Jul 14, 2011  •  In Parenting, Personal, Relationships

Discipline Styles

J and I grew up in a culture and generation that was all for physical discipline. In fact, it was rare to find a household that did not spank/cane their children.

Our homes were not the only places for punishments either — I still remember how, having attending up to the 2nd grade in Korea, all the teachers kept a separate cane for punishments (the unspoken rules stated that we would “only” get hit on the palms of our hands or our calves)…from not doing your homework to straying from the dress code. One time, the entire class was hit three times on the palms of our hands because someone whistled during a lesson and no one would confess to it!

I have read that corporal punishment in the schools back in my native country has lessened up some, but still exists. Additionally, with the widespread penetration of the internet and video/photo technology, the instances of teachers abusing their power has significantly decreased, as illustrated in this funny GIF from haha.nu:

My sister and I were generally well-behaved kids. So while our parents did hit us on a few occasions, it was only when we were really really bad, and these times were far and few between.

J, on the other hand, was a very rebellious and unruly child. My MIL tells us that he and his brother used to make her cry almost every day with their uncontrollable behavior, and that they were hit quite often with canes of varying sizes. (She jokes that this is the reason she is happy we are having two girls — raising two disorderly boys has traumatized her! ;-) )

With our personalities being so dissimilar, J and I have talked at length regarding the disciplining of our children. The short answer? We are both for physical discipline. This is not to say that we will be hitting our children for every offense. Rather, we will only do so when they are very very bad. We will take care never to take it too far, and only do it in the privacy of our home. (Hopefully our children will grow up to be relatively well-behaved, like my sister and I were!)

We also know that I will act as the every day disciplinarian and that J will only step in for the large wrongdoings. We also believe that after a certain age, physical punishment will not be as effective and so we will need to stop.

We both are fully aware that there are many families who would never lay a hand on their children. And we do not believe that one style of parenting is better than the other — like almost all parenting decisions, we all have to make the best decision for our unique family. And for us, we feel that large offenses deserve physical punishment (of course, our views may change depending on the personalities of our children, underlying circumstances, etc).

I still remember the very last time that my sister and I were about to get hit. Our father had rounded us up after dinner, and we knew that we were most likely in for some hits on our palms due to our recent behavior. However, our father calmly told us that he was disappointed in us…but that he was more disappointed in himself because he had failed as a father. He then went on to hit himself on the palms of his hands with the stick that we thought was meant for us.

That, to us, hurt more than anything else.

We continued to have our rebellious moments (especially during our teenage years), but we were never hit again.

(Seriously. Isn’t my dad the best or what?)

Were you hit as a child? Are you for or against corporal punishment?

50 Responses to “Discipline Styles”

  1. Robin:

    I remember getting spankings and thinking they were the worst thing in the world but in reality they were only small pats on the butt fully clothed. The threat alone would bring me and my siblings to tears and that was worse than the actual ‘hit’.

  2. Eek565:

    My husband and I had the same talk when our son was 9 monhts. It became quite clear that he was being disobedient. Even so young! The book Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp really gave us some guidance. As well and going to a Paul Tripp (brother of the author) parenting seminar.

    http://www.amazon.com/Shepherding-Childs-Heart-Tedd-Tripp/dp/0966378601/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1310656466&sr=1-1

  3. My parents used spankings and I know that I definitely needed them, and my hubs and I are planning on using physical discipline as well.

    After all, “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” Proverbs 29:15

    :) Sounds like you are doing good.

  4. Christine:

    WOW! I was just writing about this on my FB, but was advised not to post as it would be too controversial. Anyway, there was a recent post on Motherhood Uncensored (do you read that? I love that blog!) about how spanking is NEVER acceptable (in her opinion). I was floored! I usually agree with her parenting style, but I didn’t this time. I was spanked and it sure did set me straight when I was little, but once I was in my rebellious years (teenager), my father would be eerily quiet. He wouldn’t scream or say anything other than, “I’m so disappointed.” He never said about what, but I can tell you, I always WISHED he would hit me instead of telling me he was disappointed (in me? himself? I don’t know!)

    Growing up in an Asian household, respecting your elders and maintaing your family’s honor is huge. Disappointing my father always made me felt like I had shamed the family (not just myself… we’re a family so one person’s bad decision is now ALL of ours).

