The Spanking Debate Rages On

Few topics divide parents more than this disciplinary approach.  We want your opinion!  Weigh in and see what percentage of parents share your perspective on this issue.

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  1. by Katie Vaughan

    On October 12, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Since my little one is almost 9 months old, he’s never been spanked. We do plan to use spanking as a form of discipline, though, if his behavior requires it. My parents always had rules around spanking, and I plan to use some of those same rules. They were: 1) Never spank out of anger, always cool off first. 2) Never spank more than three times. 3) Always explain WHY the child is being spanked.

    Obviously, this method is meant for slightly older children; they must be able to comprehend what it is they’ve done wrong. My siblings and I weren’t spanked often, but when we did receive spankings we knew they were warranted.

  2. by Tisheena

    On October 12, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    my son is 15 months old, and i’ve spanked him several times, but never enough to hurt and only when he does something where he could hurt himself, like standing on a toy in his playyard or reaching for things plugged into outlets.

  3. by Reina

    On October 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    There is a big difference in spanking for discipline & child abuse. Children shouldn’t be spanked just because your angry & I think it depends on the child & the situation. Not all children need to be spanked. Some respond to other forms of discipline. I was spanked at times when I needed it. I didn’t turn out with low self esteem, I’m not a violent person, I wasn’t scared of my parents. I think when people say these things are a result of spanking that there were other things that contributed to it, not just spanking. I got tons of love not just spanking & I think that makes the biggest difference.

  4. by Jordan

    On October 12, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I have spanked my child but rarely do it. I found that I was doing it out of anger and frustration of nothing else working, rather than out of actual need of it. When you get to that point, it is hardly effective. I learned my childs behavior early on and try to meet her needs as to why she is doing what she is doing (needing attention, tired, hungry, sick, etc) and dont often need “discipline”. I can usually remove her from the situation or fix what is REALLY bothering her before she gets to the point of needing a spanking.

    Now, that all being said, I was raised getting spankings. It did not damagage me in anyway. I respected (and yes sometimes feared…in the way you SHOULD) my parents. I just think that like every other aspect of parenting, discipline should be different for every child. My daughter is emotional and if I help her through those emotions, she is fine. But some children only respond to a timeout, or talking to, or YES, even a spanking.

  5. by IcePrincess

    On October 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    we all grew up with a sore butt and we all turned out fine. as long as you dont cross the line i see nothing wrong with a good ole fashioned butt whoopin! thats whats wrong with these kids today no one put the fear of God into them and said oh no a time out is good enough. mmhmm thats why they dont respect anyone.

  6. by Chris

    On October 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    My child is five and has had her butt smacked three times in her life. Each time made me feel terrible. It was a last resort tactic. Normally, distractions (what she CAN do VS always saying NO and, as needed, physically moved to another, more acceptable activity) or asking if she needs a rest to listen/behave. Not only that, but I praise ALL good behavior, make sure others hear the praise and give her options that make her feel in control of her choices.
    Also, Dr. Harvey Karp has great advice in his books which helped us avoid physical punishment.

    So- as a rule I’m against spanking. It teaches very little (even if done ‘properly’ and really? A grown up hitting a child?

  7. by Rachael

    On October 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    I have a three and a half year old daughter. I would NEVER spank her or any children I would have in the future. I don’t see the point in spanking a child. All you’re teaching is for then to hit other people when they believe someone is doing something wrong or doing something they dislike. The same reason you hit them. And I don’t understand how people try to claim that it’s not hitting or slapping, but really it is, and they also claim it’s not child abuse, yet it’s meant to hurt a child, condition them to be afraid of doing something wrong. How is that the right way to handle your child. I’ve never ever spanked my daughter yet she’s probably more well behaved than anyone else’s child who spanks their children. Maybe you all should learn how to nicely communicate with your children without placing any harm on them, physically, mentally, or verbally.

  8. by Lisa

    On October 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    We have 3 wild boys ages 1, 4, and 6. Yes, we do spank when it’s needed. It’s either on the bum or top of the hand. We also use time out. Each of our children responds differently to dicipline. Our 1 year old can simply be told “no” and he is completely heartbroken. Our 4 year old, on the other hand, usually gets a little swat on the rear to get his attention. While our 6 year old has reached the age that I can talk to him, put him in time out, or ground him from video games.
    Spanking vs Not Spanking…. My experience is that 1. Each child is different. 2. Age and maturity are key. So I guess I have to say Both.

