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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. Lena says:

    I can’t understand people that use spanking to discipline there children. It can come from that it is against the law here in Sweden since before I was born. And you do not hear that much about people doing wrong things here.
    And I can not say that I have been disrespected against my parents. And those children that they hit over and over again because they seem not to get their punishment because they do it over and over again maybe has something like my son has. My son has ADHD+DCD, Atypical Autism and also hearing loss, uneven talent profile and language disorders. Some days I really would like to hit him so he could understand that what he does is wrong. But when I have calmed down I remember why I should not do that. He can’t help it. How many children has had something like my son and never found out it because their parents are doing what they have learned them self from their parents.
    And also I think about what made the spanking forbidden in Sweden. You do not know how hard you hit. A small child do not have the body that an adult has. You can spank your children to death…. Think about that before you start slapping them around.

  2. yellowroze says:

    My parents spanked me as a child. They didn’t hit me everyday or abuse me. When I did something that was really bad, I got spanked. I learned that my actions have consequences.

    Now that I have a daughter (she’s now 7), I have given her spankings. I have even gotten the wooden spoon to her butt when she absolutely refused to do something. Did I beat her? No. I gave her a swat or two and made her go to her room for quiet time. Then I would wait a few minutes and go talk to her about why I did what I did.

    I love my parents and I know they love me. I love my daughter and I know she loves me. She knows there are consequences. I don’t see a problem with that.

  3. Susanne says:

    I was never spanked as a child, and even though I did a lot of bad things, I grew up to be a succesfull young woman. They disiplined me when I did wrong, and that was enough to make me think twice before ever doing it again! Spanking little children is not what I call good parenting. You can solve the issue using other methods. Spanking (hitting,slapping ect) is fysical VIOLENCE! I know my children will never have to experience spanking or any other kind of fysical punishment. It`s all about how you as a parent handle the situation. It doesen`t have to go as far as spanking. Your child needs to understand verbally that what he/she did was wrong. I guess many of you don`t agree in my opinion, but still – this is what I mean, and spanking for me will always be a act of violence.

  4. Carlo Bradley says:

    I disagree with that. IF you do not punish your child when they do something wrong then they will grow up thinking that they can do anything they want and not get punished for it. And before you say something about putting them in a corner or taking something from they to do it that don’t always work. Don’t get me wrong i don’t condone beating a child, but if they are not punished for doing something then they will just go wild.

  5. Heather says:

    Hitting of any kind is abuse in my book, no matter the reason, and I have certainly made plenty of calls to CPS. Parents who use spanking are simply bad parents, and I have no problem saying so to strangers in the store or on the street corner who are too wrapped up in themselves to take into account their children’s needs/wants. Spanking is just the easy way out for “parents” who are too lazy to employ effective, non-abusive forms of discipline. By spanking, there is now time commitments required for time-outs or actually talking to their kids about why what they are doing is wrong and taking the time to figure out why they are doing it in the first place. I have never laid a hand on any kid, or even raised my voice except for one instance that I am still not proud of- my child saw a cat outside and tried to follow it- into the road. I yelled because I was scared for him, not because he had done anything wrong. I was mostly upset that I was so busy in my garden that I hadn’t noticed how far he had gone.

    I think that in theory, spanking could maybe work but it is always done when parents are emotionally involved and too invested in the moment to realize when they go to far AND half the time the punishment is irrelevant to the “crime” to begin with. I would never even attempt to punish my child for having an accident during potty training but a family that a friend of mine knows, have a 4 year old (he will be 4 at the end of the month) who has just in the last couple of days started going pee in the toilet. My friend was there tonight having dinner with them and the little boy had an accident on the floor. The mom started screaming at him that the next time he peed on the floor she was going to smack his butt. Really? First of all your kid is 4 and not potty trained to begin with but now that he’s starting to catch on you want to hit him? It just makes no sense.

    When I watched this show I actually got physically sick when the dad admitted to grabbing her by the throat and pinning her against the wall and all I could think of was when the dad said CPS had been involved for a while… WHY THE HELL IS THAT POOR GIRL STILL WITH THEM? She should be in a safe home and they should be in PRISON, especially the mom. I am not a religious by any means but I truly believe that there is a special place in hell for people who abuse their kids but there is a super special place in hell for parents who stand by and watch while other people beat their kids and do nothing about it. To me, a parent who allows their child to be abused is 100x worse than the actual abuser. I don’t care how much you may love your significant other, the moment they touch your kids IT’S OVER!! MY brother’s girlfriend had a mom who should have been strung up in the desert to die IMO. She was a single mom until my brother’s girlfriend was 8, then she got married and they had 2 more kids. Her step-dad used to beat the crap out of them and her mom did nothing at all except kick her own daughter out to stay with her abusive piece of crap new husband. Karma I guess cus she died a couple of years ago from cancer.

  6. Sheila says:

    I want my children to know right from wrong. I want my children to become adults and an asset to society. If children can go to daycare, school, church, babysitters – and they are disciplined with spanking then there is no reason a parent HAS to spank a child either. As adults we are not spanked at work, or in a judical setting so there again there is no reason for a parent to spank a child. We as adults and in the age we live in children aswell CAN NOT and ARE NOT allowed to hit others, so we should not teach them this is in any way shape or form acceptable because it’s not. I personally do not wish a bruised knee for them let alone physical pain caused by me. That is not why I had children.

  7. Janice Hall says:

    I do not believe in physical punishment although I was hit as a young girl. Try reasoning with your children you will find it works most of the time. I have two wonderful sons who have never given me any problems. I am truly blessed. I do not believe in shouting and screaming at your children doesn’t solves nothing.If you except your child to respect you then you should respect your child. Volume doesn’t increase understanding.
    Dr. Phil.com – Advice – To Spank or Not to Spank?

  8. Tonya says:

    Too many people are not distinguishing spankings from child abuse, and yes, there is a big difference. Parents who spank their children are not bad parents. Parents who ABUSE their children are bad parents. And on the other hand, parents who allow their children to dictate the home and grow up believing the only reason the world exists is to make them happy, are bad parents.

    Spanking is not laziness. Spanking is teaching children consequences for their actions. If you want to know the definition of true lazy parenting, here it is: Laziness is never giving your children a reason to misbehave! If you always give your children exactly what they want, when they want it, of course they will never have a temper tantrum. Then you get to run around bragging about how you are “parent of the year” because your children never give you any problems. If every parent in the world gave their children whatever they wanted and allowed them to behave how they wanted, nobody would have problems with their children. But is this proper parenting? Absolutely not.