    And let’s face it… kids these days, they NEED to be spanked. abused? NO! spanked as necessary? yes!!

  5. I was spanked as a kid, and while I can remember 1 or 2 instances when it was done out of anger instead of obligation to guide their children, my parents were incredibly loving.

    It was only for certain ages, as well. After we were 10 or so we weren’t spanked again (at that point, being grounded from the computer, etc was a much worse punishment!)

    We would spank our future children under certain circumstances.

  6. Lisa:

    My husband and I have talked and we will definitely spank our children. In my opinion, it should only be used under specific circumstances.

    1) When the child is young, to prevent them from physical harm. Running into the street or climbing on tall things both qualify as spankable because they’ll remember the pain and not do it again.

    2) Direct disobedience. The child willfully disobeys a direct order from the parent.

    3) Punishment is only administered when the parent is NOT ANGRY. This way the child understands that the discipline is done out of love and not anger.

  7. Mary:

    Already started when the kid was not even 1. I spank his hands to tell him that certain things he can not touch…ie..the plugs in the extension cord or those connected to the TV.

    I’m all for spanking.

    From what I see of the teenagers of this generation…..time out sure as hell doesn’t work!

    I’m Asian and grew up with getting spank and look at me now…I’m pretty freakin normal if I say so myself.

    -Mary

    • Mary, I would strongly caution against this. No one (no one) advises that it’s acceptable for infants and toddlers to be spanked. Even those that are very pro-spanking say it should not start before the age of 2. Children spanked as infants and toddlers are at the greatest risk of developing serious issues by age 3, and continue to show more behavioral problems than their peers at age 5.

      I have to speak out against this because it’s not recommended behavior at all. If you have a pediatrician or other child care provider that is recommending this, they would probably be at risk of losing their job as it is potentially very harmful.

      Let me know if you’d like any more information on this. PS) Not calling you a bad mom or trying to metaphorically smack you on the hand. Just hoping you do know the true research on hitting/spanking at this young of an age. It is not pretty. Check out Lisa Berlin’s research. It was done on 2,500 infants and toddlers that were spanked and it’s some of the most recent.

  8. I’m anti-physical punishment, though I wouldn’t have been a few years ago, since I was spanked myself as a child and didn’t see anything wrong with it. I think it’s a hard decision, especially if you were raised a certain way and felt that discipline “worked” for you.

    I often compare spanking to hitting a dog. It will make the dog obey you – yes, but the dog is obeying out of fear, not respect. If you train a dog, however, they begin to obey you out of mutual respect… though training does take longer/more patience on your part.

    Just as some comments openly stated (including your own), “It hurt me more when I was told that they were disappointed,” it is usually more effective to understand punishment on a mental/emotional level, unfortunately this is difficult when children are younger (but not impossible).

    Spanking increases aggression, anxiety, and antisocial behaviors. It has been studied extensively and not proven to be more effective than other forms of punishment in the long-term. For me, that means spanking is simply a choice we make. It’s unnecessary to discipline that way therefore I won’t be using it, because of it’s risk of negative effects.

    There have been quite a few studies on it since this article (2 or 3 very important ones), but this is a good summation:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/06/26/health/main513469.shtml

    As long as you’ve done your research (the data is readily available for the most part or I can give you access to an EBSCO Host) and know that it’s not more effective than any other form of punishment, then it’s really up to you & your family to take the risk of it backfiring, I suppose.

    • Thanks for you thoughts on this. I always take behavioral, especially parenting, studies with a grain of salt because there are just so many variables that could have been missed. For instance, what other forms of discipline did these parents use, if any? Were the children subjected to violence in the media or in their play (because let’s face it, we are exposed to more violence these days)? Did the children attend daycare or were they cared for at home? Were they exposed to, or ingest any food/chemicals that could affect their behavior? And – for the sake of the argument – were the children breastfed? So unless someone can show me a large-scale study where ALL the subjects were subjected to the same exact environment and treatment, I will see these studies as basic generalizations. As for the spanking, we will take the risk. :-)

      • Oh yes, of course there are variables. For instance, it is known that the majority of people who spank in the majority of these studies are lower income and lower educated, so yes, that does play a part in both their choice to spank as well as other areas of the child’s life.

