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January 5th, 2010 by Dr. Phil

To Spank or Not to Spank?

spanking1On two of our shows this week, we have what I think, is an intelligent and thought-provoking debate about an age-old question: To spank or not to spank. Big question, and one that the answer to can have a profound and lasting impact on your child. I have seen surveys that tend to be split, with about half of parents believing if you spare the rod, you spoil the child, and the other half saying no way does it make sense to hit your kid.

Not one to waffle around on issues, I won’t hesitate to weigh in with my opinion: I believe spanking genuinely confuses children. I believe they think to themselves something like, ”OK, let me get this right. You are supposed to love me, nurture me and protect me from harm, and now you are standing there, five times my size, and hitting me and inflicting physical pain? Hmmm … I don’t get it.”

Will spanking suppress behavior in the short term? Yes. Does it teach a lesson that can be internalized and used later in the form of self-discipline? I don’t think so, and even if it does, it’s highly inefficient compared to other options. And is it really wise to teach children that hitting is OK?

I got spanked once, and I am still mad about it! HA! In the sixth grade, I snuck off to swim in a pond about 10 miles from our house in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. No supervision and lucky someone didn’t drown! When asked about it, I started to lie and deny doing it. Even though I was young, and based on my choices at the time, pretty stupid, I quickly realized, mid-lie, that I was standing there with bloodshot eyes and a good case of swimmer’s ear. It wouldn’t have taken MacGyver to figure out what I’d been doing, so I just ‘fessed up — not because it was the right thing, but because I was busted, and I knew it.

new spankingMy father spanked me with a belt for sneaking off and swimming without supervision in an uncharted pond. Five minutes later, he came in and gave me a dollar to reward my decision to tell the truth. Now, a dollar to a poor kid circa 1961 was a lot of money, but let me tell you, I stood there and ripped that dollar bill into a million pieces so tiny you couldn’t even almost tell what it used to be! I “got” the stupidity of what I had done and didn’t need to be hit to solidify that knowledge. It wasn’t the physical pain, because honestly, it was a pretty wimpy and half-hearted whuppin’. It was the indignity of it and the sense of betrayal I felt. If anything, it made me feel righteous, defiant and rebellious (please hear chants of “ATTICA! ATTICA!” building in the background. HA!) I felt the relationship I thought we had was now, in my opinion, violated, which to my 12-year-old brain meant I owed him nothing going forward. It was every man for himself! (Sooo, I have the bias of personal experience, but I confessed it, so don’t hit me!)

On this week’s shows, however, I have some guests who strongly disagree with my opinions, as I bet many of you do. They insist that an occasional swat across the behind or even a good spanking is not anything close to a physical beating, and that it does indeed teach respect. Unfortunately, it often doesn’t stop with the swat or controlled spanking and can go too far.

So what do you think? Do you think you can get results with physical punishment? Does fear work, or does it backfire?

I’d like to hear all of your stories. Have you ever spanked your child? Do you think a teacher or school administrator has the right to paddle your child for misbehaving? What about a babysitter? And what methods of discipline would you use instead of spanking?

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712 Responses to “To Spank or Not to Spank?”

  1. marie s says:

    I am a mother of 4, i had them all within 6 years! and i did disipline them with spanking and did not make me feel very good. they are older now and good kids. but i found that if i yelled alot they toned me out , but if i spoke and gave them 3 warnings that i was gonna be mad they usually listened but i have a child with adhd and aspergers so that was not always the rules. i tried to do things differently than my parents i was spoil rotten. and knew that i wanted to have some control. ithought i wasnt loved but was so wrong they just didnt know wht to do with me when i got to a certain age, bigger then them, i had to much control, but with my children i set rules and boundreys and have great kids. just so you know i was 17 when i had my first and have grown to become a great and successfull hairdresser and been able to love and disipline them in the best way i know how! and loseing my parents in 1994 was a huge lesson cause i was no longer spoiled i was an orphan with no advise, i love your show dr phil you enrich our lives, keep up the great work, thanks for listening. marie s

  2. kimomma says:

    I have two boys 14/16 they are tough too. Spanking in my opinion is only for something unexpectedly serious, you only use it as a last resort to an exhausted issue. I personally with the 1st son spanked and regret it everytime I ask him to do anything that i have spanked him for not doing now. He always has to push to the spank and now he is tooo old and to big to hurt! I think if I could do it over I would not spank.

  3. secwepemc says:

    I spanked my youngest daughter only a couple of times. I took 3 parenting skills classes. The more I try the lessons i learned from these parenting classes, the more she doesn’t listen. i take away privileges, I use a firm voice, I tell her why she can’t do what she is doing, i tried everything. She holds her ground. she is 11 years old. I count to 3 and tell her she can either walk to her room or i’ll carry her. I end up carrying her. she hits, screams, scratches,spits, punches. She screams loud enough for the people upstairs to hear to try and get me in trouble. She’ll scream “Stop, your hurting me”. Then she threaten to call the cops on me. But I won’t spank because I know I’ll be charged for assualt and my daughter will be taken away.l Yet when I was spanked when I was her age, I learned to listen and respect my mother.