    My husband has worked in law enforcement for many years, and has seen the pattern of bad parenting time and time again. Believe me, if their are bad parents out there, my husband will find the products of that bad parenting, because he and his colleagues are the ones who usually end up dealing with them after that. My husband can always tell you, from grade school, which kids he will end up dealing with later, and it is amazing how accurate his predictions are. Guess which kids they are? Not the ones who were spanked, but the ones who were never disciplined. I don’t want to be unfair in any statement I make, so I would like to add this: You will always have children who had good parents and had proper discipine growing up, getting in trouble with the law, but it is by far, much more rare. You will also have children who were never disciplined and grew up thinking the world was theirs for the taking, who never got in trouble with the law. But again, those cases are very rare, as well.

    Some people believe spanking children causes them to have violent tendencies. This is absolutely untrue. In fact, I have actually seen more violence, by far, in those who were NOT spanked and not disciplined growing up. I believe the reason why is because from the time they have been able to walk, they have gotten whatever they wanted. The mind-set of “if I want it, I get it” has been instilled in them from the very beginning. As they grow, they encounter more people in the real world who do NOT give into their every whim, and they lash out in violence. As they grow into teenagers and young adults, the violence seems to get much worse, and unfortunately later in life, those at the receiving end of their violent temper tantrums are their spouses, and . . . you guessed it, their children.

    I know many people who do not believe in spanking children. They have the right to their opinions, and I respect their rights, but coincidentally, those who preach the loudest are those who have never been parents themselves, and were never spanked as children themselves. I just love to hear them say “I don’t believe in spanking children. I wasn’t spanked, and I turned out good.” I hate to burst their arrogant, egotistical bubbles, but NO THEY DID NOT! They are not pleasant people to be around. They grew up to be spoiled rotten, selfish adults who believe the only reason the rest of the human race exists is to serve them and see to it they are happy. They complain about their bosses, everybody else who has authority over them. “Can you believe my boss, he told me I needed to quit taking so many breaks!” “How dare my boss tell me I need to reduce the number of personal phone calls I have through the day!” “I can’t believe the dress code at work, that’s just stupid! I shouldn’t have to wear that to work!” They grew up getting their way about everything else, and unfortunately, they carry their nasty attitudes with them into the world, and make the rest of us miserable. Now let me ask this: Is the kind of people that should be raising children? I hope not, we have too much of this in the world as it is. There are already too many parents who put themselves above and beyond everything else, INCLUDING their children.

    Children have to be taught that their are consequences for their behavior. I am not talking about “hitting” children, as so many people have enjoyed using that term, which absolutely does not apply. People who abuse their children “hit” them. People who spank their children, “spank” them. “Hitting” is lashing out in anger. When you “hit”, you don’t care what part of the body you strike. When you spank, you are giving a swat across the bottom to teach your children, not right from wrong, but consequences for their actions. You teach them right from wrong by sitting and talking with them. The spanking comes in when they have made a choice, a choice that the child KNEW to be the wrong choice, and have directly and deliberately disobeyed their parents. This teaches children to “think before they act.” If they grow up in the mind-set of thinking about something before they act or speak out, they grow into well-behaved, respectful, thoughtful adults. Children who grow up with no consequences for their bad behavior only have respect for one person, and that is themselves. Then they become angry if the rest of the world doesn’t dish out this unearned “respect” they think they are entitled to.

    I love my children with all my heart. They are my world. I would give my life for them in a heartbeat. We are all very, very close. I don’t enjoy having to discipline them, be it with a spanking or other means, as I ALWAYS use spanking, only as a last resort, when all else has failed, but I do what I know is best for my children, not what makes me feel good. It’s not about me feeling good. It’s about my responsibility to my children. While I will always be a friend to my children, that is not my first and foremost job. They have plenty of friends, but they only have two parents. We have one shot at raising our children. Once they are out of the house, it’s over. I want to do it right for THEIR sakes. It’s our job to shape and mold them, not be their best friends. I remember growing up, thinking my mother was the most mean, hateful woman in the world. When she said, “No, you are not going”, I would get so mad and argue with her, and say horrible things to her, which eventually ended up with me getting spanked and sent to my room. Now that I am grown and have my own children, and now that I look back and see that many of the people she would not let me go with, the ones who’s mothers said they could go, are dead or in jail now, I thank my mother for doing what was best for ME, not what was easiest for her. It would have been easier for her to say, “Yes you can go” just to shut me up, but she didn’t because she loved me. Today, me and my mother have a very close friendship, a friendship that at sixteen years old, I would have never thought we could have. But then I realized, she was my friend all along, because doesn’t a true friend always do what’s right by you, not what makes you feel good?

  9. Carla says:

    I have been reading Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp. It gives great insight on spanking. You are right Dr. Phil that most people do not know how to properly spank a child. When a child is selfish or lies his behavior is against God. A child needs to feel remorse and repentance about what they have done. A spanking is not when we get mad or impatient it is for correction. It needs to be done calmly and with plenty of love and discussion before and after. If we start early, most children will learn proper behavior at a young age and not need spankings later is life when withholding privileges works better. Many times depending on the child, a good talk and prayer may be all you need. You say you are a Christian but why would you ignore Biblical principles on discipline? No matter our education the Bible has always been correct. In times with less spanking it seems as our kids are worse than ever. If we could get through to parents to intervene at early ages 9 mon. to 1 yr. old how much better would life be for them and our society. God Bless.

  10. Heather says:

    You show my a person who smacks an infant and I will show you a cop arresting them in a heartbeat. That is ridiculous. Religion is part of the problem. People are so stupid that they can’t even tell fiction from reality. Saying that a book totally full of fiction is responsible for you hitting your kids is just plain insanity. If you can’t raise your kids without the help of a completely made-up book then you don’t deserve kids and you do deserve some time in a padded room.

