Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child – I don’t think so

In my post Bad Moms Unite! – Why does school start at 8am? ,I confessed that I have resorted to spanking my children in the past. Most of the time when I do this I feel a tremendous sense of guilt because I feel spanking is more about me and not really about correcting behavior in my children. On the other hand, there have been some spankings that I absolutely did not feel guilty about. With that being said, I really do not agree with the “spare the rod, spoil the child” mentality. Many will say that is because I did not grow up in the church so my unfamiliarity with scripture makes it hard for me to appreciate this mindset.  But honestly, I question what we are teaching our children when we “beat” them as an expression of love.  Bottom line, that is what a spanking is: a beating as an expression of love!

when a child hits a child, we call it AGGRESSION.  When a child hits an adult, we call it HOSTILITY. When an adult hits an adult, we call it ASSAULT. When an adult hits a child, we call it DISCIPLINE. -author unknown

I have come to question the whole spanking culture for a number of reasons. One reason is, I live in a community where it seems domestic violence and dating assault is prevalent. As an attorney, I have represented many men and women who assault their significant others.  And this assaultive behavior is not limited to adults. There are a number of teenage couples that become involved in the criminal justice system because they have physically assaulted their boyfriend or girlfriend. As a result, our court system has an anger management program in place which is supposed to teach individuals how to manage their feelings so that they do not resort to physically assaulting their loved one.  Basically, what they are trying to teach is, it is not okay to hit someone because they have made you angry.

How can we teach our children that VIOLENCE WILL NOT SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS when parents turn to violence to solve their problems? -from Moral Anarachism

What is puzzling about this is, the same system that has an anger management program in place, does not see any correlation between childhood spankings and domestic violence.  In fact, there are times when individuals are charged with child abuse in our system because a spanking “got out of hand”. And the same judges that chastise and punish adults for domestic violence, applaud parents who choose not to spare the rod. They are reluctant to tie the hands of a parent trying to discipline their child because they believe a failure to discipline leads to bigger problems for society in the future. And, I completely agree. But, I also wonder if there are successful alternatives to spanking as a form of discipline.

My parents spanked me as a child

As a result I now suffer from a psychological condition known as              “Respect for Others”  -author unknown

Oddly enough, my mother sent me and my youngest nephew’s mother the following article on spanking a couple of weeks ago, Can Spanking Lead to Relationship Violence. As we were chatting, we agreed that we have struggled with spanking to correct our children’s behavior because we worry about the signals we are sending.  But, we also agreed that we have some very stubborn children that have caused us to cave in out of sheer exasperation.  According to the article, studies are beginning to show what me and my nephew’s mother have internalized as parent’s: there is a correlation between “spanking” and dating violence.

So, if I am not going to spank my child, I am going to have to incorporate meditation and wine into my daily living because my child is “stubborn as a mule” and definitely needs discipline in her life. 🙂

What do you think? Should spanking be used as a form of punishment? Do you have any alternative discipline methods that have worked for you?

And, because I know that not everyone that was spanked as a child grows up to be abusive, I am curious to hear from those that were spanked as children. Do you think being spanked had any negative impact on you?



5 thoughts on “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child – I don’t think so

  1. You don’t hit people. Never . It teaches children that the person who is most powerful can hurt you if they want. It’s violence. It’s not love. Hitting is never love. The place and the people who are supposed to keep you safe actually don’t. They hit you. That’s the reality. I was never hit. It doesn’t teach anything except you can’t trust your parents. If I was in trouble and my Mother was mad. I was quietly and calmly sent to my room so my Mother had some time to calm herself. Parenting is a brutal job. But hitting only teaches violence.

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  2. Often times I think we overthink parenting concepts. However I will not disagree with the non spankers. I think it has everything to do with your child. If you are parenting and paying attention and learning your child, then you will know how to punis your child, be it spanking or time out or taking favorite items or whatever. Spankings don’t work for every child, but every child will need structure and discipline and any parent that fails to provide either of the two, have done their children a great disservice and have essentially thrown their children to the lion dens of life and prepared them to be great feast for the evils of this world. If I did not get spankings when I was growing up I would be dead or locked up. Period. There were soooooo many times that I did the right thing not because I wanted to but because I could not calculate the punishment from my father. Because I could not calculate how much trouble or what kind of trouble I would get in for being defiant or disobedient , I would not do those things I knew would cause me punishment. Now my twin brother didn’t need those spankings but I definitely did. There is absolutely no way I’m writing this response today without that level of discipline and structure. I was determined to do it my way no matter what and when you are raising an alpha male, I promise you and I’m willing to bet anything that time out and talk therapy sessions does not phase him.
    To date I HAVE NEVER EVER RAISED MY HAND TO HIT A FEMALE NEVER GRABBED A FEMALE AND HAVE NEVER EVER VERBALLY ABUSED A FEMALE OR ANY OTHER PERSON FOR THAT MATTER. people have the wrong definition of spanking AkA chastising. SPANKINGS ARE NOT BEATINGS . Spankings are followed by a one on one conversation with the parent to re-enforce why the spanking happened and point out how not to cause another one. It is finished with a hug and I love you son OR daughter . This removes the violence of the act. Never once did I question my father’s love for me or my siblings nor did I think he was violet or abusing me but I knew that whatever that unacceptable behavior was that I displayed, would not be tolerated and that behavior fell below the standard of expectations my Parents set for us. Today I am well educated I am a Father of a beautiful little girl and my man child son. My daughter is 6 and have received spankings for behavior that fell below the expectations my wife and I set for her. As a father I do not ever ever repeat myself and I DO NOT DO PUBLIC EMBARRASSMENT IF I HAVE TO EXPERIENCE EITHER, then those experiences come with consequences. I am well aware of how to spank my daughter and the different way I will spank my son if need be. The most annoying and craziest thing I see are parents who have to constantly repeat themselves or hear a child talk back or roll their eyes or yell at their parents Or when I hear a parent say they can’t do anything with their child at 3 or 5 or 10 years old. Like how is that possible. Nevertheless, I am a staunch supporter of spankings when done correctly, and it has very little if anything to do with me being raised in the church or reading the Bible. It has everything to do with understanding levels of punishment and how to appropriately apply the levels. I talk when necessary I take privileges and possessions when necessary and I spank when necessary. At no time is any of these things done without complete transparency to my daughter and nephew and why. The opposite of that is I’m over the moon when they do well and I’m with them every step of the way from a stumble to a Fall I’m there to hug rub love punish teach and lead. Spanking should never be isolated but instead it should be inclusive of the complete child rearing experience BUT only if it needs to be.

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  3. I am not a parent, so I can’t speak to this 100%. I was a nanny for 7 years, however, to pre-teens and then teenagers. I never hit them and I was pushed to that almost point often! I was raised in such a way that the only times I was ever spanked were more about the adult’s impulse control than my own behavior. I was a result of a teenage pregnancy and she and I were both learning as we went. So, honestly, I do not believe in spanking a child, for any reason. It does condone violence as an answer in their brains, whether we intend it to or not. Discipline is hard, but spanking isn’t the answer. However, I know many adults who were spanked as kids and they are now well adjusted, non violent people, so I also don’t think we can generalize the issue. I won’t flat out say anyone who spanks is being a bad parent, because that just isn’t true. I just personally disagree with it.

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