  4. Chris says:

    If a child needs a spanking i’m in favor Iwas spanked when I was young and I turn out fine spankings work with me I was even paddled in school

  5. Bebe says:

    I definitely agree with spanking a child. I was spanked as a child & I am fine. Its because of spanking & other means of punishment that I learned how to straightened my act. My mom was a single parent raising 3 girls & it was not easy for her. So she had to set rules & consequences. Sometimes children need to get spanked every now & then. Ofcourse punishment & taking privileges away work as well but depending on what they do & the severity of it will definitely enable a spanking. I don’t think that by spanking your child your teaching them violence. Society & the law are both teaching children that if your hit by your parent they need to tell someone in school or a friend. That is why a lot of these children grow up to be disrespectful, run all over their parents & even killing them. I have a friend that spanked her child with a belt, her child told someone in school (because that’s what she was told to do by someone in school) & they reported it to DSS. Parents can’t even discipline their own children without being investigated by the law & feeling like they have to watch what they do when it comes down to disciplining their children. Its ridiculous! Abuse & decipline are two different things. Some children will even threaten their parents with the police if they spank them. As far as time outs, it doesn’t work. I dicipline my children with punishment, taking away privileges & sometimes spanking. So I definitely believe in spanking children as a form of discipline.

  6. Jana says:

    Spanking is necessary in some situations because some people are so earthy or self centered and don’t know what is going on unless they are hit. The only other two kinds of people who don’t like spanking are Negotiaters and Feelers. Both types are emotional and don’t like a whole lot of physical contact, which they believe spanking is; that’s why if either one of them are psychologist, they tend to say they don’t want people to spank their kids. They also love to run parenting classes.

    Also the picture of the child with her back turned to the wall is unflattering. It reinforces what Negotators and Feelers try to tell Us about spanking. LOL. I thought that was a great picture and needs to be seen more often in the home and classroom, if the child misbehaves.

    Thanks for listening ya’all.

  7. Kim says:

    Spanking is not ok under any circumstances. Firstly, discipline is about teaching….one is teaching self-discipline and inflicting physical pain on smaller individuals does not reflect self-discipline. The ones who misbehave the most are usually the ones who are mostly punished and spanked. If spanking was a great option, there would be the opposite effect. Secondly, punishment of any kind has been proven to be ineffective in the long run. Thirdly, a child learn by being spanked that physical violence is a good way to express emotion, problem solve, and get others to do their bidding. Children who are spanked sometimes (a huge percentage of the time) will spank their parent back when they are angry. Well why not? Spankers have taught their child that they have permission to do it.

    Modeling good behavior, teaching a child to use their words instead of whining, showing that you understand where your child is coming from, understanding that certain behaviors are simply child-ish so cannot be punished or spanked out of the child no matter how hard you do it. Sometimes certain behaviors are developmental and you just have to wait until they grow out of them.

    People need to open up a book and find a better way to handle situations with their children. People claim in that popular saying: They don’t come with an instruction manual. Well, they do. Child psychology, behaviorism, sense that has become un-common, and books on leadership in general have existed for decades and some for centuries. Most people just don’t view parenting as a subject worthy of study. They seem to decide to do it they way the previous generation did it even though it clearly did not work or make fore a harmonious household.

    Spanking is a behavior people do when they fail to learn a better way to handle situations and when parents do not express self-discipline. People should stop making excuses.

  8. Leah says:

    I agree with spanking. My husband and I were both spanked as children and we turned out just fine. We respected out parents and were considered good kids by other parents and teachers. We do spank our son when he says no or deliberately disobeys. I believe that if you are consistent then impovement will show. Spankings come less and less often when you are consistent. I do not agree with getting spankings in a school setting and babysitters are not allowed to spank. The only other people that are able to spank our son is our parents when we are not around, which has only happened once.

  9. lynn says:

    I agree with spanking for willful disobedience, up till they are 10, you have to know your child through, with some children- it just fuels the fire. We always did it in private, made sure the child understood offense, prayed with them and hugged them. The offense was over. Spanking wasn’t used in all situations.

  10. aadvyds says:

    I don’t agree with spanking. At all.
    Now that I’ve said that, I must say that I came to this conclusion over a period of several years, and I regretfully admit to spanking my (older) children (I have 7 children, ranging from 19 to 7yo). I think spanking is a lazy way of “parenting” – it’s done to relieve the parent’s (or parents’) frustration, and probably in very few cases is it done to truly ‘teach’ the child anything constructive.

    I know that parenting non-violently is a lot harder, takes more patience, more effort, more imagination, more energy – but it is also so much more rewarding. I have apologized to my older children for having used physical punishment, I hope that they have seen the change and that they will have learned from my mistakes.

  11. Tyler MacPherson says:

    I am a 15 year old boy, who lives in Canada, and yes. I think, that sometime people do need a spank if they are deserving. otherwise, they will be taught that there is no punishment for things when bad things are done. And shore, take there cell phone away…they know they will get it back.

  12. Holly B says:

    When my children were younger, I was a spanker. I did not then, nor will I now make apologizes for this. Spanking NOT beatings, and reserved for rare occasions. We have gotten too soft on children. By this I mean, we have let them dictate what they will and wont do. We’ve stopped being parents in order to be friends. My children when they were younger had plenty of friends… and none of them were me. I WAS the PARENT. Now that they are of adult and college age, the friendships are there.
    They learned right quick and in a hurry where the line was and if they crossed it, they knew the repercussions.
    No apologies, only two great children.

  13. Mike says:

    You can not reason or debate with a child. Spanking is immediate feedback that corrects unacceptable behavior. Taking privlages away does nothing because children easily entertain themselves and find something else to do.

  14. Rebecca says:

    Spare the Rod, spoil the child. I do not beat my child, nor leave red marks; but i DO spank when everything else fails. It lets him know I am serious. I tell him I dont want to but I will if he disobeys- then i do it! The worse thing a parent can do is say this or that is going to happen as a consiquence and not follow through with it. If you displine and stick with it but never in anger always in love and correction, your child will respect and love you for the guidence.

  15. jade says:

    my husband and i have very different views.. so our children are prob. a bit confused, poor things. i think spanking escalates a situation, it can also start to become used to frequently and shows kids not to express feelings, but rather to show they r mad by hitting. my husband believes a good woopin teaches respect.. i dont know something to think about.. im still confused about it.