  11. Lisa says:

    That is absolutely ludicrous that someone would say that God approves of spanking because it’s in the bible. Spanking is a result of years and years of anxious, tired, and frustrated parents without other tools. Not only does spanking send mixed messages, it’s just not effective. If your children have not vividly shown negative signs from spanking, you are just lucky, not a good parent. No being, child, adult, animal, etc. should be hit, spanked, punched, kicked, or anything else containing any violence. In my opinion it goes against us as beings and it goes against what we are made of. The God I believe in is a loving God, not a violent one. Like Dr Phil, I have a story of being hit by my mother unfairly…I was about 16 and was at a friend’s house (a new teen mom), my stepparents lived next door and immediately told my mom I was there and that it was probably a “drug” house. I got a call from my mom asking me to come home (those days there were no cell phones, so she got this girls number and called me there). I told my best friend to come home with me because I had a feeling my mom was mad. We walked in to the house and my mom grabbed me by my clothes and started throwing me all over the room, on the chair, on the couch, the whole time telling me not to ever go to a place like that, and I must be on drugs…etc…my stepfather had to eventually tell her to stop hitting me. I felt so betrayed that my own mother didn’t even ask me what I was doing there (I was there to see the baby), and instead assumed that I must be doing drugs and that must be the reason why I was there. I later married an abusive man and he was only physical with our three children once or twice, but they remember those times very well. My 17 yr old recalls a time in the bath tub that his dad slapped him across the face and when I asked my son what he did wrong, he couldn’t even remember? Effective? Not if he can’t even remember what he did wrong?!! Spanking is for the adult’s satisfaction, not for the child’s. I have six children and have never spanked any of them. The reason that kids are running rampant these days acting spoiled and inconsiderate is because parents are working, stressed out, and don’t know how to communicate with their children. They are tired, get angry, and spank. The child walks away feeling alone and betrayed by the ones that should have protected them the most.

  12. Carla says:

    Apparently some did not read my entry carefully. Giving a child a correct spanking is not the same as throwing a teenager around the room. I am a good mother and spanking is a rare occurrence but necessary at times, if done properly. The Bible is not made up by the way. How could a book written over a span of 3,000 years be not only historically correct but also make hundreds of predictions over a hundreds or a thousand years that come to pass? People have been working hard for years. Many mothers and fathers were in the fields sunup to sundown 6 days a week. Many mothers died during childbirth and large families stayed together and their children obeyed authority and honored their parents and added to our society and they were taken behind the woodshed for their spankings when needed. Wake up and realize that our families, schools and the world needs to get back to the basic principles of the Bible. God Bless. Carla.

  13. Mary says:

    I think the biggest mistake in the spanking debate is implying that it makes sense as a tool for all parents. Since Dr. Phil had a negative experience, he obviously disagrees with it. He’s entitled to use and encourage other methods. But to make blanket statements that spanking is hitting, violent, doesn’t work, and confusing to children etc. etc. is to deny that it can be done right and does work. There are millions like me who have positive experiences with spanking. All seven of my children are well adjusted, productive, happy, glad-that-I-spanked-and-love-me-to pieces. We are entitled to use spanking without being accused of violence. A spanking done right is not hitting. Done wrong, it is abusive. I wish Dr. Phil and others could just say that, “A spanking done wrong is abusive.” Parents feel enough guilt without having to feel bad for using a tool that works when it is done right.

  14. RL says:

    I think that spanking affects different kids in different ways. I am a Christian, but while “spare the rod, spoil the child” is in the Bible, I’m not sure that it always means to “hit” the child. I think that it may mean to always discipline in some manner after wrongdoings, but not necessarily violence all of the time. My sister and I were spanked as children and while my sister won’t admit that it affected her, it very well has. However, my sister wasn’t spanked quite as often because after a few spankings, she learned to lie. She became so great at it; whenever she was in trouble for doing something wrong, she would simply lie about it in a very believable manner. Thus, she wasn’t spanked very often because everyone thought that she was the “good” kid. Yet, now that she is an adult, she still has a very bad habit of lying whenever she thinks that she is in trouble. She even lied about a legal matter and almost went to jail!

    On the other hand, the spankings affected me on the emotional level. I was spanked more often than my sister because I didn’t lie much. I usually admitted to my mistakes. However, I received some of the spankings that my sister was supposed to get because she would lie and say that I did the misdeed. I was often spanked for silly reasons as well, such as getting crayon on my hands while coloring (as a toddler), etc. These would be lengthy bare-bottom spankings in front of whichever family member was around during the “misdeed”. Because I had asthma, I would end up gasping for air after the spankings, however, I would be told to “be quiet” or else I would “get some more”. If I turned pale from gasping for air after a spanking, I would be told that I must be “about to die and go to Hell.”

    In addition, now, as a young adult, I am often told not to speak about the spankings. If I do so anyway, I am called a “liar” and they try to make me say that the “spankings never happened”.

    By the way, for those who do decide to spank, spanking after the child has entered puberty is WRONG. I remember that I was in puberty and still having to endure bare-bottom spankings in front of the family. Although quite different, this almost has the same impact as sexual abuse because the child is nearly naked in front of the entire family… Please, consider your kids – don’t do it…

  15. RL says:

    Additionally, I always heard that parents should not “spank in anger”. However, I recall many times that I didn’t even know that I had “misbehaved” and suddenly, my mother looked at me as if her eyes were about to bulge out of her head and snatched me and spanked me. I once had an asthma attack afterward and passed out only to awaken to her cold eyes staring at me as if I had done something wrong.

    My parents have done other things to me as well, such as calling me fat, snatching off my shirt (I’m a girl) before the neighbors came over because it was too “dirty” but not giving me another shirt to put on… I wasn’t at puberty yet, but six years old is still too old to have to sit in front of the neighbors while wearing no shirt! I am still extremely embarrassed to this day and I even have trouble pulling off my shirt in front of the doctors…

    Yet, I am not allowed to speak about any of these things or ask why… I am always called a liar…

  16. Arleen Vinson says:

    Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of corretion shall drive it far from him (Proverbs 22:15). Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die (Proverbs 23:13). Tho shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell (Proverbs 23:14). He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (disciplines him diligently) (Proverbs 13:24). First of all I wanted to give you scriptures from the bible on what is written from God, because it doesn’t matter what I say or anyone else say it’s what God said, that matter. There is nothing wrong with spanking a child. I spanked my child when he needed it only about 5 times in his childhood. As a people we need to do what God says to do. “But let your communication be, yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil ” (Matthew 5:37). We need to be consistent in what we say and do with a child or anyone. If we as a parent not right in the way we are living rather we be addictive to drugs, alcohol or in need of some type of counseling for anger or any struggles we may be going through, we cannot be the parent God instructed us to be. That’s why so many children have died or abused in the hands of parents who are going through life with issues or too young to be a parent themselves. It’s like taking everything out on the child, because of the parent themselves being out of controlled. We need to look at more what God would have us to do, than what man would have us to do and the world would be in better shape than it is. There is more I could say and scriptures I could give but hopefully this is helpful to those who may understand why I believe there is nothing wrong with spanking.

  17. MD says:

    I was spanked as a child and I did not end up feeling abused unloved or take away any negative lessons. I learned instead that I must honor and respect my parents, my actions have consequences not only to myself but to other people. But the huge catch on this is there is a responsible adult manner in which to administer punishment. My parents always decided whether a spanking was in order after they had a time for their anger to cool, never more than 5 swats, never bare-bottom or other unnecessary humiliation and always the punishment fit the crime and it was explained very clearly beforehand why they felt I needed a punishment. Spanking when not administered in a meaningful way will not get the intended lesson across any more than any other improperly administered punishment.