        Luckily you can statistically account for most of those variables, especially in a meta-analysis which compares spanking to other discipline forms such as time-out, but of course there is room for error.

        As I said, the risk is there and if you’re willing to take it, that’s definitely your choice & right (well, currently, who knows if they’ll end up banning spanking in the future). :)

  9. Kate:

    I was spanked as a child, and I hated it because I knew that it was out of anger and not out of discipline. I think that there can be a place for spanking in disciplining a child, but that it must be used fairly and only for serious behaviors.

    For less serious behaviors, I’m a huge fan of consequential punishments. For example, if the kids break a lamp because they were running around in the house, they have to work off the cost of replacing the lamp.

    Lastly, you will have problems with whatever style of discipline you use if you handle the day to day stuff and your husband “will only step in for the large wrongdoings.” Discipline needs to be consistent and immediate. What happens if your kids do something serious while your husband is at work? The lesson won’t set in if they don’t get disciplined until 4 hours later. You need to be willing to handle the larger stuff, and your husband needs to be willing to handle the day to day stuff, and discipline should come from the parent who witnessed the behavior with the support of the other parent.

    • I guess I should’ve been more clear in making that statement. What I meant was that while I will immediately reprimand them, my husband will do additional punishments/talks when he comes home, in other words, we don’t feel that he needs to be brought in for the little things so when he does step in, they will know that what they did was serious.

  10. Vir:

    I was spanked as a child, but never hard and I don’t remember the impact of it being that I felt frightened of my parents, but more ashamed of what I’d done to deserve it. I think the balance in making spanking work is making sure the impact is shame vs. fear. During my childhood, the spankings were never truly physically harmful, it was more the action of it that brought shame, even though they might have been gentle. In this manner, I don’t see anything wrong with it.

    That said, I do not believe in spanking as a first response because I feel if it’s done in the heat of anger or frustration, the parent may lack self control. I disapprove of physical lashing out as an initial reaction for children, so I wouldn’t allow myself to do it either. However, if spanking is done in a responsible manner as a teaching tool when the child is old enough to understand its purpose, I can see its effectiveness, particular in situations where the lesson to be learned is vital (don’t run into the street! etc.).

    As for me personally in my parenting journey, time outs or distractions work for us at this point; I honestly haven’t thought of spanking her at all.

  11. Vir:

    P.S. I should also mention.. I only ever remember my mom spanking me, and even then it was kind of rare (I was a pretty good kid though). For me and J, in our (very rare) talks about spanking, we agreed spanking would not be the discipline choice for J because the father/daughter relationship is one that possible future male relationships might be based upon, and I would really not like K to associate him with any type of corporal punishment. So, I guess really if we were to allow spanking it would be me, but I’ve yet to come to a point where I feel like it would be really necessary or effective.

  12. Gigi:

    Spanking teaches children that solving problems with others by smacking them is an acceptable behavior. Research shows that to be true, as spanked kids tend to have more issues with perpetrating physical violence than non-spanked kids. You’ll see this especially in families with multiple children. The older children will hit the younger ones because that’s what bigger people do to littler ones – that’s part of the lesson that spanking has taught them. That’s not to say non-spanked kids never hit – they do. But spanked kids tend to have much larger issues with this.

    And to the poster speaking of spanking a 9 month old? That is reprehensible. Children that young are not choosing to misbehave – they don’t have the cognitive ability to make that choice that young. For such small kids – redirect. Spanking an infant does nothing except cause the infant pain – they cannot make the connection between cause and effect, they cannot understand consequences. You’re not teaching such a young child anything by spanking.

    On top of that, a lot of instances of horrific child abuse begin with a simple spanking that spirals out of hand. Where do you go if a spanking doesn’t solve the problem? The tendency is bigger, badder spankings. If you leave marks after a spanking it is legally considered abuse. This was not the case when I was a child, but is now. And this is as it should be.

    Spanking works well to release the anger of the parent engaged in it. That’s its main accomplishment. If you want well-behaved children you’ll get much further by establishing consistent rules and expectations and enforcing them via time outs, natural consequences, removal of toys and/or privileges. Being consistent and not undermining each other as parents is the main thing to focus on esp as you say the two of you are quite different.