  16. Joni says:

    Generally, I attempt to get as far away from this subject as possible. I am 53 years old and can not even say the “s” word.

    Everytime I even think of this word, I feel that nauseating clawing feeling and I physically think I am going to puke!

    My mother was a strong believer in the “s” and was very demeaning and humiliating about it. I got beat frequently. I got beat for things my sister did because I was older, should have been watching her and stopped her. I got beat for passing out in church and embarassing the family. No blowing your nose in church either! If I forgot to take out the trash, didn’t hold my pinky in the air while eating, not acting like a lady (yuck),getting grass stains on my clothes, just to clear the air and many more incidentals. Got it every day when I was four because I could not learn to tie my shoes. I went to my aunt’s house and she taught me in about 15 mins. I remember her bribing me to go back home with a bag of jelly beans later that day. My aunt was left handed. So, then it became everytime I did something “ass Backwards” too.

    Everytime she hit me I just wanted to become invisible and disappear. She was not particular about when she did it or who was around. It was so humiliating (to say the least).

    I think I was in my early twenties when I finally realized that a yard stick and willow tree branches had other purposes than beating kids.

    I will still duck or hit the floor if someone picks up a stick that I didn’t anticipate. It is very embarassing when this happens. And, I will never tell anyone why I do this.

    It did teach me several things-to be more hard headed than I already was, never to cry (I think someone could break all of my bones one by one and I would not cry-I doubt that I would even complain that it hurt). I learned how to hide very well and be very quiet. It also taught me to never say what was on my mind. Made me quite more manuplitave and a great lier by omission. And, that I was the most impossible and wretched person to be around.

    I had to turn the episode off when the lady was pouring the hot sauce in her son’s mouth. I could not watch her do that or listen one more second to her “Tone of Voice”. She indicated she was there for help, however I have my doubts anything sunk in-did you see the lack of empathy, sorrow, (or anything for that matter) in her eyes?

    I can not stand it when I hear people yelling or threatening their children in a store. It still makes me shiver and shake.

    I have a multitude of gratitude that the Good Lord had the foresight to break the beating cycle with my daughter. I admidt I was not perfect, however only whapped her with an open hand on the behind a couple of times. She is grown now and no worse for the wear. She doesn’t even remember it.

    Anyway there are those of us still out here who can not say and barely stand to hear the “s” word. IT STILL CREEPS ME OUT!

    I’m assuming you have surmised what my opinion on the matter is.

  17. Karina the Bold says:

    So Dr. Phil thinks kids say, “OK, let me get this right. You are supposed to love me, nurture me and protect me from harm, and now you are standing there, five times my size, and hitting me and inflicting physical pain? Hmmm … I don’t get it.” Dr. Phil, you are so full of BS!

    Both my sister and I were spanked in our youth and teen years. My father’s discipline was direct and to the point. He had certain rules, and if you broke them you got swatted or spanked, depending on the severity of the infraction. We did not engage in a Dr. Phil-esque analysis. We thought, “OK, we broke the rules and we got punished. We won’t do it again, or if we do, we get smacked again, and it will hurt.” Spankable infractions included those where you engaged in some prohibited behavior that could jeopardize your life or safety; or you broke a major rule, such as don’t lie, steal, or sass. My father’s rules, moral code, and enforcement helped me forge my own moral code. As I got older and went to college I of course bent or broke many of “the rules,” but there was always my code that prevented me from going over the line. Getting pregnant, drunken driving, harmful drugs, lying, cheating, stealing – well, I just didn’t do stuff like that.

    My mother, on the other hand, had a cruel streak a mile wide and ten miles long, and her punishment was really unfair. I didn’t engage in a Dr. Phil-esque analysis for her “discipline” either. I just developed a sincere hatred for unfairness, which in a contrary manner, makes me fight against unfairness in all forms.

    The interesting point is that almost all of our friends were spanked or hit for breaking the rules. Compared to today’s generations that were not spanked, we were and still are more respectful, more mannerly, have more self-control, know right from wrong, and the vast majority of us grew up into respectable adults despite the influence of Woodstock and all that stuff. I find this sorely missing in the gen-X and gen-Y kids, and in the 30-something cougars that act like sluts. It appears obvious: no discipline in childhood leads to out-of-control teens and adults.

    So: Spanking? OK. Permissive, indulgent treatment of children? NoK. No way. Or you end up with generations of stupid out-of-control brats like we are afflicted with now.

  18. Amy P. says:

    Why does that couple of that apparently (so tormented child) still have pets? The mother actually seemed rather indignant. Doing my best not to be judgemental without even PRETENDING to know what [they] are all dealing with. – I think the parents have a situation on their hands that is not their fault. What DOES one do with a child you want to love that behaves like that? I think some things are just out of our hands – I am not a religious person – I wish I had something positive to offer … I want them to know – that love alone is not enough here [I believe]. Nobody could have prevented this I think. Thank you Dr. Phil for the words regarding the pets – but my goodness, didn’t the mother have the wherewithall to do this on her own? Good thoughts to that family.

  19. Magnum1 says:

    Spare the rod and spoil the child! Mosy kids today act out like they do because they know that they can get away with it without being punished. These kids have Mom and Dad argueing with each others about what to do. Both Parents have to be on the same page and “support” each others. It does no good to argue in front of any kid about what you think should be done the kid will see that they can get away with anything because of this. Just get on the same page and enforce the rules. All kids need to be punished or they will never accept responsibilaty for anything they do.