  18. Toni Hornbaker says:

    I have a family member who not only spanks his childern (age’s 10 & 14) the oldest boy is starting high school this yr..he (father) also pulls down their pants to do so! This is abuse and I feel it boarders on pervetedness! Their parents share 50/50 custody right now (I hope for not much longer).. He was told by cps a year ago to stop pulling down their pant’s and yet he still does it and gets away with it like everything else he does… He (father ) is and always has been a bully and loves to control everything and everyone in his life. I know what he is! I won’t come out and say it but I’m sure of it now. He continues to do these things and gets away with it. The childern are scared to death of him as he rules with fear!..

  19. Mary McCall says:

    Spanking is physical abuse. I would take that poor Russian boy in a heartbeat. No one deserves being abused like that. As for spanking in general, it’s abuse. I never spanked my own children, and they grew up to be fine people and good citizens. Love is mutual and wonderful.

  20. Mary McCall says:

    Spanking is physical abuse. I would take that poor Russian boy in a heartbeat. No one deserves being abused like that. As for spanking in general, it’s abuse. I never spanked my own children, and they grew up to be fine people and good citizens. Love is mutual and wonderful.

    Chances are that a 7 ear old child doesn’t fully understand what lying means. Children aren’t aware of the different subtleties of language until they are at least 8 or 9 years old.

    I’m appalled at the situations these poor children are put into.

  21. Mary McCall says:

    I would take those Russian children into my life in a heartbeat. I was never abused, and neither were my children (except possibly by their father, who has been out of my life since 1983). We all grew up to be normal, functional adults, and my grandchildren are the same.

  22. Mary McCall says:

    I was never abused, and neither were my children (except possibly by their father, who has been out of our lives since 1983). We all grew up to be normal, functional adults, and my grandchildren are the same.

  23. Joe says:

    I believe that spanking is a form of abuse. People that say “I was spanked as a child and I turned out fine” are putting that the end justify the means. I’m sure as a child you weren’t ok with the abuse. Kids deserve more respect than that and do deserve discipline, but not abuse. It’s not ok for someone to put there hands on someone else, and I don’t believe children should be any different.

  24. hope says:

    you know I have thought about this subject many times over the past 9 years of being a mother and , I’ve come to the conclusion that NOT all kids need to be spanked , and NOT all parents need to spank their kids.. I have three kids and all three of them are different in every way.. My middle child reacts better to lectures and a firm voice , my youngest is strong willed and needs to be put in time out ALOT.. or have her things taken away, but my oldest has become resistant to the other forms of discipline and therefore a pop on the rear is what works best for him.. also , I ALWAYS calm down before ANY type of discipline , i never allow things to get out of hand, because i do treasure my children , but I have known of a few mothers that ought not have children , much less spank them , as they do not have the patience or control to just POP the rear end , i have met a few that actually have gone too far in my eyes and it makes me so mad to know that someone could start a spanking and end up really hurting their child.. if you intend on hurting your child , then you are DEFINATELY wrong!!… spanking in my home is NOT meant to hurt my kids but to show them the error of their ways , sometimes I even ask their opinion on what form of discipline I should use , weigh the pros and cons and then dicide.. beating a child is un-forgivable , but for those of you who never have to spank , good for you , I absolutely cannot stand to have to spank , but if it is what will make my child a better person in adulthood , then I will do that. God saw fit to allow me to be the one to raise my children into good people , and soemtimes a good pop on the rear will work for SOME kids better than for others , but to whoever said that kids that never get spanked are rotten , selfish , people who expect people to hand them everything and that they don’t have to do anything they don’t want to … I AGREE!!. I’ve met some people who have never been spanked , and even thought they were adults , I still wanted to spank their behinds to show them , that how they are behaving as an adult is rediculous.. to spank ot not to spank , well personally I think it is all realtive.

  25. Sasha says:

    As a child, I was not spanked frequently. I actually really respect the way it was always handled. There were always certain conditions that had to be met before spanking was considered. I had a habit of lying, so a relatively half-assed spanking was given because lying was my father’s one no-tolerance hot-button, but usually that was just met with being yelled at and lectured. The only time I really got spanked was when I was doing something that was hazardous to my health, like climbing on the stove to get something from a cupboard or sticking something in an outlet or something. My parents figured the short-term pain was a good deterrent that would prevent the behavior and also keep me from long-term, serious injury. When I was spanked, it was never on my bare behind, I always had underpants on as a buffer of sorts, and I wasn’t spanked for very long–usually no more than 3 strikes. Also, it was always preceded with an explanation of why I was getting spanked, and after, my parents made sure I knew that hitting wasn’t ok and that they loved me. After the fact they would give me some space, and always made sure to assure me at bedtime or later or whatever that they loved me, and checked in on if I understood why I got spanked. Also, spanking was no longer an option once I got in school. When I was old enough to go to Kindergarten, I was old enough to be punished in other ways (grounding, etc), and as a result I don’t really remember getting spanked at all.

  26. Gail says:

    I was never spanked as a child. My mother showed me right from wrong and spoke to me with love all the time + rewards when I did good and that was my discipline. In the 50’s/60’s My father occasionally said to me and my sister “straighten up and fly right, or I will give you the backhand”. Believe me, he never had to and never did. I see these parents spoiling and coddling and making monsters of their children and it sickens me. Unless the child is a mental case, I DO blame the parents. It is as simple as dog training 101. My 8 yr. old dog has more manners and respect for me and others than most children do nowadays. It is really very simple to train your kids to be kind, considerate of others and loving, and not demanding spoiled BRATS who think the world revolves around THEM!

  27. Adam says:

    Hi Dr. Phil. I take issue with your “not to spank” stance. Though it does not surprise me. The problem is the infiltration of Communism in today’s America. The cold war is over in politics but it may be that it’s not spoken of because we lost the cold war. Based on “The Naked Communist” book from 1963, one of their goals was to take control of the psychiatric profession. Another was “Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.” Now by no means am I accusing you of being a Communist or even espousing Communist goals. But as you know studies can be set up to read in the way that the person doing the study wants it to. Now, what I believe is that these studies by the main stream psych field is skewed toward taking away control of the children from the parents and awarding it to the state. Claiming abuse is a good way to make that happen.

    I do give you credit for allowing parents to decide for themselves. Here’s what I have learned…..

