4 Out Of 5 Parents Spank Their Kids… Really? That Many?

15 months.

According to a recent poll here on Parents.com, 81% of parents have spanked their child at least once and 22% do so on a weekly basis.

That amazes me! So many, huh?

In our overly politically correct society, sometimes I feel like we can be expected to believe that the only ones who endorse spanking are the wacko, ultra-conservative religious cult members who are ultimately featured on a creepy episode of NBC’s Dateline.

It doesn’t help that the book To Train Up A Child is currently being linked to fatal child abuse cases; no matter how much the book actually had to do with the abuse.

Therefore, we evidently must leave it to Super Nanny to show us the right way to discipline our children: putting them in “time out.”

I was spanked as a child; like most of us, I assume. (At least 81% of us, right?)

Yet, arguably, I’m a pretty normal guy. I’m not psychologically traumatized nor am I an abusive husband or father. 

So I say, spanking is harmless when not excessive. But here’s my question: Is spanking necessary?

Honestly, I don’t know yet: My kid is only 15 months old.

The funny thing is, up until very recently, I was a supporter of spanking. But after several talks about it between my wife and me, I updated my opinion on the issue.

Here’s what I would like to believe:

That if A) I am properly setting practical, not legalistic, behavioral boundaries for my son, B) I am consistently following through with discipline (from “time out”  to having privileges taken away) every time he breaks the rules, C) I am clearly and positively communicating with him why he is being punished and D) I am assuring him that no matter what he ever does he can never cause me to love him any less, that it will never come down to the last resort of me having to spank him.

It seems to me that if I do A through D and none of that works, then hitting my child with my hand or a wooden paddle or a belt wouldn’t resolve the issue any better.

But hey, I’ve said before that I have this habit of every 5 years realizing what an idiot I was 5 years ago, so maybe this is just another classic example of me opening my big mouth and being a naive idiot again.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll truly be part of that 19%, the minority that doesn’t spank my child. I definitely plan to be.

No matter how polarized or politically correct our society is on this issue, I think here’s the heart of it: We believe in the importance of disciplining our kids.

Back in April 2010 when my wife was pregnant with our son and I was still “pro-spanking,” someone made a $5 bet with me that I “won’t have it in me” to spank my child when he gets older- that those big watery eyes and that quivering lip would cause me to cave.

I wonder if this means I lose the bet now? It’s not that I don’t have it in me to spank him, because I do. But I think my alternative plan will be just as effective.

After all, we can’t assume that the 19% of the people out there who were “unspanked” as kids are the ones keeping our prisons full, or at least earning 15 minutes of shame on the show Cops.

Does it really make a difference in the end whether a child is spanked, as long as the child is A) loved and B) disciplined?

Top image: Strict father punishes his son, via Shutterstock.

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  1. by Joe

    On April 29, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    a) I friggin’ hate that book. It’s a poor representation of Christianity that makes all of us look like legalistic whack-jobs.

    b) You’ll still win the $5. It’s not that you ‘don’t have it in you’, it’ll just be a non-issue.

    c) If you’ve never read any of Leslie Freeman’s blogs, you should. She’s unbelievably awesome. She and her husband are YWAM missionaries in Costa Rica, and she runs a parenting blog that’s basically about how to show God’s love most effectively to our children. Check her out: http://realchilddevelopment.com/parenting/its-time-to-change-the-way-we-parent-our-children

  2. by ProSpanking

    On August 13, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I think the bigger issue is: what’s worse for kids, time out or spanking? A spanking doesn’t hurt more than a slight sting, but a time out to a young child is scary isolation – sure, we know it’s only for a few minutes, but little kids have no concept of time, and the idea of having their family taken away from them is terrifying.

    Personally, I was never spanked, not even once., And even when I was still just a kid, I had the vauge sense that it was wrong; that I should have been spanked. I didn’t care one iota about my parents’ (often very good) reasoning until I was an adult, and time outs usually just turned into a battle of wills were I would just refuse to leave the time out spot for hours afterward.

    I don’t think that all parents who use time outs are necessarillly abusing their children. Heck, I don’t think even mine did (although I do know kids who were). Personally, I’m not going to take the risk and just spank when they’re young. Crazy extremists aside, it’s a method that worked for centuries and I don’t think we should have thrown it out just because some abusers want to claim it as their excuse.