by Kristin Meyers
(Niagara Falls)

I'd love to see your spanking... "refocusing" technique used on an adult. Or a dog. Why is it that we can physically strike a defenseless child and call it "beneficial" and "helping them refocus" but doing the same to an adult or even an animal is criminal?

Kristina's Reply:

I heartily agree with the principle behind your assertion (that
violence is bad), and I also am against spanking as a discipline
method. But to remain credible, rather than just making an emotional
argument we must admit that there are different kinds of hitting in
this world, and not all are bad. After all, I work in a business
where, all day long at my martial arts school, I teach children, teens
and adults to "hit" others, and we practice it by "hitting" each
other. Aside from self defense applications of hitting, the art of
sparring in itself is a valuable exercise where the entire objective
is to actually hit others in certain areas to score points, like in

But that doesn't mean we hate or prosecute our opponent afterward, nor does it mean we've been abused. Clearly, the REASON a person hits someone, and HOW they do it, matters greatly in life and society. In fact, it makes ALL the difference. If a parent does a light smack when a child is in the middle of a wild blind tantrum, does it work to slow down and end the tantrum, keeping the child from hurting herself or others? Yes, usually. In fact, even just the threat of it, if the child actually believes it will be carried out, is often enough to end even the most frantic tantrums. The parent ended the tantrum quickly, out of love and concern for the child. That's not a type of "hitting" that is damaging to anyone, just like the type of hitting I practice with the 5 year olds at my karate school. We respect our opponents and they respect us, and we hit them from that basic premise. Adults practicing sparring with children hit children every day in my school, as that is the way everyone learns and gets better. Likewise, if a parent chooses to spank, it must always be from a premise of love and concern for the wellbeing of the child. The lesson that is learned from hitting or being hit is NOT necessarily that violence solves all problems (that's not what my students learn from it), so we must be careful not to make sweeping generalizations about ALL hitting being akin to abuse.

There are lines that need to be drawn and one cannot say that all
violence is inherently evil. Violence in one form or another is
necessary for life to exist, and tragic events or uncomfortable events all the time in our lives correct and teach us important things. We create the same learning opportunities with our kids. Is it worse to spank a child, or publicly humiliate them in front of their peers or family, as I have seen many parents do in one form or another as an alternative form of discipline, when they refuse any type of spanking? I would say, although I am strongly against spanking in nearly every single situation imaginable, humiliation by a trusted adult is far, far worse for the child, and yet parents do it all the time.

I think parents need to be reasonable, loving, and do what works for them, and I will trust parents to decide what is appropriate for their

Comments for Spanking

Click here to add your own comments

Defiance requires discipline
by: Lisa

Parenting is sacrificial love. It's not about doing what you want, it's about doing what you need to for the benefit of that child. Far too many parents are afraid to discipline their kids; they only want to talk nicely.

Well, good luck with that. I felt the same way. Still do! But sometimes, some kids just have to push boundaries and only learn by experience. You gotta do what's best for THEM - including being strong with your boundaries and structure, or your rules and structure will be flimsy and fall over the minute that kid pushes against you.

We were preparing for adolescence and adulthood.

Spanking has an appropriate place, so long as it is administered properly.

It's NOT the same thing as hitting a child in the face, head, arm. That is wrong. It's insulting and degrading. Spanking is not the same thing at all, and it's a Utopian argument to try and say differently. It does not damage children if done properly, but actually brings benefit, which is the point.

Defiance requires discipline
by: Lisa

I'm a mom of a 13 yo boy. We spanked him when he was blatantly defiant or rebellious....and believe me, he is as strong willed as his parents.

Spanking is not for every little thing. It's to help a child associate blatant disobedience or defiance with pain, so they learn they don't want to do it again.

It does not require a lot of pain, or long, drawn out. It should always be done in controlled manner, never ever in anger.

With a 2 or 3 yo who is ignoring your direction if other techniques are not working and they insist on disobeying, you give them a couple of swats and say NO. Then you love on them.

