Spanking, as a Form of Discipline?

I had responded to a Beyond PR query this week in which two families were being sought out to participate in a 20th Century Fox / Fox News segment on spanking: one family was to be in favor of spanking and the other against.  I had hoped to represent the side of “no spanking.”  I didn’t hear back, however, regarding the segment.

Nonetheless, I was intrigued to discover current sources of information regarding using spanking as a form of discipline.  I found this February ’08 article on

I have to say, I’m not exactly surprised about the conclusion cited in this article, that children who are spanked have a greater likelihood of developing risky sexual behaviors and other dysfunctional attitudes toward intimacy.  One quote in the article I found particularly interesting is as follows:

“…[children who have been spanked…] may internalize that to mean that in loving relationships sometimes there’s pain or physical aggression,” she says. Another possible lesson is that “whoever is stronger and has more power can overpower the other person and use physical aggression to control the other person’s behavior.”

To read more about how children who have experienced corporal punishment have an increased probability of coercing sex, risky sex or masochistic sex behaviors…read the whole article:



Filed under Discipline and Children, Kids, Living

4 responses to “Spanking, as a Form of Discipline?

  1. I have to say I did try spanking one time with my second child. He was three at the time and I was at my wits end, having those crazy thoughts like, “I’m going to have to give this kid up for adoption because I don’t know what to do with him anymore.” (Now at 12 he is the most mellow, agreeable kid in the world.)

    Anyway, one day I spanked him, just as a last resort. I thought I whacked him good, but he didn’t even flinch or cry. He just kind of looked at me funny, as if to say, “Hmmm, that was different,” then went back to the fit he was throwing.

    But even before that and also since then, I have been very opposed to spanking. Logically, it doesn’t make any sense. Either the kid is old enough to understand reason, consequences, or be put in time out or some other non-violent behavioral corrective measure, or the kid isn’t old enough to understand what is going on, in which case they are little enough to just be physically removed from the situation and put somewhere more appropriate.

    Sorry to go on so long, but I have one other thing to say… I sometimes yell, not swear or insult but just loud things like, “Quit it!” which I think gets to the point where it is almost a violent response on par with spanking, and I don’t feel proud of it. I wish I could deal with things in a mellow way all the time, and I know I am using volume as a way to control/manipulate, similar to how someone would just get lazy and smack a kid. I’m not sure if I’m just being hyper-sensitive or if yelling really is a bad idea, but I hope it does not have the same lasting negative effects as spanking.

  2. Elena,

    I share a similar story with you in that I spanked each of my older children once. One time was for when one of my kids spit at me. Another was when one of the older ones sat on the face of his infant brother–cutting off his air supply and turning the baby blue. In both cases, the result was the same: the child did not “learn a lesson,” their behavior was not curbed or redirected and, as far as I could tell, no real good came of it. It was only after I’d had time to stop and think, and talk to my children about their wrong doings, that any real change was exacted.

    People who use spanking on a regular basis and claim they employ this type of discipline in a completely calm state and without anger just befuddle me. I can’t imagine HITTING your child without welling up with the difficult, remorseful, confusing and ugly emotions I felt when I swatted a child on the bottom.

    Some people use spanking as a method of demanding respect from their children. I think all it does is instill a sense of fear between child and parent. And fear does not equal respect. Fear equals fear.

    I recall being spanked as a child, and absolutely remember the fear that it evoked in me. I recall my sister being spanked, and her laughing about it and mocking my parents afterward. In neither case, did we learn any valuable lesson. In neither case were our relationships with our parents strengthened or made increasingly respectful.

    Our world includes so much violence these days…I don’t really understand why any parent would consciously CHOOSE to use spanking as a regular form of discipline. Why? So they can end up trying to de-program violent behaviors out of their children a handful of years later?

    P.S. – Elena, don’t ever apologize for “going on too long with your comment.” I wish more people who read this blog would submit the type of thoughtful remarks that you (and Cheryl, also) do. Thanks for being a part of the conversation…

  3. Cheryl Peterson

    Of course every parent has the right to choose how to best raise their children. I do not spank my children unless the offense could cause them serious injury and I want to get their attention. I do not think a swat on the butt = fear and it certainly doesn’t hurt but it does get their immediate and undivided attention. I think linking spanking to developing risky sexual behaviors and other dysfunctional attitudes toward intimacy is an outragous conclusion. I would have to see the long term data to be convinced the data wasn’t selected to support an outcome. I know parents who do not spank and choose to “reason” with their children and the end result is the children are out of control and have no respect for the authority of their parents and blow them off when they are told to do something. I wonder what the studies would show about the long term behavior of these children? Spanking is not “the” answer in my opinion but rather one of many tools a parent could choose use to raise their children.

  4. Chris

    I find the outcome to be rather irrational, as I have yet to deal with children who have been spanked, or adults who (are saneand not in some asylum lol) who have come to either of those conclusions of power or loving spanking.
    as a child I grew up following these debates, but when you look at it you see so many kids who grew up not being spanked who turned out for the worst, and yet when you look at everyone who was spanked they tend to be more respectful and turn out for the better. A spanked child gets a better grasp of right and wrong, bad actions bring bad things, good actions do not. I myself was spanked growing up, and now after studying psychology am joining a police academy to help people. (I like psychological work, and enjoy seeing how peoples minds work, but police work is my calling, I am a more physically abled person, and have an exceptional love of law and order)

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