    Believe me, by the time yours hit age 3 (generally much rougher than 2 despite the clever “terrible twos” title) you will want more tools to work with than spanking. It *never* looks good to see parents hitting small children in public (and imagine your spanking of a child captured on a camera phone – its not the child who is going to be shamed then) – you will need other approaches to make it through those pre-school years. It gets a lot easier once kids are a bit older and can be more readily communicated with. That only lasts a few years though. Once puberty comes…oh boy.

  13. Nadine:

    I was spanked as a kid, and trust me I deserved it all. My parents were all about warning first, and if I didn’t listen they followed through with what they said they were going to do (Something a lot of parents don’t do nowadays…. follow through). And with the amout that my parents smaked me upside the head or on the bumm, and that took care of that behavior, it never happened again. I remember the first and last time I mouthed back to my mother, I was sitting on the floor, and got whacked to hard I moved from point A to point B. But I NEVER even thought about mouthing back after that. As for increased aggresion,I wouldn’t blame it on spanking more then what is shown in the media today. And antisocial behavior….. I know people who were never hit who are antisocial/socially challenged.

    With how disrespectful many children are (and they’re getting younger and younger), seeing parents trying to talk and reason with their children until they’re blue in the face, I think I good smack for some kids necessary from time to time.

    My friend’s daughter at 4 had a mouth, and was very disrespectful. She vowed that she would never hit her child, well that all changed when all the reasoning, and talking/explaining to her why her behavior was unacceptable. She at 4 started screaming at her great-grandmother “I hate you! I only love my mommy and daddy! I hate you!” (and on and on) this wasn’t the first time she’s done this, I’ve been over numerous times and the 4 year old always pulled this stunt when great grandma would tell her that she needed to come inside, take a bath or whatever else she didn’t want to do at the time. So finally one day her mom just smacked her as she was doing it, pulled her in to the hallway and told her enough was enough, and the long lecture of we’ve talked to you about this before and how it’s unacceptable. I remember thinking when she got smacked…. “it’s about time” That little girl is now 6, and she hasn’t repeated that stunt since. Oh and the sassy little mouth of hers…. she can try, but mom can now just give her “the look” and she will quickly rethink what she was about to say.

  14. I was spanked as a child, with a wooden spoon swat on my (clothed) butt. I remember disliking it so intensely because my parents would sit and talk with me first about how my behavior disappointed them, and that because I chose to disobey, I now had to accept my punishment. Man, did it work for me! I was pretty quick to obey because 1) I knew why they wanted me to behave and 2) I knew they’d follow through if I didn’t. That consistency and clear reasoning meant a lot to me as a child, and I want to carry that through to our future kids.

    We’re pro-spanking, obviously, until age 8 or so. After that, I think there are usually privileges that can be lost that are more effective.

  15. I was not spanked as a child, and neither was my sister, and we were both very well behaved (not because we were naturally good, but because my parents were strict and consistent). It is not necessary to spank children to get them to behave: time outs, scoldings, removal of privileges, etc. all work perfectly as long as you are consistent and firm. After all, normal children want to please their parents, and are dependent on them for love, attention, and approval: losing that is a far worse punishment (as you yourself noted).

    Spanking probably doesn’t have much of a negative effect on children’s psychological development, providing you don’t use it on tiny babies or adolescents; don’t do it in anger; and aren’t abusive. But since it may have some minor negative effects (increasing aggression; increased psychological/emotional problems; a more negative relationship with the parents), why do it when other methods work just as well, and don’t have those possible drawbacks?

    For people who say that spanking is the only punishment that works: I suggest you aren’t being sufficiently thoughtful. In my experience as a child, I was naughty because: 1. I was tired/sick/in a bad mood/overwhelmed etc. and unable to control my impulses properly (thus requiring removal to a quiet place until I could get a handle on myself); 2. I was challenging my parents’ authority because I wasn’t sure if they really meant it (being consistent and following through is the cure for this); or 3. I was unclear about what the rules were, and didn’t realize I was being naughty (especially a problem if parents are inconsistent). Spanking doesn’t really address any of these problems (why it is often ineffective, as in your husband’s case: if it did work, your mother in law wouldn’t have had to hit them all the time).