  20. Sarah says:

    I believe there is a time for spanking. Not bruising or abusing but just spanking. I also believe there is a time to give a little swat with the hand and give a little swat with the belt. There is also a time to talk to the child about his or her unacceptable behavior. I think there is a time and a place for everything. The parents job is to raise the children to become successful and independent people in society. The children have to be able to stick up for themselves because they do have a mind of their own. The mind of a child can be altered by the parent(s) and later on by society. So the child has to be prepared to go out into the world.

  21. J Farthing says:

    I disagree with spanking. I was spanked as a child. While I didn’t feel abused, I definitely obeyed out of fear. As an adult, student of human services, and the parent of a child with autism, I realize that discipline is meant to help your child’s development not immediately stop the offensive behavior. While I’ll admit spanking takes less effort and may seem like a quick fix for the moment, it does not benefit the child’s development long term. I think it’s worth it to take the time and effort necessary to help your child develop a strong foundation. I read an analogy using employees; comparing employees who were spanked as children and employees who were not. The employees who were spanked tried to be on time and perform their work well out of fear of being fired or reprimanded. The employees who were not spanked performed well because they took pride in what they were doing; motivated by pride rather than fear. As a parent I want to raise my child to have pride in everything he does rather then living in fear.

  22. Vena says:

    I am the mother of a 24yr old son and a 21yr old daughter. They both are in college and living to be nice law abiding people. This is one subject that I will never agree with politicians and doctors on.

    Can’t you people see that because of you taking parenting out of the hands of the family, you are allowing a bunch of law breaking crazy children to be raised?

    I would have never slept in a home where I paid the bills and lived in fear. As a parent the fear needs to be put in that child that you would not stand for disobedience from them. And, I do not mean by beating on them all the time. I feel that teaching a child to behave start at a very early age when they start doing things that you think is cute but in truth is not cute. If you get them right then and there and stay consistent with not letting them get away with doing wrong, by the time they are 12yrs old, you will not be having a crazy child running your house.

    Just think back to when you 35 and older people were growing up. All of this disrespect and crazy things the children of the US is doing was not thought of. And I do say the US because I have and still are living in other Countries. The children does not act the way children in the US do. They are taught to respect their parents and other adults.

    The parents in the US better stop letting the Government and Doctors put drugs in thier child’s system just to keep their behavior under control. You are doing more harm to their little bodies then good with them drugs. Stop being lazy parents and do what you suppose to do to raise your own child without mind altering measures.

  23. Miryam says:

    To Spank or Not to Spank? I can believe it’s actually a question.. Asking the question is answering it! I’m a big fan of Dr.Phil, and if you watch the shows, you’re probably aware of the campaign : End the silence on domestic violence. Well, I think that it’s not acceptable to spank your children, because spanking is a form of physical abuse. Let me explain my point of view. I think that spanking a child is hurting as much as hitting an adult. Children are more delicate than adult, they’re also more sensitive, and spanking your child may hurt them much more than you think. Also, if you constantly spank you child each time you’re angry, your child wil develope self-esteem problems and will be afraid of you.

  24. Brenda Lang says:

    I totally agree with you Dr. Phil. Spanking a child only stops an inappropriate behaviour for a short while. It does not teach the child how to behave when another incident comes up in the child’s everyday life.

    Discipline means “To Teach”, so get on it Parents. We don’t just sit back and let kids grow up without guidance. We need to teach them the “Hidden Cirriculum” behind Life-and this starts from the time of birth. We need to also instill a healthy self-concept that will enable the child to reach out and grow by taking in healthy/useful information that he/she can use at a later time.

    Its all about helping your child to become Internally Motivated. This means the child will start to grow based on how he has learned from his previous experiences of behaving appropriately.
    Did he feel very good about him/herself?
    Did people around express praise for the child’s efforts/accomplishments?
    Were there other re-inforcers/motivating factors?, etc,
    If Yes, then the child will undoubtably repeat the good behaviours.
    Thank-You for bringing Spanking to the Forefront Dr. Phil!
    Brenda Lang “Nanny to the Rescue”

  25. TealRose says:

    Dr Phil – I totally agree. Spanking a child is very wrong. Spanking/hitting/paddling/whipping/belting/birching/switching/caning is all abuse to an adult or animal – and sure as heck is to a child! They should have the same rights as everyone else.

    I am a Brit – and a 56 yr old grandmother. I was spanked by hand with a leather slipper as a child. From the first smack – my parents lost my trust, my love, and me. I learned anger, and hate, I learned that height equalled might and therefore if you were bigger and older you could do anything and get away with it. I learned that they didn’t love me. [After all, they just HIT me! - I never have understood the concept of spanking with love! It isn't possible in my book, and as a child I could never accept the 'its over and I love you' speech. I just felt totally let down by this hypocrite who had told ME not to hit!]

    The idea that it is ‘traditional’ and children have been spanked etc for thousands of years doesn’t hold water! Beating your wife, owning and beating a slave, and the systematic beating, raping and buggering of 7 yr olds in Ancient Rome, have all been long outlawed with good reason. So has assault on the person. Aren’t children persons ??

    The ‘running out into the road’ example is crazy too. Either your child is too young to know – in which case YOU as the parent are responsible for keeping them off the road, or if you have caught an older child doing this – they are probably all too aware already of the danger and the shock of a car bearing down on you has done enough teaching !! And a lot of parents say something like ‘ my toddler was just about to touch the flame on the hob so I smacked there hand’ ! Excuse me ? One, how was a toddler anywhere near a cooker/stove and how could they reach and … two Why not just remove them from the cooker ? !! This is your responsibility as an adult !

    To this day, I fell traumatised over being spanked and to most ‘pro spankers’ they would agree that I hadn’t been ‘abused’ [not MY definition as you will realise, I believe hitting a child just once is abuse!] yet I suffer flashbacks and when reading articles about little ones being ’spanked’ my pulse doubles, my breathing becomes laboured and my ‘flight, fight or freeze’ mechanism is firmly in place!