    I was spanked as a child. I was not spanked often. At times I thought my dad might have spanked me a little to hard but I was always aware that it was not out of anger, rather he did not compensate well for his strength. The times I got spanked, once was because he told me several times to turn the t.v. I responded with a resounding no. Second time he told me I told him I was watching whatever and that I wanted to wait til it went off. He did not humor me. Again, he told me to turn the station. Finally, in a fit I told him “if he wanted it turned to turn it himself!”. That was the straw that broke the Adam’s butt. lol A few more times but those are less memorable. Lying. Putting myself in danger. Disrespecting someone or someone else’s property. That sort of thing.

    I had no lasting effects of the corporal punishment I received. I’m a well adjusted, 37 year old who is happy, healthy, gentle person. I respect those around me and I have learned very well that my actions has consequences.

    Early on I attribute it to “negative association”. I don’t know if that is a psych term or not. I’m not a psychologist. But in explanation I came to associate not following the rules of the house with a stinging sensation on by posterior. :) I came to associate stubbornness (in a bad way) with a stinging sensation on my posterior. I came to associate lying with a stinging posterior. That stinging posterior was not a pleasant memory. And it ingrained in me a caution to tread on the rules that my parents set in place in order to prepare me for the rules as an adult. I came to learn that indeed I was NOT the final authority on all matters and that it was necessary to be submissive to the proper authorities.

    As I said, I didn’t always get a spanking. There were other types of punishment, but the spankings left a little more indelible mark if you would than the less severe forms.

    Now, that was me. I think spanking should be decided on by both parents in a case by case basis. All children are different. Some are pleasers. Pleasers do not need a lot of spankings. The long to please you. There are the hard heads. They want to please but they are still going to do their own thing and sometimes cross you. These you may have to take a switch to a bit more to get certain points across. Lastly you have the strong willed child. The one that gets a kick out of defying you. The ones that test you at every turn. Even putting themselves in harms way at times from refusal to adhere to the rules and not paying attention to their surroundings. It is completely situational.

    And spanking should always be administered in a very specific pattern. And as you spoke of, be only one of several options and the one to resort to at the very end.

    1. Tell the child not to do it.
    2. Explain to the child WHY they are not to do it and guide them on how not to do it again. Sit down and discuss the consequences of it happening again.
    3. Use a less invasive punishment first to see if it get’s the desire conditioning. Maybe even engage them and get them to come up with their own! Get them involved in the process.
    4. If they do it again, explain that you have exhausted all the options and feel that a spanking is in order. Set out exactly how many licks they will get before it happens. This way they know what to expect.

    Do not spank if you are angry. Only spank when you are cool and collected. Take time to cool down if you need to. The key is to be in complete control when engaging.

    Explain that you are not trying to get across to them that you do not love them, that you love them any less or that you are no longer proud of them. Let them know that it IS going to hurt them more physically, but that it hurts you to have to do it. Ask them if they understand why they are getting a spanking.

    If you find they truly do not understand than you should not spank. Try to find a different route to get the lesson across.

    If you are the administrator giving the spanking, make sure you measure your force against the child’s size, age and sensitivity and lastly the severity of the infraction. It should be last resort because spanking them for every little thing will lead to a tolerance level and finally resentment if you simply do it to show them you are aggravated with them.

    Don’t just use negative feedback though…Give them lots of praise when they do right. I don’t agree with the whole “I shouldn’t have to praise you for what you were supposed to do in the first place.”. That’s just poppy cock. Always give your child encouragement. Speak softly if you can. Develop a relationship with them so close that they will want to be a pleaser. I know a fella who’s step kids love him so much, that all he has to do is look at them like he is disappointed in them and it will completely break their heart.

    Being a friend to your child is wonderful. But you cannot be a friend to your child if first you are not their authority and mentor. Authority and mentor first, then friend. Let them understand you must be loyal to your commitment to raise them up as loving, respectful, responsible members of society and sometimes that may consist of setting forth punishment when situations dictate.

    Above all…..love them.

  28. Jessica says:

    I am so glad to see so many people that are against spanking! Right now, I am the only person I know that is against spanking. Our country needs to be more educated on factors of the human psyche, and we all have it. Being physically abused is not okay, it is only taking the human race a step back. “I was spanked when I was a kid and I turned out okay!” Yeah… I’m sure you did. If you still think spanking is okay, then obviously it didn’t work the way that it should to make you a well functioning human being.

    It is time to move on and try to advance in intelligence. When people are being emotionally and physically abused, it really messes with your head; especially if it is someone that you are suppose to trust for your safety and well being. I was spanked once when I was a child, and I didn’t talk for a week straight. I was 3, and I still remember it. When I moved in with different family members, I was always physically abused if I didn’t do what they wanted, and I just recently started to figure out how to socially connect with people. I was scared to talk to anyone and express my personal opinions because I thought it was wrong to have a mind of my own. I actually was walking on eggshells with anyone I encountered in any kind of social situation because I automatically thought they were right in everything they said, and if I had a different opinion, I was wrong. It really is a horrible feeling, but I am so fortunate that I was able to overcome it myself. I still have “relapses” when my confidence is low or I’m depressed, but I’m still working on it.

    I have a 20 month old, and have never hit her, nor will I. Spanking is still hitting, just because it is on the butt doesn’t make it any different. If you think it does, then you are someone I feel very bad for. I try to figure out what it is my baby girl needs/wants, and if she gets upset because I’m trying to get her to do something she doesn’t want to, I calm her down and make her do it anyway (like going to bed). Yeah, she has tantrums and cries, but I help her feel her emotions instead of ignoring them and hit her. She rarely gets angry about anything, because she understands. They don’t know how to control their feelings, they’re brand new to this whole “life” thing. I am raising a well balanced, confident, and very happy little girl.

  29. Lori says:

    I spanked my son until he was about six. He has had less than ten spankings in his life…for example he; repeatedly drank puddle water, touched the stove, or touched an outlet….to name a few.

    Spanking = one swat to the rear.

    I am well trained in applied behavior analysis and had tried multiple things before I did spank him. I used social stories(C), R+, role play, time out, and visual cues….just to name a few. I would not suggest spanking as a first method…or even a second or third. I would not suggest it to people who are hot headed; however, I do view it as an effective tool if done correctly. You mention it can be effective in the short term, which I agree with. In my son’s case…he was two/three. There is no reasoning with a two year old and I refuse to wrap him in bubble wrap and put all sorts of environmental modifications in place. Those teach nothing. My cousin’s kids are unable to leave wall outlets alone,for example, at homes where there are no covers in place. Environmental modifications can offer a false sense of security. While young children are learning from other methods (which are generally slower to work), spankings can help to intervene in the hear and now. They are a bandaide until those other things start to work.

