Spanking and Criminal Behavior

It saddened and concerned me when I saw that nearly 109,000 people (at the time of this writing) on Facebook had “liked” the following statement:

“I’d rather go to jail for spanking my kids than for them to go because I didn’t.” – Likey

Does that mean spanked kids *never* go to jail? Or *only* unspanked kids go to jail? What the frack, people? What. the. frack.

Maybe the “Likey” was created in jest. Maybe the people who are liking it are just joking around. I don’t know. Its possible that I’m overreacting. I’ve been known to do that before. Maybe its just me, but I don’t think corporal punishment is a laughing matter.

Contrary to popular belief, it *is* possible to discipline your children and raise productive members of society *without* spanking them. I’m not saying that nobody should ever spank their children. I’m also not saying that I’ve never been tempted to spank my kids. But I am saying that there are other ways to discipline if you so desire. Ultimately I believe every parent needs to decide what works best for their children and their family, but to imply – as the “Likey” did on Facebook – that if you spank your child he/she is not going to go to jail, that just seems ridiculous.

Annie at PhD in Parenting has written about spanking and gentle discipline on more than one occasion. One of her posts is the Best Anti-Spanking Resources. In it she links to Plain Talk About Spanking which contains a lot of information about spanking. One of the topics addressed is Spanking and Criminal Behavior.

Spanking and criminal behavior

Everyone is familiar with the list of social maladies believed to be at the root of violent criminal behavior: poverty, discrimination, family breakdown, narcotics, gangs and easy access to deadly weapons. And it’s clear that every item in the above list contributes to violence and crime. However, one key ingredient is rarely acknowledged – spanking.

In 1940, researchers Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck began their landmark study of delinquent and nondelinquent boys. They discovered how certain early childhood influences cause children to develop antisocial, violent behaviors. They showed that the first signs of delinquency often appear in children as young as three – long before children come into contact with influences outside the home. The Gluecks showed that parents who fail to manage their children calmly, gently and patiently, but instead rely on physical punishment, tend to produce aggressive, assaultive children. The more severe and the earlier the mistreatment, the worse the outcome.

The Gluecks also found that the lowest incidence of antisocial behavior is associated with children who are reared from infancy in attentive, supportive, nonviolent families.

The message here for all parents is a simple one: if you want to do everything within your power to prevent your child from one day joining the prison population, guide gently and patiently. Remove shaming, shouting, ignoring, threatening, insulting, bullying and spanking from your parenting tool kit.

Here are some other relevant quotes from Plain Talk About Spanking:

“Corporal punishment trains children to accept and tolerate aggression. It always figures prominently in the roots of adolescent and adult aggressiveness, especially in those manifestations that take an antisocial form such as delinquency and criminality.”
Philip Greven, Professor of History, Rutgers University. Excerpt from PART IV CONSEQUENCES, subheading: “Aggression and Delinquency,” in Spare the Child: The Religious Roots of Punishment and the Psychological Impact of Physical Abuse, 1990 (p.193)

“Punitive measures whether administered by police, teachers, spouses or parents have well-known standard effects: (1) escape – education has its own name for that: truancy, (2) counterattack – vandalism on schools and attacks on teachers, (3) apathy – a sullen do-nothing withdrawal. The more violent the punishment, the more serious the by-products.”
B. F. Skinner, Ph.D., author, Professor of Psychology, Harvard. Excerpt from personal communication, 1983.

“The much-touted ‘biblical argument’ in support of corporal punishment is founded upon proof-texting a few isolated passages from Proverbs. Using the same method of selective scripture reading, one could also cite the Bible as an authority for the practice of slavery, adultery, polygamy, incest, suppression of women, executing people who eat pork, and infanticide. The brutal and vindictive practice of corporal punishment cannot be reconciled with the major New Testament themes that teach love and forgiveness and a respect for the sacredness and dignity of children, and which overwhelmingly reject violence and retribution as a means of solving human problems. Would Jesus ever hit a child? NEVER!”
The Rev. Thomas E. Sagendorf, United Methodist Clergy (Retired), Hamilton, Indiana. Personal communication, 2006.

Here’s another blurb I think that’s very relevant from PhD in Parenting’s post 10 Things All New Parents Should Know:

New parents worry that they need to “discipline” their child. But often when they say discipline, they mean spanking or punishing. However, the word discipline means to teach. That is what parents need to do. They need to guide and teach their children. In the same way that we do not expect a first grader to learn calculus, it is important to understand what age appropriate behaviour is and to shape your expectations of your child and your discipline (teaching) according to what a child can reasonably be expected to understand at any given age.