    Parents should teach with love and kindness not with terror. Love them and show them right from wrong.

    Dr Phil, I am so glad that someone else out there believes spanking to be wrong, I am so shocked and worried that in America, all States allow CP at home, and nearly half in the schools. How can you learn anything while sitting in fear at school?

  26. den Z says:

    I think that spanking is like many things – it is easily abused. I think it should be used as a final resort, a fallback when other methods fail. It should be the 800 pound gorilla in the corner – the possibility always there, but hopefully rarely used. It is not a means of teaching children – it is the ultimate time-out. The less it is used, probably the more effective. What it does is, judiciously used, clears the air and acts like a reset button. The teaching comes by other means later, and spanking should never be used as a substitute for that. I agree that spanking should not be in the white heat of anger (unless there is an immanent danger – i.e. a child that insists on running into a busy street), and that it best used (sparingly!) at a youger age than the teen years.

    I note that many of your readers who object to it either had it misused when they were children, or some may have misused it themselves (as younger parents). To say that it must never be used because it can be misused is like saying that alcoholism justifies prohibition. Clearly, some people should never touch the stuff, but some people can drink in moderation. The same is true for physical discipline.

    It is a healthy thing to have a divergence of opinions and a healthy debate. Unfortunately, some people want to end all debate by unilaterally declaring a moratorium on spanking. I hear the angst of the father who is afraid he will get in trouble for punishing his daughter. This situation amounts to one side forcing their values on the other. One might feel justified in so doing because it is for “the sake of the children”, but how do you know what is for my children’s sakes? You don’t even know my children, where does one get the infernal gall to believe that you are more concerned for my children’s wellbeing than I am? Who else is here “in the trenches” with me trying to raise them? Would all those who want to interfere in my parenting choices want me to foist my values on you? Hopefully some balance and reason can be restored to the debate. Not all discipline is abuse –get it!!

  27. kelly m. says:

    I wish i could click a “like” button on den Z.’s comment posted on 1/18/2011-i agree with u 100%!!!

    And since when did some of the people making these comments opinions become “most people’s” when in fact, they don’t really even know “most people” or their opinions? “Most people” that i know, DID get spankings as a child, and DO spank their children when needed now. I also fall in the “most people that i know” category. Whether or not to spank a child, is only and always hopefully will be, the decision of each individual parent. I spank my son, and that is how i choose to discipline him. I don’t care what other people think of me. They are not the one’s who have to answer to God one day about how i ran my household & raised my kid-I AM!!!

  28. Brandie says:

    I personally do not believe that spanking is a good way to parent. I have a 2 year old and use time out and it’s pretty effective. Before starting this method I did spank. The time that made me change my mind was when my little girl hit me and I spanked her and said “don’t hit”. Talk about mixed messages. Immediately afterwards I felt like a moron. Mind you, I am a college educated woman and shouldn’t act like a moron (well noone really should anyway). The moral of the story for me is to be an example to my daughter of what right and wrong are, when she does something wrong I explain to her that it’s not appropriate and give her a chance to correct her behavior. If she does the behavior again I give her a time out. She really hates the time out, and I feel bad for doing that to her also, but I feel much better about disciplining in a non-violent fashion and also feel that this teaches her to make better choices…even at 2 years old. She is a very bright girl and know’s the consequences for her actions. This is also because I take the time to explain to her the reason she is supposed to do some things and supposed to avoid others. I can even see her reasoning with herself at times during play about getting into things she’s not supposed to. One example of this is in the kitchen. There are cupboards that she is allowed to get into (tupperware, paper goods, and towels) and others that are “no” cupboards. She was playing in the kitchen one day unaware that I was watching and she walked to a “no” cupboard and put her hands up to open it. She then hesitated and walked over to a “yes” cupboard and told her self “good girl”. It makes me laugh that she did that because it’s kind of cute, but also makes me proud that even at 2 years old she is making good choices.

  29. Kathy says:

    I was spanked and beaten as a child over stupid things and things i did wrong, however, i made a pledge that my kids would not be beaten as i was. there is a line between beating and spanking for discipline reasons.
    1. never spank the child when you are angry, send them to their room or a corner
    2. 1 or 2 swats is enough.
    3. if the child is little, use the hand, not a belt
    4. older children, lay across lap and 1-2 swats not running them in circle and trying to hit them.

    we used discipline spanking, grounding, and discussing the situations with our kids and they have turned out great.
    old school beating with the belt is what is abuse.

  30. Nakisha says:

    I am not going to lie, I really don’t know if spanking your child works. I know I was spanked when I was younger. I am not a bad person but I can’t say that I was a better person for getting it. All that told me that I either need to be a better liar or I have to try everything I can to not get caught. Does that mean that spanking is bad, don’t know. I have three children of my own and I really don’t like the fact that someone including myself feel intitled to spank them. My oldest child is 10 and if you talk and explain what he did was wrong and why he has to be punished he usually has a better grip as to why he has to stand in the corner or stay in his room, or even just not go outside. My the two little ones doesn’t really understand a lot but between their grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, nana, pop pop, and dad screaming at them all the time I am the one just giving them a hug and trying to devert their attention to something else. I try to tell them that if you yell at them because you’re mad or upset with what they did, you taught them that it’s okay to yell at you when they are mad at you. Now I have pop them in the mouth a couple of times for getting smart with me, and now if they do it I just send them to a corner or have them stare at the wall until they can behave correctly. Once I hit them I found out that I am no better than my mother and one day my children are going to start lying to me just so they would get caught. I made a decision that I will no longer promote bad behavior. I spend more time with you when you are doing good thing than if you are doing bad thing. My oldest son figure that out early and I find that a relief. every onnce in a while my two youngest one want to “Act up” and I have to follow through with what I say even if that means that we have to leave the grocery store and I haven’t got all the things I need yet. it’s a pain in a half but hopefully it will be worth it in the end. I’m not exactly mom of the year but my children knows that I love them very much. I kow that it gets really stressful without their father around lately but I don’t want to be remembered as the mother that always yelled at them. I grew up with that kind of mother and even though I love her with all my heart I don’t really think she knew me as a child or an adult for that matter. I want to be the mom they would come to good or bad and let me help them grow as a person.I don’t want to believe that spanking your child is the answer, because it wasn’t for me. I really can’t answer if it works or not. I don’t like to see my kids cry, even if I’m the one who is making them cry. I’m just going to end it with I don’t know if it works, and I don’t know if it’s the answer. I just know that I don’t want to do it, but I also can’t get my children to behave well either.

