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Early spanking makes kids surly, aggressive, and dumb

Categories: Bad Parenting, Guilt Inducers


I’ll bet you a cup of delicious Pacific Northwest coffee (tall no-fat vanilla latte, thanks) that at least half of you have said, at one time or another, “I’ll never hit my child!” And I’ll bet you the maraschino cherry on my hot fudge sundae (no nuts, thanks) that a sizable chunk of you, whether or not you vowed not to hit, have spanked your kids anyway.

Yeah, you. I’m talking to you. The Dreaded Spank. It happens. Toddler on the loose, darting for that busy street for the 3000th time? Permanent marker decorating the walls and carpet? Poop anywhere where poop just shouldn’t be? Swats happen. It happens. One quick reaction before rational thought sets in. Besides, some of us were raised with spanking. It seems … familiar. And don’t diapers provide padding?

But listen to this: a new study suggests that early spanking — and we’re talking the prime of toddlerhood here, kids who are between one and two — has some detrimental effects. Kids who were spanked at the age of one were more aggressive at the age of two and performed worse on cognitive tests at the age of three. Whoa.

We can argue that there are levels of spanking. Does a light swat over layers of diaper and clothes equal an angry hard spank? Doesn’t seem like it, no. But at the same time, from what I read of the study, a spank is a spank is a spank. Raising a hand to a small child is still a raised hand coming toward one small child.

I remember being spanked as a kid. It felt humiliating. (Hey! Maybe I escaped having to be a genius because I got spanked! Whew! Thanks, Mom & Dad!)

I keep going back to that spanking study. I have to admit, I’m a little bothered that they chose to sample only low-income families. Huh? But that decision was based on previous research that suggested these are the families that incorporate spanking more frequently. In the study, the average one-year-old was getting spanked 2.6 times a week. Yikes. Interestingly, and I’m not sure how to interpret this, verbal punishment — yelling, scolding or making derogatory comments — wasn’t associated with any negative effects as long as the child’s mother (the mother? what about fathers?) was otherwise attentive, loving and supportive.

It’s very easy to fall hard on one side of the fence here. Not many people are comfortable making a strong public case in support of hitting their children despite what they might do at home. Spanking just isn’t as popular now as it was in “Mad Men” days. But it still happens. Hey, no judgment here, really. Your toddler runs toward the busy street. You don’t stop to think. You just want to get a message across. I get it.

But the littlest kids, those one-year-olds, they don’t have much discernment. They are input-gathering devices, and it doesn’t much matter to them how they get it. Poop on the walls, what fun! Hiding in the spinning clothes racks at Target, yay! It’s all the same when you’re one. But that’s the time to use a different mode of getting the message across. Apparently hitting only teaches that hitting is okay, not that running into traffic will kill you.

What do you think? Would knowing that early spanking could make their child more aggressive and maybe not as smart help keep parents who spank from doing so? Would it change your mind?

And here’s a bonus question — if you were spanked as a child and came from a spanking culture and have chosen not to spank your kids (and kept your word), was that a struggle or a no-brainer for you?

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28 comments so far...

  • I never swore that I wouldn’t spank. And I was spanked as a child although I don’t believe I was ever spanked that young. I don’t view spanking as the detrimental, criminal horror that some do - but I also can’t fathom anyone hitting or spanking a child between the ages of 0 - 4. And previous to having my own child, I don’t think I would ever have said that.

    Developmentally, it just wouldn’t register with them. They write on the walls for a reason. They do things that make us want to scream for a reason. It’s not to piss us off - it’s all part of the learning process. In fact, although I do occasionally get frustrated, I spend more time trying to understand my kid, now 17 months, than I do being frustrated with her. And so far, she has not drawn on the walls (although she draws on paper, her magnadoodle and chalk boards….oh, and the sidewalk);doesn’t leave the sidwalk for the street; just basically does lots of stuff but nothing that makes me snap before I think.

    Or maybe I just expect it from a toddler so that helps me not snap? I don’t know.

    I have read that study though and I don’t think that all factors were considered equally. I don’t believe for a minute that a mother can be loving and attentive while also being derogatory - and I do believe, having received it myself as a child (along with spanking) that the insults were the more damaging of the two. Spanking was a nuisance. The emotional punishment was what stuck with me over time.