  30. clr says:

    I was raised getting spanked. and that’s the way i will raise my children. Of course you “can” beat a child to death. But a red butt never killed anyone. Swat em once and send them to their rooms or sit them on the couch with the electronics in the room off, to think about how they could have avoided the punishment. I learned REAL quick what was against the rules, and as a child they seemed unfair and completely horriffic. Once your in the real world however, you realize how important to the learning process it was to learn to work hard, show respect, and tell the truth, and if you dont then there are a lot worse punishments than spankings to be had.

  31. Diane Sower says:

    Well, It seems if you really haven’t got enough imagination to think of anything else to make your child think about what he/she’s done, then spanking’s the thing for you. But, if you prefer to think, and provoke thought process in your children, then you’ll have consistent consequences that will require dignified thought in the children. Let’s face it. A parent who suddenly finds herself wheelchair bound can still parent appropriately, but if her tool basket consists of a wooden spoon and catching the kid, she’s in trouble. Also, the mindless theory of using an object rather than your hand really causes me to question the I.Q. of a child who buys into that. It’s your hand, bottom line, that’s whacking the kid. Stop using millennia old cultural biblical norms for your parenting, further, stop interpreting the book the way your little church group tells you too, since it’s been re-translated over 600 times since Rome got it’s hands on it. Study your greek, and parent without violence.

  32. Jackie Sutton says:

    I was off work today and watched the end of Dr. Phil’s show on chores. I’m a single parent so the chores are split with me and my boys (13 and 15 y.o.).

    When I didn’t do my chores at home I was spanked/smacked across the head/kicked. Parenting was such a challenge for me, I had no skills on what to do with children who wouldn’t do what they are asked or told to do, or who even put themselves in dangerous situations.

    To me spanking wasn’t the answer to get kids to behave or to do the right thing. I’ve always had this thought that followed me when it came to difficult situations with my children – If a person was in my home and started to be difficult or call me a b*%#h, etc., would I spank them? – no I’d tell them to leave. So why would I show less respect for my own child…someone who I love, why would I spank or hit them?

    My boys know that I can’t get everything done on my own. We developed systems such as chore lists that we pass around and initial what we are willing to do – we all get an easy and a crappy chore. If I come home cranky from work I let them know I’m cranky, they respect it and go off and do something away from me, sometimes they stay and talk it out – they do the same when they feel cranky. When it comes to fearful stuff: drugs and alcohol, risky behaviours, etc. I know I can’t be there all the time so we talk about it. I have my 15 yo call me when he is out with friends. He leaves contact numbers and lets me know where he is at. He understands the dangers that can happen and knows that by me having his latest location we can mitigate these dangers.

    I must admit when they were younger and not at a negotiable age it was more difficult; however, young children do reach an age of reasoning and negotiating quite quickly. They try to please and enjoy being pleased. I tried to stay away from too many rules – mostly just safety rules, they did end up with some natural consequences that they had to deal with. I believed that too many rules would lead to future followers and not leaders.

    Now they are older, my oldest son is 27 and lives on his own. We have an amazing relationship and our love is still quite strong, and he is so respectful to others in his life. My younger children still have a ways to go before they leave home and I can measure the results of my parenting and their own input to their growth, but in my eyes, they are amazing! I could never see myself as a person who would strike them – they are just too beautiful.

  33. Joe Smith says:

    Spanking is simply lazy parenting. Instead of actually disciplining, you just hit them and expect them to understand that you hit them because of what they did. Kids are not stupid – if you explain it to them and use non-violent punishment they will get it. It might take a little longer and require more effort on your part, but in the end they will learn right from wrong the correct way and you will have a better relationship with your child.

  34. Spanking a child can leave major emotional scars and the only thing it will teach a child is to fear the parent. What a parent should aim for is not to be feared but to be loved and respected. When children love and respect their parents, they will be less likely to engage in behaviors that have great negative consequences. Children who experience a deep bond with their parents do not want to disappoint them. If they keep engaging in negative behaviors they will likely be doing so out of anger and hurt which can be a reflection of their difficulty feeling close to their parents. As a psychotherapist, I am aware of the long term emotional damage that a person carries over the years as a result of a childhood with physical discipline. The negative feelings they often experience can lead to addictions as well as difficulties in many areas of their lives.

  35. Kim says:

    I don’t know what you people are thinking. I was never spanked, (after 8), I think . MY mom decided it was better to negatively talk to me. I used to WISH that I would get a spanking. Some of the people who have left posts about beings spanked, WELL LET ME TELL YOU, YOU WERE ABUSED. RL I have a younger brother who did get spanked, RARELY. Who in the heck spanks a infant, a toddler who has an accident, a child who puts his hand on the stove(isn’t the heat punishment enough). I probably did get spanked at an age that I don’t remember. My 9 year old son is an only. We have tried talking, sitting in corner, taking away toys, Ipad, DS,TV,. Your probably sayin’ we give him too much. Well we are financially well off. I’m a stay at home mom. It’s hard. My son is strong-willed, stuborn, says what comes to mind. He also is in the top of his class and school. He sings and whistles in class. I know i’m talking to much and off topic but we do spank. Ok, I don’t spank, but his father does, I’m more of talk and take stuff. We have had him tested. He’s a great kid who does need spanking. There is no belt use, no pants down, he get 5 spanks on the rear. My husband talks to him before and after. I talk to him when he gets things taken away. There is a way to spank a child w/o tramatizing him. Good grief, what’s up with you people. We aren’t tryin’ to kill the kid.

  36. Mrs Rose says:

    I spanked when I became a mother years ago but then I realized it was not working and only causing my children to become angry, disrespectful, and self conscious about themselves. They were becoming reclusive and afraid of everything. I decided to take a class at my local university based on child discipline. I loved it. It actually taught me several ways I could discipline without physically harming my children. I found each child’s Individual Disciplinary Plan. Honestly spanking (IMO) leads to violence. Children do as they see others do so when you hit a child you show them that hitting is the way to get what they want from others.

  37. Tracy says:

    My Aspie Mom Rant is:

    Regardless of YOUR “views” on spanking, it is never o.k. to put your hands on an Autistic child! You may “believe” in your mind that the child needs discipline and the parents are horrible. Disciplining an Autistic child is a whole other ballgame, and takes years of repetitive reinforcements, along with all of the other training & treatment they may need. It is also not a “magic” mental or emotional switch that can be flipped upon choice. No one asks to be that way or have to try and care for someone 24-7. Why would you “hit” if you are teaching your not child too?