  31. Nakisha says:

    I am not going to lie, I really don’t know if spanking your child works. I know I was spanked when I was younger. I am not a bad person but I can’t say that I was a better person for getting it. All that told me that I either need to be a better liar or I have to try everything I can to not get caught. Does that mean that spanking is bad, don’t know. I have three children of my own and I really don’t like the fact that someone including myself feel entitled to spank them. My oldest child is 10 and if you talk and explain what he did was wrong and why he has to be punished he usually has a better grip as to why he has to stand in the corner or stay in his room, or even just not go outside. My the two little ones doesn’t really understand a lot but between their grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, nana, pop pop, and dad screaming at them all the time I am the one just giving them a hug and trying to divert their attention to something else. I try to tell them that if you yell at them because you’re mad or upset with what they did, you taught them that it’s okay to yell at you when they are mad at you. Now I have pop them in the mouth a couple of times for getting smart with me, and now if they do it I just send them to a corner or have them stare at the wall until they can behave correctly. Once I hit them I found out that I am no better than my mother and one day my children are going to start lying to me just so they would get caught. I made a decision that I will no longer promote bad behavior. I spend more time with you when you are doing good thing than if you are doing bad thing. My oldest son figure that out early and I find that a relief. every once in a while my two youngest one want to “Act up” and I have to follow through with what I say even if that means that we have to leave the grocery store and I haven’t got all the things I need yet. it’s a pain in a half but hopefully it will be worth it in the end. I’m not exactly mom of the year but my children knows that I love them very much. I know that it gets really stressful without their father around lately but I don’t want to be remembered as the mother that always yelled at them. I grew up with that kind of mother and even though I love her with all my heart I don’t really think she knew me as a child or an adult for that matter. I want to be the mom they would come to good or bad and let me help them grow as a person. I don’t want to believe that spanking your child is the answer, because it wasn’t for me. I really can’t answer if it works or not. I don’t like to see my kids cry, even if I’m the one who is making them cry. I’m just going to end it with I don’t know if it works, and I don’t know if it’s the answer. I just know that I don’t want to do it, but I also can’t get my children to behave well either.

  32. Linda says:

    In response to spanking kids or not. I spanked my children when they were young, and I did not have screaming,yelling,running kids in a store or any place else.They got spanked when and where it was needed.I am not talking about BEATING a child, there is a diffrence.My mother raised 4 kids, and yes she spanked us. She traveled all over the USA and to Japan and Germany with us and she didn’t have problems with us.
    I believe that most of the problems with kids now days is the fact that there is little or no discipline.

  33. Adrianne says:

    I believe spankings are very much needed! Not BEATINGS, but SPANKINGS. For the longest time, I never spanked my son whatsoever, and he began to get away with A LOT. I tried everything those little “parenting pamphlets” & “discipline strategies” that were suggested to me.. With none of them working AT ALL. Even though I didn’t want to, I started to spank my son, and OH MY LORD it has worked a MIRACLE! Don’t get me wrong, those other techniques, like taking things away from your child, work and all.. But only with the authority and foundation of the spanking first. I was spanked when I was younger, but not as much as I needed. I honestly regret not getting spanked enough. I believe once you start setting boundaries, and securing them with spankings when they are crossed.. Everything falls into place and there is a BIG understanding established between the parent and the child. When you add spanking, you can still talk to your child and let them know and understand why they got spanked, how to change it next time, learn to respect your authority otherwise there will be consequences, and so on. Trust me, your child will still love you afterwards! The earlier you start.. The less problems you will have. I learned my lesson on NOT spanking.. I am telling you.. It is a MIRACLE with spanking.

  34. Adrianne says:

    BUT.. I do agree with den Z’s comment posted on 1/18/2011.

    I know that I am the one who has to tuck my son in bed at night, deal with him at the house, and take him everywhere that I go. So ultimately, If spanking makes MY child more responsible, disciplined, respectful.. Etc.. Then who are you to tell me I CAN’T spank him? We all know our own children best, and if we truely know what makes them not only better children, but better in life.. Then why not implement it? Spanking while angry.. Or punishing in unusual manners are a whole different story. I’m a sinlge mother, and I know my son best. & I have to end up answering to God about how I had my son’s life in my hands, and how I handled it. No one else, but ME.

  35. Christl Taylor says:

    I have raised 3 boys, all wonderful successful men. I was spanked very seldom, but knew I deserved it when it did happen.

    My theory is: Spank a “toddler” if he is hurting someone or doing something dangerous, after not listening. I think “reasoning” with a toddler is useless. Also, if kid is frustrated/angry a spanking will make him cry and release some of that pent-up emotion. Sending him for time-out, I think, will just make him more frustrated….toddler that is. I know when I cry I feel better afterwards.
    However, I think spanking after a certain age…maybe 6 and up is humiliating and very wrong. Then you can reason, take away privilidges, etc. Unfortunately the parents who abuse physical discipline have taken the power away from responsible parents. I think they will abuse no matter what society dictates and in the meantime we responsible parents lose the power.