    Finally, I think that spanking or other punishment in low income families won’t change because they know that the things their toddlers are doing is normal or that their kids may become aggressive or less likely to succeed. I do believe that spanking in low income families is a result of frustration on the parent(s) behalf - stress over money; stress over having and raising unwanted children.

    How many of us who planned their families really didn’t know that spanking as a snap reaction is pointless or that kids do things like hide in the racks at Target and paint with poop, on the walls and all? Making the decision to WANT to put up with that, to be able to afford it, that probably is the biggest difference of all.

    Phe  |  September 16th, 2009 at 7:55 am

  • I believe that all spanking studies should exclude children who have ever been abused. (No, spanking is not abuse, not in the USA anyway.) The obvious flaw in the research is that all the abused children are going to end up on the “spanked” side of the study, skewing the results.

    I have spanked my kids as a last resort. Between age 1-2 it was very rare, but it was a tool in my toolbox. I knew to what extent my kids would understand and learn from a spank, and what they wouldn’t, at whatever age they were. All kids are different.

    It is so funny to hear that I have made my kids surly, aggressive, and dumb by spanking. I am constantly told that my kids are remarkably well-behaved. My 2.5-year-old is reading, can sing the National Anthem, and can give you driving directions from preschool to home, including our address. Her sister is also advanced and is about the most peaceful and mellow almost-3-year-old you can imagine. And both are happy and loving, full of joy and humor. So, please.

    I do not have money troubles, my kids were and are wanted, and I do not spank as a result of not thinking fast enough. My kids know exactly what they need to do to get a spanking, or to avoid one. They certainly do not think that since I spank, they can hit people. (I drive too, and cook, and go in the street, etc., and my kids have enough sense to know some behaviors are only for adults.) In fact, they know that I don’t like spanking them and that I look forward to a time when their behavior will no longer merit even an occasional spanking. But in the mean time, it is my belief that for my kids, spanking is helping them to grow up well.

    SKL  |  September 16th, 2009 at 9:05 am

  • I should have added that spanking studies should also exclude any child whose parent has ever abused a child.

    I love the way they say “spanking increases the likelihood of abuse.” That’s like saying that not providing milk increases the likelihood of malnutrition. There are various reasons for not serving milk, most of which are unreleated to poverty or neglect, and most of which would lead to better, not worse, nutrition for the individual child. Point being, if they are going to spend money on a study, at least it ought to have a relevant message for intelligent, conscientious parents.

    SKL  |  September 16th, 2009 at 9:16 am

  • I read this study and had actually sent it to be published in the articles section. Now, that being said I 100% agree with this study based on my own observations with both my family and the people I know. A friend I know had a child who, as most children do, became unruly and agressive. When the child would hit her, she would in turn hit him back - but NOT in a hard or abusive manner - simply in a light manner of “this is what you are doing so please stop”. Guess what? Said child became increasingly aggressive, hitting much more often and harder until the preschool had to step in. The mother was in tears and couldn’t figure out the probem. The school explained to her that she was teaching the child to hit because although she was not harming him, he saw her doing it back which registers in his head that it is okay behavior when he is upset. Small children see their parents spank or hit when they are upset and therefore translate this to acceptable behavior when they are upset about something. Hmmm…reminds of some guys in high school who would pick fights whenever they were in a bad mood.

    Another playground incident with a child who took a toy from someone: the mother ran up and slapped the child on the butt pretty hard. As the child cried from this, the child immediately turned around and hit the child standing closest to her. Which resulted in another spanking which resulted in the child hitting the mother which resulted in being removed from the park. What did the child really learn?

    Now my own story. I have not nor will ever spank or hit my son in any way, shape or form but still got caught in the physical trap. However, he went through his aggressive/tantrum phase. I utilized the naughty spot which worked well BUT during incidents where I was in a hurry and he would physically fight me (and boy, my son is stronger than expected) I would simply overpower him into the car seat or to get his diaper changed, etc. Never physically hurting him, but defeating him nonetheless. Presto! I had an increasingly agressive child who hit me a lot and would try to physically overpower me whenever he could. It got to the point where I was crying nearly everyday and couldn’t figure out what went wrong. The school calle dme in for a conference to see what was going on because he was so disobedient and aggressive that it concerned me. One of my friends brought up to me that my overpowering him, although not causing physical hard, was making him more aggressive as I was teaching him the exact behavior that I was trying to make him stop. So, I had to stop and do it the long and patient way which was everytime he kicked me or fought me I would have to put him in the naughty spot for 1 minute. Yes, it was exhausting at first but this only took about a month and a half to work!! He does not fight me anymore, his behavior towards me and just in general has completely changed. He is no longer aggressive and I rarely ever have to put him in the naughty spot anymore. Not only that, his listening and reasoning skills have vastly improved and even the school has commented on this positive change.