    Once people/schools get that, stop being such a “know-it-all” bully, and maybe do something constructive for this world then we might see actual progress for our children.

  38. melissa says:

    I was spanked growing up, it didn’t make me hate my parents or do.things because of the emotional distress, it taught me to listen and have respect for other and that there ARE conséquences for our actions.

  39. Cathy says:

    Thankfully, our perception of discipline is evolving away from physical punishment. If it is ok to smack our children for making mistakes, then we as adults (who also continually make mistakes) should be smacked too. If we rock up late for work, do you think it is okay for our boss to smack us?? (HAHA!!!)…. If it is not okay for adults to be smacked, then how could anyone think that it is okay to inflict pain on the weakest and most vulnerable among us????? Let me get it straight… to hit someone who is an adult, is considered ASSAULT but to hit a defenseless child, it is considered PHYSICAL DISCIPLINE??? Hmmmm…. Do you know that when a child is in fear of being hit, their ‘fight or flight’ response is activated. When this activation occurs, all of the blood from the brain rushes to their arms and legs, and therefore their thinking stops. If their thinking stops, they do not understand what they have done wrong and how to fix it in the future. They are purely acting in fear, which defeats the purpose of using this form of discipline. Role modelling appropriate behaviour and taking the time to give them strategies for coping with the frustrations of life can only be positive. Raising the hand when it all gets too much…. is what they will end up doing as adults.

  40. Chelsea says:

    I was spanked as a child (using either a hand or a belt), and being the sensitive person I am, I felt betrayed, angry, and more distant from my parent after each occurrence. Now that I have my own children, my husband and I have agreed to avoid spanking. I do believe there may be one situation in which it is warranted: if you have a child who is repeatedly physically hurting another person (sibling, friend, parent, etc.), that child may need to feel what it is like to be hurt. This is only after trying all other methods: time out, taking away something he/she wants, etc. The spanking should be done when you are calm, and only to show the child what it feels like for the other person he/she was repeatedly hurting. You should explain to the child why you are doing it. Also, it should only be done with a child who has control over himself/herself. For example, children with mental or physical disorders obviously cannot be held accountable.

  41. wendyjohnston says:

    I think parents should try to avoid spanking their children, but I think its wrong to have an absolute position that they shouldn’t in any circumstance. When our first children were born, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was hurt them or cause them physical pain. My husband and I generally disciplined through taking away privileges, grounding, and assigning extra chores to a misbehaving child.

    However, as much I would like to say spanking can/should be avoided, I don’t think it should in all cases with all children. There is some behavior that must be dealt with quickly and effectively. Spanking beats just about any other consequence a parent has for shock value and sometimes, rarely, that is what is needed.

    I’ll give an example. When my son was 11, he and another boy destroyed some property. They broke windows in a public building in a park while we thought they were having a sleep over in the other boy’s back yard. My husband I talked about it and decided that just cleaning up the mess he made and doing chores to pay for the damage was not enough. So my husband made Jim strip to his underwear, bend over his knee and spanked him with his hand. I don’t think it could have hurt him much, but the shock and shame of being spanked that way with me, his mother, there to see the whole thing made a big impression. These actions stopped there and than.

    For those parents who do encounter tough situations like these I would give this advice:

    1. Calm down before you discipline. Don’t don’t do anything while angry. Rooms are made for children to wait in.

    2. Talk to your child at length and explain why a spanking is necessary.

    3. Use nothing but your hand to spank.

    4. Spanking should occur over clothing, but that clothing should be something thin like a pair of underpants.

    5. Spank the child in a private place, but IMO both parents should be present to show support.

    I know some will disagree, but there are a few situations where spanking is the right thing to do.

  42. It is difficult for parents to believe the research. The reserach clearly shows such a high degree of risk associated to later negative behavioral and health outcomes that the only responsible advice is, “You should NEVER spank your child.”

    Why don’t parents believe the research? In large part, because parents don’t know alternatives, particularly if their parenting style is authoritarian. “What other punishments can we use that will work?” parents often ask. They know that time-out and with holding attention or toys often fails to work.

    So parents need a paradigm shift in order to know what to do. “The Whole Brain Child,” is a great book that can help parents find better alternatives that are enduring and helpful.

    What do the researchers on corporal punishment have to say? http://stopspanking.org/2012/12/05/what-researchers-say-about-spanking/

  43. zack says:

    Dr. Phil. I believe you were confused because a) you were only spanked once when there were likely many opportunities that spanking should have been effectively used and its appropriateness explained to you as a child, and b) that spanking came at a not so appropriate and effective age, when you were 12, at the onset of puberty, when spanking ought to be replaced with other forms of discipline. Spanking done right is a labor of love, and those children spanked in love and with limits will know that they are loved. Spanking done in love at appropriate times is indeed protecting them from harming themselves later in life. Judicious spanking done in love does not teach children that it is okay to hit people any more than prison teaches criminals that it’s okay to lock people in cages or court mandated community service teaches law-breakers that it’s okay to enslave people. Spanking has a place, and we will be poorer as a society for rejecting it.

  44. S Ferrett says:

    Smacking a child breaks a valuable boundary. It teaches a child that it is ok for someone to touch their body in an unpleasant way when they do not want it touched. This, in my opinion, opens the door to confusion in subsequent situations if adults try to harm them. It is not ok. Take the time, do the research, figure out what works for you and be militantly consistent and predictable. It’s harder than a back hand but it’s going to result in a child with healthy boundaries about his or her body.

  45. S says:

    Dr. Phil. I am really glad that a person like you has shared your opinion about this. I myself grew up in Norway where it is not legal to hit children, and it has been since before I was born, nor was it very common before it became illegal. Norway is not the only country where this is illegal, it is illegal in many European countries, and these countries are not filled with disrespectful, rude people!
    I was not hit as a child, and I don’t feel I am boasting too much if I say that I am a really decent human being. I always say please and thank you, and I believe in kindness and respect. I am also proud to say that I was not the only non-spanked child that grew up to be a good, hard working person, my friends are really great people, and no one ever raised their hand at them either.

    It makes me really sad when I hear people say that children should get spanked. In my country this is a crime, and that is how I see it. I KNOW that children turn out just fine if you don’t spank them. Look at people in other countries, and you will see a clear evidence that hitting is never the solution. Hitting is violence, and not what you should be teaching your child. It is a short cut, and not very long lasting. If you want to raise your child to become a good person, take the time to raise your child right.

    I am only 23, and even though I don’t have children myself, I do have a niece. I know children can be a handful, but that is never an excuse for a grown person to use violence! Grown-ups have the right to NOT be hit, and so should children.