And something I wrote back in 2007 in the post Trusting My Parenting Instincts:

I believe in gentle discipline. It is challenging and hard at times, and I can’t say I haven’t lost my temper before, but I strive to discipline gently. I try to think about how I would want to be treated and honor my children with that same respect.

Like I said earlier, ultimately it is up to the parent to decide the best way to discipline his/her child, but there are alternatives to spanking for those who desire them. All I ask is that parents make informed choices and maybe trust their instincts and listen to their heart a little bit too. 🙂

Debates in the comments are great, but please keep it respectful. Thanks!

Photo credit: Flickr CP Storm

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44 thoughts on “Spanking and Criminal Behavior”

  1. Amy,

    Thank you for addressing this! I saw this when an acquaintance of mine “Liked” it. While I have definitely used corporal punishment in the past (and it didn’t work with the child who “needs” it most….and the other two never needed it, one I never even mentioned it or considered it, the other straightens up with a mere mention) it didn’t work with the “needing” child anyway. She’s one of those “nothing works” kids – we’re still trying to find the right option for her.

    But that’s the rub, for me: I think people are reading that – at least the type like the person I know – and thinkin it’s a parental right and no lawyer or cop is gonna stop them…. etc etc. They aren’t thinking it through, what their children would become, or be put through, if they really WERE arrested for spanking. The other thing that struck me is that the people I know who are “Liking” this on Facebook already fit a stereotype some of us are trying to fight – they are white Christian homeschoolers with larger than average families. I’d laugh at the irony of it if I could find a chuckle, I promise. 😉

    I appreciate that you said that you are NOT saying nobody should ever spank. I also think it would be handy if more people considered what discipline comes from – to disciple, ie to TEACH. Not to punish or do harm to; to teach, to help grow. I see that bandied about in a lot of pro-spanking circles, that the “rod” is there as a discipling tool – but aren’t our words and the other tools you mentioned a less extreme tool that carries fewer risks?

    Lest any other readers think I’m knocking those who do spank, trust me, I’m not. But as someone who was spanked many years ago, and didn’t need it after a certain point – and can’t understand why even THAT doesn’t get through to one of her kids – I’ve kinda given up on it. It might work for some, but it doesn’t work for us; and while I disagree with the way it’s viewed in certain circles, I’m not about to throw caution to the wind and whoop arse on my kid and end up in jail. 🙂

  2. Well the optimist in me sees a statement like that as saying that the parent would much rather take a punishment than let the child take it. IE spank the child and go to prison instead of not spanking and having the child go to prison. Its where the parents acts like a parent and is shielding the child from things that they can. I sure as heck would take any major punishment or situation than leave it for my kids to handle, after all I’m the mom.
    I don’t think spanking was really issue, just the situation that was used.

    And yes I have spanked, not often but a time or two when the situation deserved it. Like when a child ran out into the street or was playing with the stove. A quick stinging slap on hand or bottom as a reminder not to do something that could really hurt them are the only situations I see where it might be appropriate. Though now that my daughter’s 5 I don’t see it happening anymore, since she is old enough to understand reason and I can take away her bike for running out into the street.

  3. A.) That “likey” blew my mind (many of them do). Not only b/c it glorifies spanking, but because of the judgment in blatantly makes about parents who DON’T spank their children. I don’t think you’re over-reacting; clearly the “likey” was, in my opinion, created by someone with a heapload of ignorance, but doesn’t mean it can’t, or shouldn’t, touch a nerve.

    I feel very strongly about the idea of spanking and why it is NOT a reasonable form of discipline–I won’t go into it b/c your post does such a great job of outlining all the reasons why spanking is NOT an effective means of discipline.

    I’ve given up on railing against it as a way for other parents to deal w/ their kids–if there’s one thing I’ve learned in 4 years of parenting, it’s that I can’t change parents who do things differently than me. But I can, and do, still take great offense when someone who does things differently is outwardly judgmental towards the choices I make, and, beyond the ignorance of the statement in general, that’s why that “likey” bothers me so much.

  4. When I saw so many of my friends “liking” this yesterday I was quite upset. Do people not realize that their FaceBook speaks volumes as to the type of person they are?