  9. by Nichole

    On October 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    I believe spanking is a very “lazy” way to parent. There are so many other disciplinary approaches to parenting that do not involve hitting your child, but they do require patience and persistence. Spanking is hitting no matter how “gently” it’s done. It teaches that it’s okay for bigger people to hit little people. And how do you plan to discipline an older child who is beyond the spanking years? Those early years give you time to establish good parenting practices that your children can respect when they are older. We always receive compliments on our children’s behavior, and they have never been spanked. We take away privileges and use time outs. Then we take away toys, clothes, games, whatever it is that works at that point. It’s time that we acknolwedge that spanking has no place in modern society, and that if people are willing to learn they will be better parents for it.

  10. by Mandy

    On October 12, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    In my family we were pinched. My grandma will tell stories of her mom pinching her once in a while. I used a little pinch of the tush here and there with my kids when they were smaller, like if they were starting to throw a tantrum in the grocery store or something. It’s not so obvious like a spank, and I hate the idea of hitting a child in public. It’s demeaning. I can get their attention with a pinch and no one in the room knows what’s going on. I also don’t believe in yelling or losing my temper with a child. It never solves any problems, and just shows them exactly the sort of behavior I don’t want them to have.

  11. by Jennifer

    On October 12, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I do not believe in spanking. I have tried it a couple of times and all it did was reinforce my belief. So I know at least for my 4 year old it does nothing positive. . It doesn’t do anything except cause tears and mistrust in my opinion and It never stopped any repeats of the same behavior. We stick to time outs. Asking my 4 year old right now “how does getting a spank make you feel and his answer is “sad …like you don’t love me”. So enough said! There are plenty of other more effective ways to discipline….it takes more work and more patience but it has a much better pay off in the end. In the real world no one is going to spank you for doing something wrong… But loss of privileges, or rewards, do… So I think that would be a better system to instill.

  12. by Hanks

    On October 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Parents are suppose to be teaching lessons to their children and spanking is a horrible lesson to teach. Sure most of us were spanked, but also most women I know thinks its okay for their partners to get physical with them (i wonder why). If you hit a grown adult for doing something you don’t like you get arrested, if you hit a child it’s okay? That doesn’t make much since to me. Plus it is our responsibility teach our children to how to act, you can’t punish them because your parenting sucks.

  13. by Evie

    On October 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Spanking a child does NOT teach them to be violent. Let me ask you. We have MUCH less spanking/physical punishment (not abusive) this day in age then we EVER have before. BUT, let me ask you. Do we not have even MORE violent crimes committed by young people. Even children. School shootings being just one of them? To me, we are raising violent, disrespectful children, because we are too afraid to *hurt their feelings*, or their butt, with a swat to remind them to obey. No, I don’t think spanking is the end all answer. But YES, I do believe it is a useful, and necessary tool in parenting.

  14. by Stacey

    On October 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    I notice those that believe in spanking don’t tell other parents that don’t spank that they are “wrong” or “bad parents”, yet those that DON’T spank, have nothing but bad things to say about parents that do. Perhaps if they understood discipline, they would have nicer manners and not be so judgmental or egocentric. I was spanked when necessary, and my children are/will be spanked if I feel the situation calls for it. Stating that spanking leads to females accepting abuse is ridiculous.. ABUSE leads to people accepting abuse, not spanking! “Spare the rod, spoil the child”. The first commenter nailed it on the head – use it when you feel it is necessary, don’t spank out of anger, explain to your child what they have done wrong and why they are being spanked, and with that they will learn that certain things have consequences. I’ve never seen an adult expect to be spanked at work for doing something wrong; when we grow up we understand why our parents did it (not including actual abuse situations), and the lesson we learned from it. I have never doubted my parents love for me for a second because I was spanked!

