, "I love you, Mommy" and then go on their merry way, playing, laughing, and smiling, and obeying.

    We're not drone-makers here. I don't mind my children asking why, but I do expect obedience. When I say, "sit down on the chair, don't stand on it, please," I expect them to put their fannies on the chair. They may ask why after they obey or I'll explain it to them while saying the command. "You could fall off and get hurt." Of course, if they don't sit, I don't spank them for something that minute. I would just physically sit them down. However, if they stand on the chair again in complete defiance, then I would spank.

    Have I always followed these rules? No. I'm ashamed to say I've spanked out of anger. So, rule #4, if I break these rules, I ask my children for forgiveness.

    As for spanking in general, yes, there have been cases of wrong-doing, abuse with it. But, I don't think we should throw the baby out with the bathwater, either. Nor do I condemn a parent for choosing NOT to spank. Nor do I think every child requires spanking. My oldest rarely gets spanked. Usually, just a talking to does the job. My middle child is very strong-willed and defiant, so they get spanked more often.

    On a slightly side topic, I know parents who refuse to spank their children, but spend most of their day yelling and screaming at their children to obey. How is that any better than spanking? I'd rather calmly spank, give them love, and usually never see the wrong behavior again.

  4. Great points ladies!

    Katie- Thank-you for such a thoughtful comment! I agree that spanking has a place and should not be done out of anger if you are going to do it. You have good rules in place and it sounds like you are a parent that is capable of using spanking as an effective means of discipline.

    I agree, that there are exceptions, but that doesn't mean that every instance of spanking is one of those exceptions and should be considered abuse. Not everyone is capable of being calm and controlled enough to even consider spanking as a form of discipline.

    Even though it is not my chosen form of discipline, I really have to sit back and wonder when it became such an unspoken evil in this country. I wrote an article months ago about Parents being afraid to parent their own children and this is just part of it.

  5. I think I can count on one hand how many times I have spanked my children. I agree with what everybody has said so far. It has to be a serious offense like blatant disobedience and never out of anger.

    I do think the reason that a lot of kids act the way they do today is because parents are afraid to discipline their children.

  6. We don't spank. On very, very few occasions have we spanked Adam. One being the time he ran out into the street with a car coming. I think it those moments, I wanted to put the fear into him, for his safety, so spanking was the only way I could do that.

    I think just because one thing works for one family, it doesn't mean that it will work for another. I am not against spanking, we just don't do it. But, that doesn't mean that it is "wrong" and I certainly wouldn't judge parents if that is the discipline route they choose.

    Luckily, timeouts only have worked really well for us. :)

  7. I'm a dad/soldier of 5 kids and as you said each child has different personalities. My youngest two are twin boy/girl and none of my parenting skill set has applied to these two. I didn't really spank before the twins,not because I didn't believe in it but because the older three children's personality didn't warrant it. These two little ones are a little more wild and don't listen so they have to be raised a little more sternly. I raise my children with equal love and discipline because I believe you can't have one without the other with children. If and when I spank my kids its with my hand on their butt and when its all said and done I actually do take the time to love on them to remind them I love them. There are never ever any grudges held even if they decide to feed the blue ray player lunch when I'm not looking. I simply believe that if society is going to hold me responsible for my children's actions especially if they commit hanis acts then I should have the flexibility to raise my children as I see fit with the exception of abuse of course.

  8. I could not have said it better myself soldier dad (hope it is okay to call you that). Society is quick to judge when our children do something wrong, yet it seems day by day, even raising your voice is seen as a negative parenting move. Great points and I am glad you were able to find something that worked for your family and each of your different children.

  9. We don't spank and it's tough for my husband. It wasn't how he grew up so he has a hard time not passing that form of discipline onto our kids, but he does really well and has learned to walk out of the room to cool down a bit. Which I think leads to a more calm conversation and then it turns it into a more memorable lesson for everyone.

  10. That was a hard one for Matt when he joined our family when my oldest three were little Tesa. He had a step dad who was pretty mean and spanked and he wanted to use the same method. It took constant work, but I switched his style and he now has learned other ways discipline too.

  11. I reserve the right to spank. However, we don't do it. One time at bedtime my daughter was being crazy and wouldn't calm down to get her pj's on. I was getting frustrated and it was as though she couldn't even hear me she was so tired and wound up. So I swatted her on the butt just to get her attention and she didn't even was then that I realized spanking wasn't likely the best form of punishment for her. Now, that might change in future as she gets older - or for our other child. It just depends on the crime I suppose. I do feel that kids have no fear of their parents and as a result they act up more. I sure had fear of being spanked (although I hardly ever got a spanking) and it did keep me in line.

  12. I did spank my children. I did not beat them! Spanking at times does help. You will get a more obedient child. With all my children, I knew when a spanking would work, and when another punishment would work. When I was young and acted up in stores, my mother would spank me in the store (probably just a slap on the leg). Then as I was balling my head off, she would tell me that everyone in the store now knew that I had been a bad girl and to stop crying. This worked on me. I feel bad that parents can't slap their kids in stores anymore for fear that some social worker will step up and take their kids away for a slap.

  13. I have only spanked Lauren ONCE. That being said, it's not that I might not revisit it in the future. I was totally frustrated and she LAUGHED at me after swatting her on the butt. I had to get up and close the door and walk away.

  14. We have spanked my daughter, never in anger and never repeatedly (usually only one swat). She's 10 and doesn't harbor a bit of resentment and thanks us when she sees other kids being bad or disrespectful.

  15. Spanking is a great tool if you want to simply change the behaviour. I'd rather work on changing the heart, which isn't instant at all, and cannot be changed by a single action. Spanking is an outlet for a parent's frustration, not a tool that shapes a child's character in any positive way.

  16. I think people see "spank" and automatically think "beating, violence" when such is not the case, well, not in the case of it being done properly and not aimed at punishment, rather discipline.



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