    i do not think that children learn from any type of physical discipline, whether it actually inflicts physical pain on them or not. As I read in one book, the point of discipline is to actually get the child to think and realize what behavior is not acceptable so that they can make the right choice. Spanking does not accomplish this and does not force the children to use their minds to resolve things, as do time outs and other methods. Spanking and physical discipline of any kind are a quick and lazy way for parents to feel as if they have addressed the issue. BTW - I also grew up with friends who were hit and/or spanked on a regular basis and most (actually, the vast majority of them) have a police record and even when cleaned up have a hard time functioning. As told to me by one of them: he had no idea how to judge consequences prior to his arrests because if he wasn’t going to get hit for what he did, he did not view there being real consequences for his actions.

    Just some more food for thought on the subject.

    Oceans Mom  |  September 16th, 2009 at 11:28 am

  • In response to the comments by Ocean’s mom:

    1) If a spank is not going to be a real consequence (i.e., pain/stinging that the child would be motivated to avoid), it is better not to spank. Because yes, that makes hitting a game.

    2) A real spank (at the right time and place for the right reasons) will deter some kids (I am not going to guess at a %). ALL CHILDREN ARE DIFFERENT. So please do not say things like “no child learns from spankings.”

    3) My children know what I think about them being violent and would not dare hit me (or physically fight me), hence I do not have to wonder whether hitting them back is a good idea. I do not operate at the same level as my child. Odd, I have never had a physical struggle over diapers, dressing, getting in the car seat, etc. And I have two very, very different children.

    In my observation, it’s usually “nonviolent” parents who fret about their kids being in an unbreakable hitting habit. Where do these kids get the idea to go around hitting, kicking, biting, etc? Obviously not from being spanked; hence it is not logical to argue that kids hit because they have been spanked.

    When my daughter hit her sister once, I reacted like that was horrific and gave her a spank that she could feel. It happened again - about 6 months later - same result. It has not been repeated a 3rd time. Shocking? The other sister has not been caught hitting at all.

    4) It is surprising that most of the people you know who were corporally punished are criminals, because I see a very different picture in my world. Maybe the people you are talking about had parents who didn’t know how to properly use corporal punishment. Or maybe they didn’t have a comprehensive range of discipline tools, and just resorted to spanking all the time. That’s not the norm. Parents who know how to spank effectively also know how to use alternatives to spanking.

    5) That brings me to this point: if we are afraid to talk about using corporal punishment, people who do use it (and I believe that’s at least half of American parents) won’t have the benefit of others’ experience / wisdom. For example: how many chances should I give the “naughty chair” (etc.) before I try a spank? How should I talk to my child about corporal punishment? How can I tell if the child learned anything from the spank? Is it ever a good idea to hit in the face versus the butt? Is it OK to allow older siblings or babysitters to spank?

    Both spanking and “nonviolent philosophy” can have extreme examples and extreme results. Just because there is a wrong way to spank doesn’t mean all spanking is wrong. Clearly (at least to me) there are many wonderful people who were spanked as children. There must be a way to do it without destroying our children.

    SKL  |  September 16th, 2009 at 1:10 pm

  • I disagree with any spanking only because I have never seen anything good result from it. If time outs are used repeatedly, they do work. It is exhausting and a longer process but it really works. Many of the kids I knew who were spanked and/or hit I actually knew from Kindergarden through high school. Most of them were perfect angels and very respectful when they were young up until around 16 or sometimes even later. Yes all kids are different and need to be reached in a different manner but I do not believe that there is any reason for any type of corporal punishment. Why take the chance on something so important? That being said i don’t believe that the effects of spanking an older child would be the same as spanking a 1 year old. My opinion is completely different than yours based on my own experiences and observations and I feel that any hitting or spanking is unnecessary. We could all argue about it all day but in the end, we will still have the same view that we had before.

    Oceans Mom  |  September 16th, 2009 at 2:24 pm

  • EXCELLENT COMMENTS OCEANS MOM!! You have shown that you understand parenting and have an open mind to truly re-evaluate your actions as they affect your child. Not many parents are able to do that. My hat’s off to you.