    Regardless of whether one is a person who uses spanking for discipline or not, this particular statement takes it to a level that is unacceptable. It says, to me, that the person clearly doesn’t know the difference between discipline and abuse and if they would like something that basically says they would spank to the point of abuse (that’s what it would take to go to jail) then what is really going on in their house?

    Further, I agree with Sarah who mentioned the judgment passed on parents that don’t spank – as if they are responsible for the dregs of society.

    I actually chose to post on this today, too. My linked blog is where you will find my post if you are interested. It is titled ‘Think Before You “Like”‘

  5. I’m a new reader (and rather obsessed….thanks a lot!) but as someone that has actively written about our choice NOT to spank, I am thrilled with this perspective and the resources that you included. Thank you!

  6. I don’t have children, but I do have a degree in Early Childhood Education. I also work with children who have autism. I feel very strongly about spanking and here is why: I work with kids who hit, kick, spit, throw things, and have mild to severe maladaptive behaviors in general. Here’s my point – I can’t spank the kids I work with. I have to use sound behavioral practices; I don’t have any other choice. And I’m glad, because they work. Now, if I can work with children who have severe behaviors without hitting them or screaming at them, there’s no excuse for anyone else to. That’s my opinion, and I always bring it up to people who defend spanking. There are other ways to discipline children – they just may not be as easy as spanking.

  7. That so many would “like” that shows that there is a strong shift in parenting that still needs to happen. Years ago (my oldest is 16-1/2) I spanked my son for the incorrect things he did. Did it help? Didn’t seem to. Did it keep him out of jail? Well, he’s never been in trouble, but I don’t think it was because of the spanking. I think it was because I paid attention to what he was doing, and we talked a lot, about everything. Along the way, my way of thinking changed, and I realized that what spanking teaches most is fear. Do I want my children to fear me? No. I want them to listen to me, to understand, to respect me. I also want them to feel free to disagree with me, to discuss things with me, to be able to be open with me about anything that’s on their minds. For us, the best way to achieve that is to take a more gentle approach to life.

    If I expect my children to follow the rules out of fear, then all they’ve learned is fear. If I explain the reason for the rules, and what they’re for, then they’ve learned to understand, not like necessarily but at least understand. Very little is learned when being taught through fear, except to fear the person doing the “teaching”.

    The idea that not using corporal punishment to get your children to respect and follow the rules – whether at home or in society at large – will result in the child going to jail is pretty absurd. The unfortunate result of the “likey” is the perpetuation of the myth that the only way to get children to learn is to hit or hurt them. We – being society – really need to change that thinking.

  8. It is upsetting to me that spanking is always tied with losing your temper and that is simply not always the case. I have seen parents who, when their child was told not to do something and they do it anyway, then the parent takes them aside, explains to them that they have done something wrong and there are consequences when you do something wrong. The child needs to apologize, but the spanking is still given. They learn early on that actions have consequences and simply saying I’m sorry does not void those consequences. This is how the real world works. The parents have put together a system that allows them to discipline their children, but also forces the parent to stop and calm down as well. This is how we plan to discipline as our daughter gets older. She is still too young to understand, and currently the only time she gets a spanking or slap on the hand is when she is doing something dangerous, like trying to play with an outlet, and refuses to listen after being told no and repeatedly removed from the situation, but continues to do that dangerous activity.

    I just wanted to point out that many parents spank, not because they cannot control their temper, but because they have thoughtfully decided that it is an effective way to discipline their children.

  9. I think you’re bang-on here, Amy. There are a whole lot of factors that lead to criminal behaviour. But I highly doubt that failing to use corporal punishment is on the list. Or, for that matter, garden variety ineffective parenting.

    We all have to make our own parenting choices. I get that. But keeping your child out of jail is not as easy as spanking them. Entire countries, with much lower incarceration rates than we have here in North America, have declared spanking illegal. If they can do it, so can we.

  10. I appreciate everyone keeping it respectful here. Thank you.

    Megan – Thank you for pointing that out. As I said above, every parent has the right to figure out what method of discipline works best for their family. I respect that. However, I want people to know that discipline methods other than spanking exist though for those who are interested.
    What I mostly take issue with in this post is the Likey itself.

  11. That’s along the lines of a “likey” I saw concerning something along the lines of “if I had said something like that to MY parents, they would have knocked me across the room”

    … and that makes it ok? We can’t have respectful children and NOT “knock them across the room”?

    So …. just …. UGH.