    Why today are children more violent, bullies and even murderers? They are lost and angry because they have never had the discipline they deserved. My boys are well adjusted and happy. I am well adjusted and happy even though I received a few physical punishments in my childhood, very seldom…but deserved.

    Christl Taylor, Comox, British Columbia, Canada

  36. John Lee says:

    I say, by NO circumstances whatsoever, should spanking be allowed.

    You may be teaching the child(ren) a lesson — but the lesson you’re teaching them is that it’s OK to use violence to solve problems; and as we all know: THAT IS A FLAT-OUT LIE.

    I do, however, agree with the Time-Out method that is being used in homes and schools across the country; it’s a more non-violent approach.

  37. Linda says:

    You cannot rationalise with a toddle who is defiantly running onto a busy road. If a swift swat to the backside saves their lives then frankly, they can learn to live with the possible psychological damage it might cause – which is frankly rubbish. We have allowed children to hijack parents and society in believing their rights are more important than anyone elses. We stopped spanking in the hope it would prevent children from being abused – but abusinve parents seem to be growing in number, and along with them several new generation of children and yound people with NO respect for ANYONE, including the laws of democratic society. In my opinion, these kids have been abused in a far more disturbing way than a smack on the bottom for bad manners could ever cause. As parents, it is our primary job to prepare our children to succeed in the world- to know how and when to control their impulses in order to hold down jobs, maintain healthy relationships, make a meaningful contribution to society. We seem to have equated not spanking with not disciplining and children suffer limited, if any consequences to their actions. We as western societies are producing generations of kids who never learnt that there is a point beyond which, if you continue to push, someone will punish you or the car will leave the road and you will die.
    My children know the rules, they are reminded of them, informed of the consequences and followed through. A smack isn’t the 1st option – but it is part of a process of learning to respct others and ultimately themsleves and to learn that the world, sadly, does not revolve around their over-indulged egos. And Dr Phil – If I had been your parent when you were caught out swimming as a 12 yo – you would have got a 2nd whooping for defacing a national symbol onyour currency and not respecting the value of money. You’d have had to work really hard to prove that you indeed “got it” before you were allowed privilages again

  38. Lu Ann Miranda says:

    I don’t feel spanking is exceptable NO NO NO NO I was spanked as a child and no one should beat what are you teaching your children hit and things will be better no. I put my boys in time out and took things from them they are now 30 and 32 years old and they turned out just fine. Back when I was a child it didn’t matter to anyone to see a child with welts and belt marks on their legs.

  39. Stephanie says:

    I do not believe in spanking or any form of physical discipline at all!! I believe that by spanking or hitting your children you are not only causing them to be afraid of you you are also teaching them that physical abuse is perfectly normal and ok. I believe that in this day and age there are many other more positive ways to discipline our children then by ever having to lay a hand on them. I am a mother of a 6 year old daughter, 5 year old son and 4 year old daughter and sure they do things they shouldnt and they drive me nuts but I would never lay a hand on my children. I was raised by a mother who constantly spanked me or hit me with objects or threw things at me or hit me with her fists on almost a daily basis and I made myself a promise that when I became a mother I would NEVER lay a hand on my children because I could not bare to have my babies scared of me. I have raised my kids on my own and although they have pushed me to my limits regularly I can proudly say I have never touched them to harm them and I have 3 very well behaved children who appreciate and understand my love for them and who never cower in the corner when I raise my hand because they know unless its a hug or kiss that hand will never touch them. Thats what’s wrong with the world today and thats why there are more and more cases of children being killed by their parents because people still believe spanking is okay and sometimes spanking turns to something more traumatic and then theres nothing anyone can do because its too late.

  40. Rebecca Golightly says:

    No, I don’t believe in spanking… I “raised” hundreds of Preschoolers in my career. Give Choices. Pray for mistakes. Met failure with of empathy and consequences. Act as a consultant. Pray that they do it again. Let the /mistakes and consequences do the teaching.
    Spanking teaches children nothing except to be afraid of making mistakes.

  41. Etta Bredeson says:

    There is nothing wrong with a good old fashion spanking !!!! I was spanked (NOT BEAT) as a child and it did kill me !!! If anything it made me a stronger person and I dang sure learned not to repeat my mistakes !!!!! I wasn’t spanked because my parents were angry at me ..I was spanked because I did something that I knew that I shouldn’t be doing !! There is a difference in the 2 and they are at different ends of the spectrum…When My parents were angry the yelled not (beat) Me and that’s where there is a difference.
    Spanking doesn’t mean that you Beat your Child and I think that is where some people get confused and where some people don’t know the difference and go too far…..

  42. Etta Bredeson says:

    P.S. in reguards to my statement ….I am correcting my spelling… I meant to say SPANKING didn’t kill me and I spanked my 2 wonderful boys when they were little and it didn’t KILL them either and they have grown up into very loving, caring people !! of this crazy messed up world and I COULDN’T Be more PROUD of the Men that they have become……

  43. Kate says:

    Hitting anyone is assault. There are laws against putting a hand on adults and it should be the same for children. It is to easy for a parent to get out of control and cross the line into a beating. I was whipped as a child, my dad called it ’spanking’. And when my brother and I got ‘too old’ for spanking he used his fists. We weren’t bad kids…we got stuck with piss-poor parents. Oddly, I never had cause to spank either of my children or yell for that matter. imho the majority of people who are parents today do not deserve to be parents if a child is a problem the parents are the cause.