    I’ve never spanked my son and he’s extremely well behaved. Most of all, at six, he’s respectful to all those around him. Quite honestly, I’ve never once felt the NEED to spank my son. As Oceans Mom said it comes down to understanding what to expect from a child (they’re going to write on walls with sharpies and hide in the store if you’re not watching them closely) and knowing that you’re responses to their actions (good and bad) are teaching them more than anything they will ever learn in school.

    Glenn  |  September 16th, 2009 at 2:29 pm

  • Ocean’s mom, I am not saying this to pick on you, but something you shared proves a point I often make. During the months that you spent trying to break your child of aggression in a nonviolent manner, how many times were other children on the receiving end of his aggression? Is that justified? What did the victims of his aggression learn?

    The idea of addressing violence with nonviolence sounded wonderful to me too, until my child hit her younger sibling. I could not allow the younger child to bear the brunt of her sister’s frustration. I did not want her to be a victim and to learn that I’d let her be hit by her sister. And I didn’t want her to feel a need to retaliate/protect herself with violence.

    I have observed over the years many families with two kids close in age. A trend I observed was: the older child goes through a brief stage where he hits his younger sibling out of frustration, then grows out of it; but the younger sibling develops a habit of hitting that lasts for years. So when my younger daughter was first hit by her sister, I was determined to protect her from repeated aggression. Short of keeping the girls apart, I saw a spank as the most effective way of achieving this result quickly. (Quick doesn’t always equate to lazy.) 1.5 years later, though my younger daughter has always had a more assertive personality than her sister, she has never been aggressive toward her or any other child.

    I am in no way suggesting that all parents should spank. But I do believe parents need to consider not just the effect of their discipline on their own child, but also on all the other kids they interact with. Frankly, I don’t find this happening with many parents. And maybe this is one reason why even with a trend toward “nonviolent” parents, we still have too many violent kids.

    SKL  |  September 16th, 2009 at 3:06 pm

  • Ocean’s Mom: I received real spankings as a child - often with a strap on a bare bum. I don’t have a criminal record; I don’t hit or spank my own child; I don’t pick fist fights…and I was never a hitter or a biter toward my peers.

    My husband’s discipline as a child was borderline abuse. He has no criminal record; he has never (and I can safely say, will never) hit or spanked our child. He doesn’t go about starting fights. He’s actually quite laid back and mellow.

    That doesn’t mean that both of us would cheerfully re-live our childhoods, but SKL has a valid point from my own personal experience - when the spank stings enough, you don’t repeat the behavior.

    As for us, I see no value added in spanking a baby. I see no value in spanking a child of any age as a knee jerk reaction in anger. I know that ultimately, rather than make me a violent person, those spankings as a child made me avoid physical conflict altogether, whenever possible.

    If, however, I was cornered (and I have been), I had/have no qualms about fighting my way out. Does that make me criminal/violent/aggressive?

    Every child is different. I still believe that the worst and most detrimental form of punishment is derogatory punishment designed to make a young child feel worthless. Physical punishment as a knee jerk reaction is usually pointless, but over on, you’ll find that studies have shown that spankings doled out when the parent is calm and explain why (to a degree), do not get the same reactions that spankings in the heat of the moment do - and tend to do less damage in the end. So, SKL seems to have taken the perfect path in her choice of discipline for her children.

    Ultimately, you make a LOT of generalizations that are purely anecdotal and are, in fact, highly judgemental and derogatory of other parenting styles. That you choose one way is great. That another chooses another way is fine too. No one here condones abuse, but to imply that someone like me, who was spanked, must be a criminal because of the people YOU know…that’s no argument at all. That’s just offensive.

    Phe  |  September 17th, 2009 at 9:45 am

  • I can actually count the number of times I’ve spanked my child and she is 7. Which means it is an extremely rare occurence; and it actually does work, IMO because it is so rare. It is used for a serious enough offense that we need to associate something with it in your mind.
    I use time outs most often but there was a phase where they didn’t work, I would have had to sit in the corner with her to enforce the time out becuase she was NOT going to stay in the prescribed place.
    So as I’m sitting there holding the door to her room closed while she’s screaming and trying with all her might to open it (in the process splintering the wood around the door handle) it did occur to me that this is why some parents spank more often.
    If she were doing that at this age, she’d actually rip the handle out, and you can’t allow full scale desctruction while trying to “discipline”.
    What if you have 3 other children to watch? Do you “punish” them by making them stay with you while you “time out” the sibling? Or do you use a quicker punishment method?
    FWIW, I wonder about time-out being effective for all children. My child had trouble respecting authority in general. Could this be because there were rarely any “real” punishments to her actions? Devil’s advocate thought.