  15. by Sarah

    On October 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Spanking is never appropriate. Many parents naturally do it because it was done to them by their parents and they use that to justify their own behaviors. Often parents spank because they are mad at their children, they are frustrated and fed up, they lack self-control and parenting techniques, and they want to give in to their primal urge to lash out at the thing causing their frustration. So they hit their child, relieve their frustration, and then try to justify their actions. However, if you think about the lesson you are giving your children when you spank them, it’s a horrible one. That lesson is, “it’s okay to hit someone if you are bigger, stronger, and have more power than them.” But of course, it’s not. When husbands hit wives, it’s called abuse. When adults fight each other, it’s called assault. Bosses don’t hit their employees, and teachers don’t hit their students. Nowhere else in life does this lesson apply. Is this really the lesson you want to be giving your children? Often children misbehave because they don’t know how to behave and they lack impulse control. Is this their fault? Of course not. They are children and they are learning. So when you hit them, you’re not teaching them how they should act. You’re not helping them to learn what they did wrong, how they could behave differently, or giving them strategies to solve their problems. You’re just giving into your anger.

  16. by Scott

    On October 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    I think this debate will go on and on. I think one of the pieces that’s getting missed is where is your demeanor while disciplining? If spanking is feared because it’s seen as abuse, is it that the examples are when parents are in a rage? How is that any different from yelling, labeling, and hurting them emotionally?
    If you’re in control when you discipline and you’re addressing the behavior and not the child, AND THEN STICKING TO WHATEVER DISCIPLINE, that’s the key.

  17. by michelle

    On October 12, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    my job as a parent is to grow my child to be a happy, healthy, well-adjusted adult. if my child is behaving in such a way that will eventually lead to a bad end, it is my job to correct that behavior. and if other options do not work, then i believe in spanking. i got spanked as a child, and it was effective and i love my that i am older and i look back on why i got spanked i realize that my parents were right. they had told me not to do what it was i had done, and i paid no mind and eventually i did something i was told not to do, and i got whupped. All kids are different, each child is going to react differently to which ever punishment you wind up using. My one child is stubborn and basically refuses to listen. I have tried all the non-spanking approaches, but to no avail. I warn him that he’s about to get it and why he’s gonna get it and let him decide if he really wants it, he can either stop the bad behavior and listen or he can get his butt handed to him. i also let him know that it breaks my heart to have to go that far to get him to do right. i told him, i take no happiness in “burning” (the stinging sensation that occurs after your butt gets slapped) his behind, but that i have asked repeatedly for him to stop the bad behavior, i’ve already exhausted the other punishment options and this is the last choice to be used to correct the behavior. my son is 18 now, he sees the point as to why sometimes a butt-whuppin is in order. he still gets lippy and i really can’t give him a spanking, but i do remind him of when he was younger and did get a spanking and he always says, “oh,no, i’m gonna shut up now, i’m glad i don’t get my butt kicked anymore, because i’m smart enough to remember the stinging butt!” lol…but that says something, he realized that doing wrong has a consequence, and it is usually painful. Whether it be a physical pain or a mental/emotional pain, no one wants to feel any kind of pain, so hence the bad behavior stops. if you can get the same results with another method, well, awesome! i’m for the non-spanking approach first, but if it doesn’t work, you gotta do what you gotta do.

  18. by Lisa

    On October 12, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    There is nothing wrong with spanking.

  19. by Jane

    On October 12, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    I’ve worked in early childhood education for years and am disheartened by these sad justifications for poor parental behavior. To those arguing for spanking, please do a little homework. Read some articles, see what child development experts say, and find out what the research says. If you take some time to do that, the answer of whether or not to spank is very clear.

    “Studies show that children from spanking families are more likely to use aggression to handle conflicts when they become adults.”

  20. by Rachel H

    On October 12, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    My son just turned 1 a few weeks ago. He is super sweet and very smart, so he likes to test us often. He hasn’t gotten a real “spank” on the butt… Yet. But he has gotten his hand smacked when he continues to touch things after being told multiple times not to. And it works. After being told No 3 times, he gets a smack and moved away, after if he goes near it again, all we have to do is look at him and he gets a grumpy face and leaves it alone. He knows we love him, he’s not afraid, and he’s learning what No means. I was spanked, hit with a belt even… I will not use a belt, or anything else other than my hand, but I do plan to use spanking if the occasion calls for it. In my opinion, kids don’t get hit enough these days. I see kids talk to their parents in a way I NEVER would have, if not because of respect, because I would have got the crap beat out of me. I don’t want my kids being one of those that runs around a store screaming, making a mess, doing whatever they want… My kids WILL learn to listen, no matter what.