    Don’t get me wrong, we used to spank. We actually used The Pearls method for a few months. But it was NOT working. None of it. So we stopped all sorts of spanking and punishment of that sort. That was almost 5yrs ago and our oldest daughter (for the most part … she is a child afterall lol) behaves beautifully. And she knows there will be disciplinary actions to follow if she doesn’t. No big deal. And our youngest? She’s NEVER had a swatted hand or a spanked bottom and she will, more times than not, listen and stop when told a simple “no”.

    There ARE other alternatives to spanking and I wish people would actually try them. IF a person thinks they must spank, I wish it’d be a LAST option instead of the first they turn to.

  12. I think that the statement, no matter what your choice of discipline style, is a shocking one because it’s basically based on a belief that is not true. Just as you’ve included info here, people are mis-informed. I hope your post is found to be a refreshing eye opener to many!


  13. Without getting all into the spanking debate (I’m very much against spanking as a discipline technique), the idea that not spanking leads to out of control kids who will go to jail is so offensive.

    I see this idea a lot–that kids raised with gentle discipline, Attachment Parenting, whatever you want to call it–are brats whose overly-permissive parents give them no boundaries. And it drives me up a wall.

    When I describe my “methods” or philosophy to people, I get a lot of that.

    But funny, in real life a lot of my friends think I am “strict” with my kids.

    Permissive parenting is not synonymous with gentle discipline.

  14. Maybe the person who created the page was referring to Denmark? In Denmark it’s against the law to spank your children even in the privacy of your own home. If you do, you can be arrested and sent to jail.

  15. Spanking is actually against the law in many countries, not just Denmark. Some countries have come to realize that it is not okay to hit a child, just as it is not okay to hit an adult.

    I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. I do things sometimes that should and do have “consequences”. But it is NEVER okay for my boss, husband, friend, colleague, person I cut off, person I told off, or anyone else to use physical violence as a way to discipline me. I feel that the same respect should be given to children.

    I see way too many women who say “I deserved it” as a way to excuse being hit by their husband. I’m going to start teaching my son and my daughter right now that that is not okay by not hitting them and by telling them that it is not okay under any circumstances for anyone to hit them or for them to hit anyone else.

  16. I was spanked as a child and so was my husband. And I’d like to think we’re productive members of society. We both have spanked our daughter. Because it’s very hard to reason with a 2-year-old. I understand that some people take spanking way too far and it goes into child abuse but I have only spanked my daughter on the butt when she was wearing a diaper. Now when she (and our baby on the way) are older, we are going to use different punishment techniques because no matter how much you spank a teenager, you get your point across better if you take away something they love. I know, I’ve had it happen to me. My bottom line is I don’t feel like it’s my place to tell any other parent how to raise their child(ren). And if you can punish your child without spanking, more power to you!

  17. I, like Megan, also am saddened when I see spanking being likened to abusive parenting – there are many who spank their children as Megan said, as a thoughtful, controlled part of their parenting, making sure the child knows why they are being spanked, and making sure the parent is calm and collected. There is never an excuse for hitting or spanking out of anger – but not all spanking is an angry, out-of-control response to misbehavior.

    That being said, the likey statement was ridiculous – children come to a point where they make their own choices, regardless of the type of parenting their parents employed, and I definitely see how someone who was spanked out of anger or violently, would respond in kind, and become violent to others.

  18. why are we trying to punish children that lack the ability to reason in the first place? (i’m thinking of the 5-and-under crowd.) there are more constructive ways to teach right vs. wrong without resorting to the application of pain. i can’t see any situation where spanking a small child is truly warranted. once they’re old enough to reason, one can explain to them why the behavior is deemed ‘wrong’ and what the preferred behavior would be. controlling their behavior by inducing a fear of physical consequence will also make them fear the person doling out the punishment, which will eventually make it difficult for the child to come to the parent as they get older for help when they’ve done something wrong or made a mistake and need advice. personal experience, there.

    i also agree with Amy that, in the end, each family has to decide what works best for them, but my hope is that they think before raising their hands.

  19. to the ‘controlled’ spanking idea: it’s still essentially telling the child ‘you’ve done something wrong, now you will be hit for your wrongdoing’. why is this okay? we don’t do this to each other as adults, why is this an acceptable way to teach a child?

    should we also, then, go back to ‘controlled’ corporal punishment in schools? my mother went to Catholic school, where they slapped the children on the hand with a ruler if they did the wrong thing. this was not done out of anger, but to teach the children the ‘right’ way to behave. is this, then, an acceptable way to discipline, since it is ‘controlled’ and not done out of anger?

    do the children of parents who use controlled spanking accept their punishment and offer up their hand or rear to be swatted? do they accept this as a reasonable consequence of their misbehaving?