    Mich  |  September 17th, 2009 at 11:53 am

  • Why is it that we feel our choice is time out or spanking? Be creative! Take toys away, take privileges away, take dinner away, no playing outside, etc. Make the consequence related to the offense. Also make the consequence proportional to the offense. Also, sometimes positive reinforcement can be even more effective than punishment.

    LMJN  |  September 17th, 2009 at 12:30 pm

  • Mich, I don’t mean to be mean but with all that you wrote your most important (telling) statement was “My child had trouble respecting authority in general. ” This has nothing to do with your spanking theology but take a step back and ask yourself who do you think is responsible for teaching your child to respect authority?

    I don’t give my son “time outs”. When he was two and he misbehaved, I talked to him immediately, ALWAYS. In the store, in the restaurant (well I took him outside to talk to him there), at the playground, the zoo, the Coliseum in Rome, didn’t matter, I TALKED TO HIM. I stopped what I was doing and talked to him. And I never talk to him angrily (is that a real word?) when I’m disciplining. I talk to him firmly, no shouting and never hitting and I give him the look. In other words, I never ignored the discipline problems, I took the time to confront them and it has worked out well. And he has never had a problem with respecting authority, EVER.

    Glenn  |  September 17th, 2009 at 12:37 pm


    Glenn  |  September 17th, 2009 at 12:39 pm

  • Actually, yes, there were other victims of his hitting however, my son was not the only one hitting as most, not all, but most boys go through a hitting phase. He has been on the receiving end of hitting from other kids, not always as response to his hitting and those kids were equally punished. What I dont really understand is how do you know that it was the spanking that prevented your daughter from doing it again? It seems to me that the same result cold have been acheived with the other methods that you used minus the spanking. Since your child did not hit before and hasn’t hit since, we don’t know that the spanking was what made her decide not to do it again. One big reason that I really feel strongly about no spanking or hitting in any way, shape or form is due to the fact that I have a very difficult child. By difficult, I do not mean miserable or angry. In fact, I get comments on how happy he is all the time. However, he was born incredibly independant, headstrong, argumentative and rebellious. All of which can be fantastic qualities when directed properly. My point is that both myself and his teachers have managed to get this child under control and behaving phenomenally and following direction without the use of any corporal punishment so I know it can be done. No one here knows my son personally but most people are astounded when they see how headstrong and fiesty he can be for his age. All kids are but by 5 teachers so far and our friends, he is quite a bit more than the rest. My parents joke that he is a replica of me, and I hate to admit that he is. So, to end my long story, if it can get through to him without spanking with him, I really think that it can be done for any child.

    Oceans Mom  |  September 17th, 2009 at 1:42 pm

  • Ocean’s mom, your recent comment is a fair one - it “can” be done with probably most kids, eventually, if you’re willing to accept some children’s longer learning curve. However, that does not mean it is the only right answer. If you want to raise your kid Vegan, it “can” be done, but does that mean everyone should do it? I would also add that raising a child well with an effective style “can” also be done. So what it cimes down to is, you see two paths you can go down. Both require a lot of education, patience, and wisdom on the part of the parent. My strong position is that both paths are valid. I, like most parents, would have preferred to go down the first path, but then through experience I saw that for my family, the second is actually better. I have seen volumes of proof that it “can be done” right yet I am not arguing that everyone should do it.

    One of the things I think of before I spank my kids is: my spanking method is going to be part of who they are as parents. They may or may not spank, but chances are, their first impulse will be to do what they see me do. So I am very careful to make sure my girls understand why a spanking was the punishment I chose. Normally I try to use discipline that most closely reflects the natural results of their actions, e.g., taking away a toy or privilege related to the misbehavior. I do a lot of talking with my kids about not only what they need to do, but why. The focus is on “their choices.” I also show respect for their input and feelings, even when we strongly disagree. I hope my kids will choose a discipline method that both protects and teaches the whole child, not just about what must not be done, but also about voluntary behaviors that are positive for the entire community.