  46. jennifer says:

    hi..i have a five year old boy..i do not spank him..but i would like advice..he talks back alot even at school i tell him no talking back..and he says ” i dont wanna talk about it”.he can be very defiant..and i just ignore him till he calms down.. at school first thing in the morning when friends or teacher’s say good mornin to him he gets mad and says ” dont look at me” or “dont talk to me” almost every day he gets like that i tell him be nice..they are jus saying hi and he says ” i dont wanna talk about it” most of the time he’s a gentle happy little boy..but he has a bad attitude in school being disrespectful to his teacher wondering if he gets it from seeing other kids act like that because he’s an only child..any advice would be helpful..thank you

  47. jeremy says:

    Read many, but not all of these post. One thing I thought was interesting was that people took their experience and judged everyone else that did not agree with their belief as to spank or not to spank. I myself spank, but do not feel like parents that don’t spank are “spoiling” their kids or that they are “bad parents”. Likewise it is not fair for parents that do not spank to label the parents that do as abusive or bad parents. I will just assume that we all love our kids and want to do what is best for them whether we believe in spanking or not. Clearly it is effective for some kids and not effective for others (maybe that should be the determining factor in whether to do it or not). We do need to differentiate spanking from abuse though. Legally we can spank our kids, but abuse is not legal (i believe the details are different for each city and to abuse your kid becomes domestic assault and that needs to be dealt with criminally-likely leading to court ordered family therapy). I think this converstation is great, but woudl be more productive with people being more supportive of differing opinions and judgemental. With that being said I don’t think either approach is either right or wrong. Both approaches can be effective with different kids. One approach works in one belief system, but not the other. I think the key is to help one another figure out which works for their kid and be supportive of one another if they spank and you don’t or vise-versa.

  48. Kevin says:

    Okay people, understand there is a difference between consequences and punishment. That if you don’t spank then your child will be some unruly psycho. There are other methods and the child doesn’t get what they want all the time. They actually learn WHY they aren’t getting their way instead of getting hit because mommy is frustrated. You don’t spank your employees. You don’t slap your friends when they don’t do something when you want them to. Why do you think it’s okay to strike someone much smaller and mentally incapable of understanding why you are hitting them?? Besides slapping a hand reaching for something dangerous or grabbing an arm to avoid running into the road I don’t see a time you should strike your child. They aren’t a punching bag for your bad days. Just because you don’t spank your child doesn’t mean they will turn into some “me me me” monster. But I bet they learn they can trust you when they have issues and they will learn WHY they aren’t allowed to do certain things.

  49. Christy Miller says:

    Dr. Phil,

    I am totally against abuse. However, I will tell you this, I have “really” been a witness of a seven year old, arrested because he was tearing up the house, breaking pictures and everything and his mother called the law on him. The police used “reasonable” force to get the child under control and bring him to jail. A court designated worker was assigned to his case. The jail had to put a guard on the child, confined in a solitary “break room”, locked down. He was too young (thankfully the deputies at the jail realized this) to put in with the other juveniles, at the time ranging from 14 to 17.

    I can tell you, I thought this was stupid!!!STUPID!! STUPID!! The mother needed to be arrested for NOT taking control of that situation and putting her child in danger of being beaten, raped or whatever other bad thing could have happened to a SEVEN year old child in a juvenile detention center. Okay, what would have been the right solution?? I think to physically hold him to stop him from the tantrum, breaking pictures and furniture. At some point, he would have had to calm down somewhat.

    Then, talking to him and explaining he was NOT GOING TO TEAR UP THE HOUSE because he was upset. From there consequences for what he had torn up should have been enforced. HE would either have to wash dishes, take out trash, clean the closet out, something, to earn the money to replace what he had broken.

    What to do if he stomps his foot and refuses? What if he attacks the mom as soon as she turns him loose. AND I have seen this too.

    My mother was the most humble woman and a good mother. She would have taken a little keen switch and said, “now little lady, you are not going to hit me or tear this stuff up”. Two or three little strokes and I would have straightened up. As I grew up and was old enough and big enough to handle my mom, she had been so good to me, the spankings didn’t matter. I knew I deserved them. There was no apologies forthcoming for my spanking. If you incurred a spanking, you knew you deserved it. Enough said.

    I think where your dad did wrong was bringing you the dollar. Today you are alive to pass judgment. Had he just let it go with no consequences, you would have probably went back to the pond when you felt like it. He cancelled out his punishment and the reason for it when he rewarded you for doing what you were supposed to do in the first place, “TELL THE TRUTH”. You didn’t deserve a dollar for the 1/2 of the equation that you did right. You deserved a good, sound spanking for putting yourself in danger by not being obedient. And you knew you did wrong or you wouldn’t have tried to lie about it.

    Okay, that’s just my opinion. But, the home is the only place where punishment is FOR THE BENEFIT of THE CHILD. Trust me if the cops have to come to your home, they are not going to try and “reason” your child into not fighting them. They will use reasonable force to stop them and take them to jail. They are looking out for their own safety and the safety of the community, they are just dealing with the child’s behavior.

    Thank you,
    C. Miller

  50. Rick says:

    My wife and I have two (2) sons together- one 28 now and a Police Officer and the other 23 and in acting school. My wife is Korean and we are a military family. I spent 24 years in uniform. Did i or we ever spank our sons? ” you bet we did!” Here is the thing though; do you want your large children in the future, being disrespectul to others because they were never punished for their faults as children? Firstly, its pretty easy to define what child abuse really is and we all know that! Leaving a child with a red butt after spanking I feel is wrong! I use to make our sons write about it! As they got older, 12, 13, and 14 I would make them pick their own punishment! I would tell them- you have 15 min to come up with a punishment which you believe will fit your crime and help you to learn or I will do it. Trust me, you will not like my pusnishment idea! They always came to me, after I beat the “soldier” out of them, told me they were wrong for hurting me and doing wrong, usually shedding tears, giving me their writing and making a promise to never do it again – hurting Mom and Dad that is- for breaking the rules. You must have the rules of law down from the start- very very young. Before the kids can even walk, so achieve the results we achieved with our sons. Important to remember- our sons were raised in a Military environment, so they had more rules and structure than my wife and I could ever impose. Our sons tell us today, they didnt want to be hit when they did wrong, but there were glad I did it. We never abused our sons with hitting them but you can bet we made our point clear. A littel fear in the heart is good for all of us! For those of you parents who try to use that ” time out ” thing, I believe thats more for the parents. Good excuse to take a break and feel like the “good guy!”

    Parents, we are not their friends, we are there parents and are expected – even in their eyes to act like it. God bless you all!


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