  44. Tania says:

    I believe that parents use spanking as a way of trying to control their children. Children are not to be controled but guided into adulthood. Why do we as a whole try to control anything? Do we ever control anything?
    The only differences that I see between a spanking and a slap across the face would be that one of them ends at one where the other doesn’t usually and the other can be hidden from view. There is no good there…

  45. Tim Barry says:

    To spank or not to spank?My oldest son got one light slap on the rear-end once.My younger son,never.We were put in a childrens home and left.My mother remarried and we moved in with “Him”.He was a non-drinking,hard working,Child abusing man.He Slapped the tar out of us,kneeled in corners for hours.We were grounded for everything kids do.One year i spent six months grounded.I was grounded on my birthday,we had cake and i went back to my room.grounded meant-you lay on your bed,no book,toys-NOTHING.If you were caught with something it was smashed in front of you.One Christmas our Tree was thrown out the front door before x-mas am.YOU open you stuff RIGHT NOW was christmas that year.He would stand there scream,holler and work himself in a frenzy and then the slaps start.You are stupid aren’t you..I asked you a question-Yes I’m stupid.Then you deserve this SLAP!@%$.My out was a full time job at 13 yo.You can go to work-But thats it.It was enough.I have work hard my whole life.This all started with “JUST A SLAP”.At seventeen I stood up for myself,got in a fistfight and booted out of the house.I am the lucky one in my family.I am the only one out of five boys in this family to graduate high school.AND YOU SAY IT’S JUST A SLAP????

  46. Dre Worrell says:

    Being a single mother of 3 children I believe in spanking. Their is nothing anyone can tell me other wise. You may ask why, well here’s why. The bible says spare the rod spoil the child. Understand that I am not using that as a crutch, but here is what I’m saying. I have seen to many situations where a parent doesn’t discipline there children and their children are out of control, falling out and having temper tantrums. That is completely UNACCEPTABLE. My children know that if they pull a stunt like that especially in public they will get a spanking in the same place where they had their tantrum.

    It’s not being abusive it’s just setting the tone of getting and receiving RESPECT. My children know that when I give them a certain look they had better get their acts together and god forbid if I get a nasty attitude OMG!!!!!!!! that drives me insane. Unless you have lived in my shoes you cannot tell me anything about How I should reprimand my children. If you feel like you have something to say to me then you need to come and pay my bills then you will have the right to tell me how to raise my children. They are not dying when they get spanked but they do understand when you do something wrong then depending on the situation and how severe it is you will get punished.

  47. My parents had 10 of us. I got spanked when I could have hurt myself, or someone else. I don’t remember the pain of physical punishment, but I remember feeling bad about what I did. When my son was little, I had to spank him every once in a while. But on the flipside, I read in a book to squeeze the bad out of them ( not so much that I hurt him). Then I would say ” Is the bad all gone? If he said “yes”, I would let him go. If he said “NO” I would hug him some more. Some times he just wanted attention.(positive attention) He just graduated college and he has always been respectable of people in charge. I believe a certain amount of fear goes along with respect. I am know raising my step-daughter’s 5 year old. Sometimes I have to get up and spank or put her in her room ( 1 minute per age) and set the timer. These days, children do not have enough respect because their aren’t any consequences to their actions.

  48. Yvonne says:

    To me this shouldn’t even be an issue. I’m from Norway, I love watching Dr.Phil, but I’m surprised that this seems to be a topic one should discuss for and against. It’s illegal over here, and you’re looked down on if you were to do so. I remember when I went on holiday in Scotland this year and some woman just started spanking her child infront of me. I was so astonished I just froze, it was unrealistic and bizarre. I regret I didn’t say something, but I felt so unreal to me, we just don’t do such a thing were I come from. Or, people might when no one can see you I guess, but it’s not from publically accepted. In my mind (and society) violence is unnecessary and wrong.

    Yvonne

  49. Jackie says:

    Addressing the comment Dre above made about sparing the rod and spoiling the child….That in no way was meant to beat or spank your children. A sheppard’s rod or staff was his way of guiding his sheep and keeping them safe. The crook end was to pull them from danger. Parents spoil their children when they do not take the time to guide them. Spanking is a quick fix for lack of knowing anything better to do. It is too bad parenting classes are not required before you are able to have children. A bigger person inflicting pain on a small child does not equal love or approval or a safe place for a child to fall. It should be illegal to hit or spank children, hit women or inflict pain on animals. It is barbaric to do so.

  50. Ra says:

    I have 3 sisters and four brothers and only one of us has ever been spanked. One of my brothers was a very active boy and got in trouble lots. My father would take him down cellar pad his bottom with funny books and tell him to yell very loud so my mother would think he was getting a spanking. My parents were not spanked when they were growing up. All of my sisters, brothers and myself turned out very well and didn’t spank or scream at our kids. We were not afraid of our parents in fact we use to sit around the living room and my mother would read to us (before TV). We would go skating on a pond near us. We swam in the same pond in summer. We went outside and played in summer and winter. We all loved and respected our mother and father very much. What are parents that hit and yell at there children teaching them. Yes spanking is hitting. Also would you like someone in your faceto be yelled at all the time? There are other way to discipline kids and don’t wait until your so mad as you may really hurt them. You can be a friend to your kids as well as a parent. Do things with them, have fun. I realize kids can be very trying, as I have one son and we had our times but I never hit/spanked or screamed at him. He now has kids of his own and he never spanks or yells at them. Be nice to your kids, laugh with them and have fun with them. Make your home a happy place where your kids like to be and be able to bring friends. Don’t make it so your kids are afraid of you or afraid to come home. You can teach kids manners, respect, and how to succeed in our world without hitting/spanking or screaming at them. As a parent, be a good role model for them. They learn from watching and listening to you!!

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