    SKL  |  September 17th, 2009 at 2:02 pm

  • My 2 cents, for what it’s worth.

    There’s a time and a place for everything. When a child is small, let’s say a toddler and above, and they keep doing the opposite of what you tell them, i.e. the word NO no longer holds any meaning or they insist on doing the YES, then it IS time for a flat hand on the bottom. Gets the attention and then you reemphasise (sp) the NO part. Time outs and talking/explaining is BS, IMHO. They HAVE to learn that there are consequences to ones bad behavior.

    BTW, I’m NOT low income (tho hubby’s loss of job last year might qualifiy us as that). Never have been. Too many times I’ve seen a parent trying to ‘reason’ with a small child and it simply does NOT work. As I said, there’s a time and a place, and as a last resort. But I am a total supporter of it when it is absolutely necessary.

    Jane  |  September 17th, 2009 at 3:36 pm

  • Karen - I missed your final question but, as one who came from a spanking culture, I don’t find it difficult to not spank at all. In fact, if anything, I think I would find it too hard to actually raise my hand to our daughter.

    Phe  |  September 18th, 2009 at 5:36 am

  • Phe, my husband also grew up in a spanking culture and he finds it easy not to spank and has never had the desire to do so.

    This is kind of off topic but from what I have heard from both friends and so called experts, but have no clue if its true at all or not yet, is that if you cannot reach your child to get them under control, by any method at all, by the time that they are four years old, its a lost cause. Not sure if this is true or not. One of my friends swear by it because of her differences in raising her two kids. Hmmm.

    Oceans Mom  |  September 18th, 2009 at 11:08 am

  • Glenn - Believe me, we tried everything you’ve mentioned, that was my original philosophy, I’m all about the calm firm voice, the look; it works well now at age 7 but it DID NOT WORK at age 2.

    My mother finally said “why are you trying to reason with a whirlwind” and that was in truth the issue; she couldn’t be talked to about it. Didn’t mean I stopped talking and when a spanking was given it was explained. But she honestly did not understand the words.

    Now disclaimer, we found out that her language development was FAR below normal and fixing that has fixed many of the issues about discussion but not all. You can talk all you want, you can make a child stand there, you actually CANNOT make them listen.

    My mother hated spanking, she didn’t grow up being spanked often and I was spanked a handful of times but my sister far more often because it broke the cycle. A young child who can hype themselves up have to have the cycle physically broken for them to be ABLE to calm themselves. Removing from the situation certainly worked, she calmed down in the moment, but would do it over and over because it meant SHE was in control. The parenting classes in our area actually noted that behavior HINDERED efforts to teach who was in authority.

    Things are better now that she has a better verbal grasp (she was SEVERELY verbally delayed), understandings of hierarchies (teachers/moms vs students/kids) and some things/activities she’s attached to that can be taken away as a punishment, but she had none of that at 2 so consequently, nothing other than a physical removal, a time out in place, or a spanking worked.

    Mich  |  September 18th, 2009 at 12:15 pm

  • Jane - thanks for your explanation.

    My mother described to me once “why are you trying to reason with a tornado?” For a child who ramps/cycles in that destructive way is like one. You can’t reason with them, and they can’t stop unless they meet a force stronger than them; and that isn’t usually mommy with the calm, firm voice and “look”/

    Mich  |  September 18th, 2009 at 12:17 pm

  • This conversation brings to mind a scene in my home last week. My girls, both between 2.5 and 3, were playing in the bathtub and DD1 disagreed with something DD2 did. DD1 said, “don’t do that, I will punish you.” DD2 said, “you can’t punish me. Only mommies and growm-uts punish. Not kids.” Then they continued their verbal negotiations until they found win-win.

    Believe me, they can tell the difference between parental discipline and hitting a peer.

    SKL  |  September 18th, 2009 at 1:04 pm

  • Mich, I have NEVER reasoned with my son when disciplining. Reasoning is worse than spanking.

    When a parent disciplines, that parent is TEACHING their child, not discussing. When kids get older discussion becomes a large part of teaching but in pre-school and below, you don’t teach numbers by discussing how a child feels about the number seven. It’s that same with discipline.

    Glenn  |  September 18th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

  • Child buttock-battering vs. DISCIPLINE:

    Child buttock-battering for the purpose of gaining compliance is nothing more than an inherited bad habit.

    Its a good idea for people to take a look at what they are doing, and learn how to DISCIPLINE instead of hit.