    I would suggest that you don’t use it, and look into timeouts instead. I loathed timeouts as a child, and even the threat of one often would make me rethink my behavior. Another advantage of timeout is that unlike spanking it lasts a while, giving the child plenty of time to think about what better behavior would be.

  16. Mona:

    Oh please don’t hit (“spank”) your kids. Please please don’t. It’s just so wrong and awful.

  17. I was spanked as a child, but it wasn’t very often. It maybe happened a handful of times, but there were multiple times where if we got bad, Dad would start to take his belt off and we’d whip into shape. Just the thread got us to simmer down.

    I’ll admit it now…we were BAD kids too. Crazy hyper and unruly. I hope karma doesn’t bite me in the @ss over it when my H and I have kids.

  18. I think it’s interesting how practically every anti-spanker who chose to comment is trying to persuade everyone else not to spank/hit, while the pro-spankers seem to be focusing on their own households (and thus leading me to assume that they don’t mind what others choose to do with their own children just as long as it’s not abusive). Is this because those who chose to comment feel so strongly about the issue that they feel the need to voice their concern? Or are the majority of anti-spankers set to change the world so that no one ever spanks their kids?

    Whether you are pro- or anti-spanking, I personally think it’s a waste of time trying to convince others via the internet to cross the side of the fence. :-) The same goes for other controversial parenting methods such as circumcision, CIO, etc.

    On a more personal note, my sister and I were NEVER physically violent toward each other or anyone else. We fought, for sure, but we NEVER let it get physical (not even pinching, hair-pulling, or scratching) and we certainly never had violent tendencies or even got tempted to do so. Neither did we EVER doubt our parents’ love for us — we knew that every time that we were hit, it was for legitimate reasons and did our best never to do it again. I believe that just as long as you reserve the physical punishments for extremely bad offenses, and that you let the children know that it is done out of love, that spanking is perfectly acceptable.

    You also have to wonder about countries like Korea where spanking is still widely accepted in homes and corporal punishment still exists in public schools — how it is one of the hardest-working countries in the world and how its children consistently outperform other countries in standardized tests and (to my eyes) seem to have greater respect for adults and are generally better-behaved.

    • I was advocating not using spanking as it bothers me when people are not rational in their thinking, and using spanking as a disciplinary tool (especially frequently) is an extremely irrational choice.

      While you are completely right that all parenting studies have problems in controlling for variables (since we can’t randomly remove children from their parents and reassign them to new families), the fact is that the vast majority of scientific studies suggest that spanking has negative effects. This doesn’t mean that all children who were spanked will have problems (obviously, since at least 85% of Americans are spanked), just that the likelihood of problems is higher. Actually the evidence against spanking is pretty clear, as scientifically studied parenting practices go.

      I just don’t understand this attachment to spanking. You don’t need to do it to have well-behaved, respectful and moral children. And since it has documented risks, why take that risk when it’s unnecessary?

      • Also, one of the effects of physically punishing children is to increase rates of depression and anxiety (especially true for girls). Since Korea has the highest suicide rate in the world, your argument that physical punishment benefits Koreans isn’t very convincing.

        • Actually I have done the research (as I do with almost all parenting decisions) and I have found equally compelling studies both for AND against. It really is a personal parenting decision, just as circumcision, CIO, etc are…and as my husband and I have already decided, why are you trying to convince us otherwise? We are not “attached” to spanking — we just feel that in certain situations (like the one Nadine gave above), we would not be against using it. For all we know, we may never need to do it. And yes, we are willing to take the risk, as most of my friends were spanked a lot more than I was growing up and are actually happier, better-adjusted adults than I am.

  19. Gigi:

    The culture in Korea vs the USA is very different as you are aware. I don’t think it is accurate to pull out spanking as the reason for Korean children to be doing better at standardized tests when so many other things are not the same. Correlation does not equal causation.

    While American children may not measure up in that regard (testing), there are other ways in which they do much better than their Korean counterparts. This is an interesting article: http://www.economist.com/node/18682342

    While you note that the spankers are telling more personal anecdotes to support their point of view, I note that the non-spankers are looking at scientific evidence while the spankers are not. Spankers are doing what their parents did because “they came out ok.”