  20. All I know is that the only time I have ever been tempted to spank my daughter is when I am at my wits end and feeling out of control. And hitting my child while I am in that state is def. NOT something I ever want to do. So far we have not had any problem finding other ways of discipline.
    BTW I know plenty of people who have spent time in jail who were spanked as children. 🙂

  21. From Candace: “But funny, in real life a lot of my friends think I am “strict” with my kids.” re: AP, etc.

    This gave me a chuckle, because I’ve had parents in our area say the same thing about me – but they spank and I no longer do. Yet I’m the “mean Mommy” because of my tone of voice or the look I give them when they are doing something (or about to) they shouldn’t, while they are chirping “You’d better stop it or when we get home you lose TV and you get 5 spankings, and more when Daddy gets home!”


  22. I grew up in a large family. My dad was and IS a very sensible man. I was spanked a few times growing up, but, it was never out of anger or rage, I knew I had done something wrong or was disrespectful to my mom. Never once was a bruise left behind! But a loving word and encouragement to do better followed.
    I believe that a child should NEVER EVER be disciplined out of anger! Discipline is to teach them. SO, I agree that if your child will respond to more gentle discipline, by ALL means use it, but in some circumstances a spanking may be called for.
    I am a mother of three girls, 8, 5, and 2 1/2. My 2 year old and I are very close. She is a mommies girl through and through, but she knows where her limits are. I have spanked her maybe 2 times, but non spanking discipline is mostly used in my home.

  23. Receiving a Spanking is to Correct a Wrong Doing. Being Spanked Should NOT be a Crime/Unless its Abuse. Spanked by Dad as a Kid Hand & Belt. Punishments were Fair and Deserved.(Spank your Kids) Don’t be another Friend Dare to Discipline.

  24. hmmm…parenting is so dang hard, and I find discipline the hardest arena to do effectively. I have read lots of books, but it all seems to go out the window in the moment if I am trying to get somewhere, we are in a hurry, I am stressed about something completely unrelated…

    Those are the times I find it hard. I sometimes yell and hate myself after, I sometimes handle it without much calmness or kindness. I sometimes wonder who the child is in that moment…me or one of them…I have yet to spank. I know it would be out of frustration for me.

    No one said this job was easy, no matter how we do it! lol.


  25. This seems kind of obvious to me. If you’re going to jail for spanking, you’re going way too far. Far beyond a mere tap on the behind to straight out abuse and when people go that far they should go to jail.
    There’s no formula saying if you hit this much or that much you’ll either have a child that will be the next president or a serial killer.
    I think it’s better to ere on the side of causion and not hit at all because it just seems obvious that hitting makes a child react by being aggressive depending on that child.

  26. Amy, I am so glad that you addressed that FB “like” statement. I saw it floating around as well and it frustrated me (for the reasons you listed).

    Personal decisions aside (we choose not to spank), I was dismayed by the lack of thought and reason behind the statement…and saddened that so many people felt included to click the “Like” button. Sometimes our society underwhelms me.

  27. Discipline is to Teach Right from Wrong. Abuse is Crimminal. Learn and know which 1 GOD Says he Endorses. Stupid ppl Please Don’t Answer This Post. Have A Belt to Show U the Difference? If needed…

  28. You mention alternatives, but I don’t see any suggestions, any specific techniques listed. Instead of just saying ‘don’t spank’ why not give suggestions on alternatives that work rather than just telling others not to spank.

    Personally, I would love to see some alternatives. I don’t like spanking. I hate it. But other punishments don’t work. Taking things away, time outs, talking to and explaining, praying with them. Unfortunately, it was spanking that seemed to do it and making them respond with ‘yes mommy’ so that I know it registers. Advice on alternatives would be greatly appreciated.

  29. Like almost all of these Likely things on FB, the comment is stupid. BUT, I seriously doubt that most of the people who liked the comment meant it as a judgement against people who don’t spank. It sounds to me as much more of a call to claim the right to discipline as they see fit to make sure that their kid is “raised right”. Certainly, every kid is different, and the approach to their discipline should be appropriate to their behavior.

  30. Lee:

    I’d be happy to recommend some alternatives, but part of it requires a different mindset from the beginning. I am not looking for my children to be obedient (“yes mommy”). Instead, I want to teach them to make choices and take actions that will keep them safe, be respectful of others, allow them to have fun, and allow them to be successful and productive. They will not always have me there to tell them what to do, so my goals are bigger than obedience.