  21. by j

    On October 12, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    This debate will never end because no child is the same. My 17 month old son simply needs to be told “no” in a stern voice (not yelling, just an I mean business tone) and his little heart breaks and he stops. But my 18 month old nephew only stops with a swat on the diaper to get his attention. It doesn’t hurt him just lets him know that his mom means what she’s saying. It depends on the kid, so there is no right or wrong answer in my opinion.

  22. by Haley

    On October 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    I have a rambunctious 2 year old and newborn. Midway through my pregnancy, I did start spanking my toddler occasionally. Never hard, but I still always hated myself afterward and always felt like the spanking meant that I had completely lost control of the situation. But, I was so physically limited, I had few other options. My toddler didn’t understand anything else, and he often was in danger of hurting me, the baby or himself. He used to kick me and flail out of my arms when I tried to pick him up or he would run away from me in stores or parking lots. I wasn’t able to catch him. Now that he’s speaking a little and now that I can move better, we are able to effectively use time outs and I don’t have to spank.

  23. by Annette

    On October 12, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    i have four kids 10,7,3,1 1/2. i think there are times when you need to spank, but i usually just give them a little smack on the hand, they get the point. I’ve found however that a good time out on the naughty chair works a lot better and having them say sorry when their time is up. even my 1 1/2 year old understands when he’s been naughty and needs a time out. it teaches them to think about what they’ve done and they don’t learn to hit when someone does something they don’t like.

  24. by Rae

    On October 12, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Whether or not to spank your child is a personal choice but this is personally something I will not do. It teaches the child that hitting is acceptable and if parents are spanking out of anger/frustration kids pick up on that. It is also a conundrum that a parent would spank their child when they are doing something that may cause them to get hurt. I sorta understand the rationale but there are definitely other ways to handle situations. Toddlers are not getting into things they shouldn’t to be bad, they are simply curious. Redirecting them to something that will peak their curiosity in a safe manner is just as effective as spanking. Removing privledges, time-outs, naughty-chairs, added chores, re-direction- are all effective alternatives to spanking. Getting kids to think about the consequence of their behavior is what is needed to make changes. Spanking may cause fear but may not always get the child to think about how else they may have handled something.
    I was spanked as a child to the point of welting and no child deserves to experience that type of fear or physicality. Parents have choices in how they discpline their children, my hope is that this is an educated decision…….

  25. by Sarah

    On October 12, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I have two children. The first one, I was totally against spanking. I didn’t need it, time outs work just as well. Id think, “See how well behaved my child is!” I admit that I was smug and judgmental. Then I had my second child and all my ideas went straight out the door. Needless to say, I am no longer smug! LOL! When my daughter is lying on the grocery store floor screaming at the top of her lungs and the only thing that can get her attention so that she will listen is a swat on the butt, I am all for it. I will never again assume that my parenting style is the “correct way”. Every child is different, and with both my kids completely different things worked. When I ask my youngest if she understands why she was swatted she tells me that its because she was bad and wouldn’t listen. To me, that’s lesson learned. She doesnt care about time out, she sings to keep herself company, she doesnt care if I take away all her toys, she plays with the living room pillows. Nothing fazes her except a swat on the butt. Now, my oldest? Just take away her clothes! I made her wear khaki’s and white polos to school for a month and made her pay for them out of her allowance. To each his own. When as parents are we going to stop judging each other??

  26. by AMANDA

    On October 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm



  27. by AMANDA

    On October 12, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    AND JANE’S AT 2:35!

  28. by Regina

    On October 12, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    I think spanking should only be used when a child endangers them self or someone else and it depends how there endangering them self. Standing on toys is not one of them. My girl is 2 and she stands on everything than gets a time out for 2 min! Spanking only happens if she does something like turning on the stove top trying to grab a knife off the counter after i have put her in time out numerous times or if she hits someone in the face and thinks its funny. I do believe that every kids must learn for there selves that there is gravity and they do learn. But kids also are monkeys by nature and love to climb jump spin and eventually fall. I also never spank when mad i take a deep breath just like i tell my daughter to. I also am going to be making signs to place threw out my house that say Breath, focus etc so when I have a hard time working with a 2 year olds mind I can remember she is 2 not 21