    I think many people have a hard time thinking that there is actually a better option than what their parents chose, or may see deciding spanking is not for them as judging their spanking parents as “bad.” Previous generations did not have the advantage of having scholarship on this topic available to them. They did not understand childhood development then the way we do now.

    Do you want a child who behaves because they are afraid of you or because they want to please you and not disappoint you? Do you want your children to understand right from wrong and why they should choose “right” or do you want children who do as they are told out of fear of physical pain?

    • The Korea vs US statement was just a thought. I did no real research before writing it. :-)

      As you said in your comment, correlation does not equal causation. Just as I know many people who were spanked as children who are perfectly happy adults who are contributing members of society, I also know those who claim spanking caused them emotional harm. On the other hand, I am also aware of people who were never spanked as children who are bullies and resort to violence, and vice versa.

      I have personally never feared my parents, even when they spanked me. I never did the “right thing” in fear of spanking either. And I’m sure you will find the same of many many others who were spanked as children.

    • Oh, and regarding the scientific evidence, please see my reply to Kalen above.

  20. It has become quite obvious that it is time to quit reading this blog.

    Frankly I am shocked about the backwardness of US society (or at least the parts represented here). Some people here talk with a pride about violence against children.
    Let’s face it: spanking is in essence nothing else than violence. You can cover it with a nice disciplinary facade, but it in the end this is what it comes down to.

    If the stronger one can only get his way by using this barbaric method, it tells more about them than they would like to admit.

    I live in a country where spanking is illegal, and I come from a country where it is nowadays a child’s right to grow up in a violence-free environment. These are recent developments, and I consider them achievements.

    Of course it is an ideal. But I find it puzzling that the majority here does not even care to strive for it. I feel sorry for you.

    • Thanks for your concern, and please feel free to stop reading if this issue bothers you so much.

      • Sorry for my harsh words – I was truly shocked that there was so little opposition to something which I consider outdated. It seemed to me that there has been little progress when even a New Yorker is committed to do that. I would be more willing to accept it as a weakness in a stresful moment, but not as an active choice after careful consideration and reasoning. After all, it is better that a child understands why it has done something wrong. If the logical connection however is “I must not do that because otherwise I get spanked”, it is not much of a contribution to teach ethical behavior. Fifty years ago a man who spanks his wife was considered normal. Nowadays we consider that as terrible, and I don’t see why domestic violence should be OK in one case but condemnable in the other.

        The reason to unsubscribe however is not directly connected to that issue. This blog has taken a huge change in direction, from geeky topics to parenting. That is fine as it is a personal blog and reflects the changes in the life of the author. While I have some interest in parenting for personal reasons, it doesn’t extend that far.

        PS: I had really trouble to pass the captcha test on Chromium under Ubuntu Linux. It takes several attempts until the post is accepted.

        • Perfectly understandable. :-) As for the Captcha? I guess I might have to take it up with the author of the plugin?

        • MrsW:

          “Even a New Yorker”??? Wow, your regional snobbery is showing. You might want to look to that.

          • Regional snobbery??? Whose region? I am neither from NY nor the US. It might be stereotype, but I thought that NY (and some other parts of the US) are less conservative than the country in general. That’s why I wrote that. Sorry for generalizing.

            • MrsW:

              You don’t have to be from the region or the country to maintain stereotypes about it. Yours seemed to speak to an assumption that people in New York were supposed to be more “enlightened” than those in other parts of the U.S.

              • I was not denying that I am prone to stereotypes. I certainly am as I have an outsider perspective.

                You claimed that my statements were snobbery, and I was merely pointing out that I can hardly be a NY snob. I simply don’t qualify for that.

  21. Yikes!! What a contentious issue!! It has motivated me to de-lurk!! : ) I put myself in the spanked-kid-now-well-adjusted-adult camp. I am undecided as to what our policy will be for future kiddies, but definitely motivated to research this now. Thanks for the book rec!!!

  22. kathynhi:

    actually, my parents were like yours. only hitting when my brother and i were really really bad. normally, if we got in trouble, we kneel. for a long time. i remember when i was little, for bad behavior, dad would light an incense. by the time it got to the red part, we’d be done.

    i believe if i were to have kids someday, i’d be on your boat, too. it’s helped me as a person. i know when to be polite and when to act rowdy…

  23. I’m troubled to see lots of pro-spanking voices here.
    For me, the issue of spanking is an easy equation:

    spanking = hitting

    hitting = violence

    One of most parent’s main goals is to teach their children not to use violance against others. How is it then ok to use it against their own kids?