When they are a little older, ask them "what did you do?" "why is that wrong?" "how can you handle it better next time?" Give them the answers if they don't know, and repeat the question so they repeat the answer. This is called training.

But some kids are more defiant than others. You tell them you're sorry they have chosen to disobey or rebel against you, and that the rules you have are for their safety and good, because you love them so much, and that they are going to receive 3 swats to help them remember that disobeying or defying parents is not okay. You then give them the swats - we used a wooden spoon, and didn't swat that hard, just enough to hurt, but certainly not with all your might!!

Then we held him and let him cry, and it was amazing....he didn't like the spanking (duh), but he KNEW we loved him, and he KNEW what he was doing was wrong, and actually felt better for being held accountable.

Some kids never need spanking, others do. We didn't have to spank very often, but I'm glad we chose to do so - our son has respect for us (most of the time - he's a teen!), is very respectful of others, and we get compliments all the time.

He felt so guilty when he had lied or been deceitful about something, or being utterly insolent/defiant, that he would even say "Mom, I don't want a spanking, but I know I need one..." heart breaker. Then I would ask why, and he would confess, and I was able to also show him grace and mercy, just as God does to us.

When people are allowed to do wrong things without really being punished, something goes wrong inside....with kids, they need structure and discipline imposed upon them, because they don't have any yet. You're doing them a disservice if you don't provide that.

Respect Parents and Kids
by: Anonymous

It is crazy how emotional people get over this topic - and, I kind of understand why. Children are trusting and defenseless and deserve to be treated with respect. That being said, parents who are struggling to do the best for their children also deserve to be treated with respect - whether or not you agree with their methods.

My husband and I had never spanked our son, but he kept crawling into a place that was potentially dangerous for him to be every time our back was turned. We tried everything we could think of - including blocking the area off (he was very resourceful getting around our blocks), until finally we resorted to a quick hard spank and telling him "NO!" each time he tried - followed by lots of love. We weren't angry. And he learned not to go there. Was there a better way to handle it? Probably, but not being a perfect parent or person, I couldn't figure it out. Still, having an imposed, immediate consequence he could understand seemed better to me than worrying that he would have to deal with the natural consequences of his action.

I have used spanking since then in other situations which I don't feel as good about, though I try to keep it as a last result. To this day I'm not sure what else I could have done in the above scenario, but most of the time when I spank I feel like I'm taking the "easy" way out - that it would be better for me and my kids if I could find a better consequence.

I've seen lots of parents who never spank whose kids are very disciplined and have healthy self-respect and lots who seem completely undisciplined and lacking in respect for themselves or others. Same with families where kids are spanked. So I don't think the physical act of spanking is the biggest factor - just one among many.

To me respecting kids and thinking of them having equivalent status with adults is ridiculous, though. They aren't of lesser worth, but they have different needs. You aren't responsible to discipline your spouse - or any other adult (unless you work in law enforcement - in which case the "discipline" is a lot worse than a quick spank) - so of course an adult is going to resent another adult doing that to them. But disciplining children is one of the primary jobs of parents. (Note: I didn't say "punishing.")

I think it's ironic to see people so bent out of shape about not treating children with respect and love when they're lashing out in anger - and without respect - at other adults, because those adults parent differently.

My hat's off to all the parents who have managed to find ways to find better ways to discipline their children (not those who neglect discipline). I'm trying to be more like you. Please show the same example of love and respect to adults that you show to children.

by: Paul Nichol

"Most importantly, if you parent correctly from the first day, there should never be a need for spanking."

I'd dare say that if you parent correctly from the first day, you stop doing so when you hit your kids. No one is perfect, but that shouldn't be an excuse for spanking.

I like the analogy given by one of the commenters - hitting an animal is abuse. And if you go further, hitting your spouse is abuse. Who cares how much you love him or her? It's still abuse. Why are kids viewed as lesser beings, deserving of being hit?