  29. by Geraldine

    On October 12, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    I recomend the book “how to talk so children will listen, and how to listen so children will talk” from E. Favor. It helped much more than any spanking

  30. by Jennifer

    On October 12, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    This should not even be a debate. Spanking comes from a negative and impulsive place. This should not be a form of punishment used, we would be arrested or charges would be placed against us if we were to hit an adult who displeased us. We should use words and not our hands to enforce rules…

  31. by Chloe

    On October 12, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    I really hate this debate. A big part of this comes from the Christians who believe that God tells them to spank. Hard. and often. There is a book out there (that shouldn’t be out there) that is called “To Train Up a Child” that advocates “spanking”. But what it really describes is methodical child abuse and torture. An adopted child from Ethiopia, Hanna Williams was recently “disciplined” to death. And it has been linked to at least two other child deaths. All this, because people think that spanking is the best and most loving way to parent your children. I was spanked as a child, but not often. I try very hard to break that cycle, and to not spank. It is not my preferred method of discipline, and when I do it, it is a quick slap with my hand on my kid’s butt. Just once, to get his attention and make him listen. I agree that it is not very effective for long term and it has bad psychological effects-especially when it is the preferred methos of discipline and it happens regularly. I think that Parents should get involve with raising awareness about when spanking kills…literally. Google “to train up a child” and it will be impossible for you (if you are sane) not to be enraged. This abuse needs to stop.

  32. by ms. jay

    On October 12, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    You explain the logic to me: you feel like a child should not be spanked when he/she. Needs it ( not abused) but it is perfectly okay for the law to beat a man to death. When they feeel like the need it. I don’t know about anyone else, and. Frankly I don’t care about anyone else opion, but I would rather spank my child in love than have someone else kill them in hate. I agree it should be a LAST RESORT, and I also agree you. Should not spank when you are upset , angree or mad (what ever you call it). I was beat as a child , as well as my other sibblings. I can say that we have never been to jail for agressive behavior. We may not have understood then why we were beat but when certain situations presented themselves before us as adults and we made the right choice, we could reflect back and understand the lesson. As I said previously I don’t believe in abusing a child, but I don’t believe in saying the same thing to a child repeatedly (5 or more). You know your child, you should know yor child, you should know what it takes for your child. If you don’t need to do it then PLEASE don’t. Some children get it quicker than others. By the time my child was 6. All it took was a look and she would rethink and redirect herself. Now she is a great worker in her ministry. She is not an agressive person and she is not a a violent person. When in dout, ask the word for help, not another man. I will close with this: know your child and you will know what it takes to discipline your child!! Abuse is NOT AN. OPTION.

  33. by jill

    On October 13, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    for me, it’s a matter of choice,since u know well your child n what to do deal them, & f u think spanking is the best for them to be corrected, then be it but limit your ways in doing it,do not abuse. have pity for your child. as my experience with my child (she’s 7 years old now), patience is what you need to develop for you and your child understand and go along each other. for parents out there, if you plan to have a baby, as early in conceptual period, establish talking conversation with them continue until he goes out and grow, surely your baby will respect, listen, obey and grow a well mannered.

  34. by kristi

    On October 14, 2011 at 8:08 am

    I have never spanked/hit my child nor will I ever do so. What message am I sending to my kid not to hit his sister if I turn around and spank him? I cringe every time I see someone’s post on fb about how she is spanking her kid with a wooden spoon and they have a name for it. Children will be children and yes, they need rules and consistency but I don’t think spanking them brings any clarity. To them they are just feeling pain. I was spanked as a kid and refuse to do it on my own kids. We use time out and priviledges being taken away and find those to be very successful.

  35. by Nick

    On May 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    I do not have kids, and I was never spanked. I have friends who were, though. They are all different. Two are very open-minded and communitive. On the other hand, one of them is a far better student than the other. What did spanking do? I am different from them. People have different personalities, and to assume that all kids will react the same way to a spanking is ridiculous. Maybe children do not react to a spanking at all? (by that I mean personality changes, not behavior changes. This statement is being used to challenge those who say that spanking will automatically make the child AGGRESIVE!)

  36. by nick

    On May 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    I forgot to mention the third one. He was an average student, like me, and also, like me he is a little more reserved. He was spanked. I was not. What did the spanking do?