    I think the reason why television shows like “Supernanny” and “Dr. Phil” are so popular is because that is precisely what many (not all) people are trying to do.

    There are several reasons why child bottom-slapping isn’t a good idea. Here are some good, quick reads recommended by professionals:

    Plain Talk About Spanking
    by Jordan Riak,

    The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children
    by Tom Johnson,

    by Lesli Taylor M.D. and Adah Maurer Ph.D.

    Most compelling of all reasons to abandon this worst of all bad habits is the fact that buttock-battering can be unintentional sexual abuse for some children. There is an abundance of educational resources, testimony, documentation, etc available on the subject that can easily be found by doing a little research with the recommended reads-visit

    Just a handful of those helping to raise awareness of why child bottom-slapping isn’t a good idea:

    American Academy of Pediatrics,
    American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
    Center For Effective Discipline,
    PsycHealth Ltd Behavioral Health Professionals,
    Churches’ Network For Non-Violence,
    Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
    Parenting In Jesus’ Footsteps,
    Global Initiative To End All Corporal Punishment of Children,
    United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    In 26 countries, child corporal punishment is prohibited by law (with more in process). In fact, the US was the only UN member that did not ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    PDeverit  |  October 19th, 2009 at 1:50 pm

  • My comment is Spanking is best for kids who don’t behave right

    KENNY  |  November 16th, 2009 at 1:22 pm

  • Phe wrote: ” I received real spankings as a child - often with a strap on a bare bum. I don’t have a criminal record; I don’t hit or spank my own child; I don’t pick fist fights…and I was never a hitter or a biter toward my peers.”

    I totally agree with this! When my brothers and I misbehaved we would have to bend over the arm of the couch and get paddled on our bare bottoms. As grown-ups we are some of the least violent people you could ever meet. We knew when we got spanked it was for corrective punishment, not just some sort of senseless violence.

    Rena  |  November 19th, 2009 at 6:21 am

  • My opinion is that spanking itself doesn’t make kids less intelligent. I think that you’ve got to be stupid to spank them in the first place, so the parents unintelligent genes are passed down to their kids. The only way to really know is if an orphaned child that would not have been spanked by their real parents was adopted by parents that do spank. My hypothisis would be that they would be more aggressive than they would have been with their real parents, but their intelligence won’t be lowered.

    The only problem with this is that my mother was spanked, she was not adopted, and she is smart in my opinion, and not aggressive. Back then
    though, most kids were spanked just because that’s what everyone did. Now most people relise that spanking is NOT good, yet a few people still do it, and I think those people are less intellegent.

    I’m 12, and I can easily say that if my parents ever spanked me, I would never talk to them, or show any kind of affection or trust in them again. Luckily, those who have parents that spank them are stupid like their parents, and therefore won’t even understand the meaning of “abuse” which is exsactly what their parents are doing to them.

    It is also my opinion that most people that comit adult and battery have been spanked as children. There parents made them beleive that hurting other people is ok to do.

    Oh, and anyone who says spanking is not abuse “I done right” well there is no right way to spank. It is wrong nomatter what.

    (Not puting my name)  |  February 24th, 2010 at 8:00 am

  • Sorry, I accidently wrote “Adult and battery” ^.^

    (Not puting my name)  |  February 24th, 2010 at 8:05 am

  • I grew up in a family that did not believe in physical punishment as an option, largely because it was a completely unintellectual and thoughtless way of raising a child. It is now quite obvious that it is a method of child rearing utilized by incompetent and intellectually disabled parents.

    No upstanding adult would subject a child to physical harm, and if a person does so, then they forfeit their own right to bodily integrity. You must remember that you are charged with protecting and providing for your child, and you are not charged with treating your child as a stress toy for you to relieve your anger. The excuse that your “spanking” (properly referred to as physical assault, as your child IS a human being) is out of love not anger, sounds perverted and sick. If you strike your child, you no longer deserve protection under the law from assault, rape, etc. If an action is deemed harmful when inflicted on adults (we don’t spank even to punish rapists and murderers) and you subject your children to it, you are nothing short of a pervert.

    In the most developed and progressive countries, those of northern Europe, corporal punishment of any kind is even illegal for parents. Those people enjoy the lowest crime rates, and have absolutely no law and order problems in relation to the kinds of problems experienced in countries which have a culture of violence.

    Phil  |  January 17th, 2011 at 2:13 pm