    The worst part is: A two year old child will not understand why it is being hit.
    It will understand that it has done something wrong, but surely the feeling of not being loved enough (or just plain confusion) will play a bigger part in the kids thoughts.

    In my opinion, if a parent resolves to hitting s/he does it because s/he can’t think of a more effective way to reprimant his/her child.

    And I’m not talking about a small clap on the hands of a child that come dangerously close to a burning stove, I’m talking about punishment.

    I really don’t see the merits that spanking has. For me, the risks it holds are much much higher than the possible merits (e.g. having a child “obeying”).

    As you can see, I really can’t see why spanking should have a place in the 21rst century.

    • I think that most people who are pro-spanking will agree that they would not do it unless they are certain that a child is at an age where they would understand. And as stated above, spanking does not always have to equate violence. Just as long as the parents are clear that it is done out of a place of love, I really don’t think that it would teach a child to be violent, or promote violent behavior.

  24. I get that spanking can be used by parents who believe they benefit their children by it. And I don’t think that being spanked nessessarily makes the child violent.
    Don’t misunderstand, I see that you and your husband put a lot of thought into this and don’t go about the subject light-heartedly. Your thoughts clearly come from a good place, you want the best for your girls.

    I just can’t get over the idea that spanking is hitting, be it per hand or spoon or whatever, and that is a violent act.

    The blatant promotion of spanking by some of the commenters made me wish to take sides, not to convince anyone that I’m “right” or they’re “wrong”.

  25. I have no kids so I haven’t asked myself the “how to” question yet. Nevertheless I have constrasting opinions; on one side, I was never spanked or treated badly by my parents, and that contributed to create a feeling of freedom that led me to do everything I wanted to do in my life. Nevertheless, I think that discipline is in some cases not only necessary, but also very constructive. I remember for example that everytime I’d get a C, or D, or even worse an F, I’d be grounded for decades and the only voice to be respected was my professor’s. Now, friends who teach in high schools and middle schools tell me that usually parents argue with teachers about the good will and general perfection of their (usually only) child, stating he/she was tired/ill/misunderstood/shy or something and that in the end it’s all about teaching methods’ faults and professors’ unprofessionality. This I think it’s rather ridiculous, and if I ever will be a parent I will consider the teaching sphere as a sort of untouchable, unarguable entithy my kids will have to deal with. And study harder if they want to get out of the house.

  26. MrsW:

    We spank some with our 18 month old, and have ever since she demonstrated true wilfull disobedience (to those who say children that young are incapable of wilfull disobedience come over to my house one day and see.. I know my child and I know when she’s pushing me). We do a verbal warning, and then a countdown of three chances to correct her behavior. Often she hems and haws on “2” because she knows the spanking is imminent and seems confused on how to proceed, so then I step in and help her make whatever behavior change it is I’m asking for (usually it is to come or to give me something). Basically I look for anyway I can to avoid the spanking, not because I think it’s wrong, but because she is so young yet, and if I took a hard line on spanking every time she disobeyed I’d never stop. I’ve noticed spankings are much more effective for her coming from her daddy, not from me… and of course daddy gives the biggest hugs afterwards too.

    From the personal history perspective, I grew up in a household where my mom spanked us, and as far as I recall it was done justly. My brothers and I were pinchers/hitters but even though I know that is bad I’ve never viewed it in my own life as some sort of terrible personal tragedy. My brother (went undiagnosed with Asperger’s until 16) was probably a case where spanking did not help (he struggled with violence against others and himself for a while), but I don’t think my parents are somehow child abusers because of that — they had a strong-willed child that I know they love more than words but just couldn’t figure out how to handle. We were never beaten and we always knew we were loved.

  27. Eun Joo:

    Russell Peters: Beat Your Kids
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMLr5tOjF3A

    I’m presenting this as lighthearted comedy although I am fairly certain the trolls will be outraged. Real violence should never be tolerated, but I fail to see how a whack on the fanny will emotionally scar a child.

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