When you make a statement that isn't out right opposing this practice, you make a stand supporting it. No matter how wishy-washy you try to be (and you seem to be trying hard). Just come out and say it - "I support and endorse children being hit to make them do what parents want."

Help, don't hurt
by: Anonymous

Wow - a light smack out of love and concern is not damaging? Continue to equate love and pain and then wonder why your children choose abusive partners when they grow up. It's National Domestic Violence Awareness month, and I long for the day when we understand as parents that we are part of the problem when we teach our children that it's okay for someone to hurt you as long as they say they love you.

There are other ways to help a tantrum-ing child - distraction, a hug, turning on some soothing music, helping them lie down, teaching self-calming techniques in happy times so they have tools for dealing with their big feelings when they arise.

Don't Spank
by: Kristina Miller

Of course, sparring is consensual, but discipline (of any kind) is never consensual, or it wouldn't be necessary in the first place.

No spanking should ever be done in a violent way, or to "make a child conform to the wishes of an adult." I think we're in complete agreement, yet there is such an emotional recoil against the politically incorrect word "spanking" that it creates arguments among people who agree.

Please don't react emotionally to this topic with others, or judge the methods that other parents choose to use with their kids. If the kids aren't being injured or emotionally damaged, let people choose what is best for their family, and model what you believe is best for yours.

Most importantly, if you parent correctly from the first day, there should never be a need for spanking. Addressing character is the core of all discipline. I have always said that spanking, while not criminal (and it shouldn't be), it is not good discipline, usually a poor choice, and is often hypocritical - There IS always a better way (usually "spank-worthy" situations can be preempted by good parenting in the first place).

..But do you know any parent that parents correctly from the first day? I sure don't! :)

Spanking in nothing like sparring.
by: Kara

The sparring metaphor is very flawed. As the other commenters pointed out, sparring involves two individuals who both knowingly accept the risk of getting hit. And both parties are allowed to hit. So after you hit your kid for misbehaving, it's okay if they hit back, right? If they hit back because they love you and feel your hitting was inappropriate, then it's okay?

I'm sorry, but there is no way to hit in a loving way. The intention is meaningless in this situation. If someone else hit your child, would you give a darn why, or how loving the person felt when they did it? If your child hit you because you really and truly made a mistake, but they said they loved you at the same time, would that be cool? Obviously not.

Hitting never says "I love you." It says that hitting is sometimes an okay way to deal with a problem or a behavior you don't like. I personally think the world could do without a lesson like that.

by: Anonymous

Isn't sparring consensual? Hitting a child to make them conform to the wishes of an adult isn't.

All violence
by: Anonymous

All violence against children IS inherently evil. Sparring practice at Karate is not the same as striking a child with the misguided thought that it will correct their behavior. It may stop the behavior, but it won't change their heart. I'd rather work on character than compliance.

Single Mom of Seven
by: Shawntel

As a mom of seven (14,10,9,6,5,2,8 months) I have to say that it just depends. With over a decade of parenting and seeing how the world is changing, my ever changing knowledge and awareness and the trends of society I think each factor carries a measurable weight. I have been known to "pop" my children, "spank my kids" and give a stern discipline "butt cutting". Each child is different, ages and stages of development and learning styles have to be considered. Thus the techniques of the action and techniques in the general child rearing practices have to be maneuvered accordingly. However ultimately I think anything done with the ultimate intent to guide based on the love you have for your child is acceptable in the end. Children of abuse have be healed to become great parents when the ultimate intend was done from the love. If the intent is to guide, or keep a child from harm if discussed while practicing the spanking and the tone and language is not demeaning I think the result is effective. I personally choose not to judge a person's right to rear their children and the techniques and practices they use. It takes an entire village and as a homeschool mom, I am stronger on days when some of us are weaker and you may be stronger when I am weaker-- thus we have to be careful where we place judgment just be there for the children of any situation.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Discipline Methods.