    That also means that I need to understand in the short term, as they are learning, that they are not always going to make the best choices all of the time. I need to be prepared to be patient, to explain things over and over, to model good behaviour and good choices for them.

    I like this chart explaining the difference between discipline (which I do) and punishment (which I try to avoid):

    For more detailed ideas, I have some book recommendations in my Parenting Library:

  31. In the 2.5 years with my step-children, I spanked my step-daughter once for deliberating scaring Scaredy Cat(this was a big no-no in our house) and my step-son about half a dozen times for extreme disobedience. Spanking was several (usually 1 but a couple of times of 5 or 6) slaps on the butt with an open hand. In general, I am not a big fan of physical discipline (unlike his parents) and often intervened when I felt it was getting out of control. My step-son was very partial to his Wii and his portable DVD player. A few instances of taking those privileges away was generally sufficient to modulate his behaviour.

    I was spanked with wooden spoons and slapped across the face as discipline. I can’t say that it specifically helped me be a better person. If anything, it prompted me to do a better job of not getting caught. That is not the kind of relationship I wanted with my step-children. My step-son often came to me rather than his father to confess something that he had done wrong. Fear begets deceit that more natural consequences do not.

  32. Spankings Are Acceptable,SLAPPING Someone in the Face Provokes Anger that may Lead to Rage. The Bible States Slapping in the Face Makes u An Enemy/Ex. Jesus Trial…False Charges.

  33. I haven’t ever spanked a child and I don’t know whether I ever will.

    However, I was spanked when I was young and I would consider it as a discipline method. I’ve read all the pros and cons. I completely agree that spanking should never be done if the parent is in a temper, and I think that most people who resort to spanking do so in a damaging way. I also think those people resort to damaging discipline methods generally speaking – you don’t have to scream or beat someone to hurt them!

    My parents did not beat me – they spanked. But never while angry. With a giant scary wooden spoon, I might add, although physically the spankings were not painful. There were clearly understood times when spankings were the consequence. Sometimes I preferred to be bad and take those consequences. I think the best explanation of this kind of corporal punishment that I ever heard was in a Dorothy Sayer book (Striding Folly, although the particular short story was published as Talboys) when Harriet explains to a relative why they spank Bredon but don’t expect to spank Roger. “And this will be alright unless we have to spank Paul [the youngest]” 🙂

    In part I credit spanking with giving me a clear sense of action and consequences. This is something that I strongly feel many of my unspanked contemporaries and their children lack. I don’t think you HAVE to spank in order to teach this, but I think that done correctly spanking can be an effective tool. Given my childhood experiences, I’m unwilling to declare it an evil and outdated discipline method just because some people have abused it.

    In my opinion, this is like saying that teachers should take care to avoid physical contact with their pupils because of past abuse by other teachers. I’d like to live in a world without inappropriate physical contact, but not one without hugs! Similarly, I’d like to live in a world where it’s unacceptable to beat your children, but not one where the kind of spankings I received as a child are considered child abuse.

  34. I think much of the criticism of spanking rightly comes from those who grew up in homes were it was misused and they were abused.

    I had a strict mother growing up. There were set rules in our home that we did not break. We had to be in the house by dinnertime, do our homework, do our chores, and be polite. Breaking those rules meant being disciplined. When I was younger, my mother sometimes whipped us on the butt with a switch or a belt. Could she have done something else? Sure she could have. But what she did was what she knew and for my two brothers and I, it worked. As strict as she was, I never felt I was abused by her.

    I see so many kids today who could really benefit from discipline. I think all this criticism of spanking is not helpful. If you can discipline your kids effectively without ever spanking them, than more power to them. Please stop faulting all those parents though who aren’t as successful or creative as you (or who don’t have hours to spend dealing with a minor problem)who do choose to spank in a non-abusive manner.

    I have spanked my two children a handful of times. I save it for really serious things like lying, stealing, or risky behavior that could end up harming them or another. Unlike my mother, I use nothing but my hand to spank with. Although, I admit I have pulled down pants a few times and spanked on the seat of underwear when I needed to make a point.

    It works for those of us who are careful and use it sparingly. Please don’t make unfair generalizations.

  35. We are a non-smacking family. We still teach our children appropriate behaviour. It’s a myth that spanking or smacking is the one only way to discipline a child. There are other techniques.

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