Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Pros and Cons of Spanking

Some of the parents who hit their kids are evil sadistic monsters. This post is not meant for them.

The rest of the parents who hit their kids are just ignorant. They call it spanking to make it seem harmless. They talk about tempting wall sockets and about kids running to the road every time they hear cars. These people don't have a choice, see, but to hit their kids. It's for their own good. Here's a good one: Spare the rod, spoil the child. It sounds true, so it must be true.

Here are the pros and cons of hitting a child:

Pros:
1. It makes sense if you like hitting people who can't hit you back.

Cons:
1. Your kids sometimes feel the outside world is scary. With time, they learn the people they can always rely on are their parents. By hitting their kids, the parents break that trust. The home becomes a violent place while the world outside becomes the relatively safe place. When this happens, you have failed your kids and you have failed in your commitment to your family. For every child who grows up to say being spanked put him on the right path, there are two who grow up with distrust for authority and cynicism toward the world because the people assigned by fate to take care of them had abused that role.

2. Spanking is simply unnecessary.

Your kid says something you don't like? Use a certain authoritative tone to correct him. Let him know you don't like what you hear.

Your kid runs around in the mall to the point that makes you feel uncomfortable? Use a more authoritative voice. Let the kid know this is unacceptable.

Your kid is about to run to the road? Use an emergency hopefully-once-in-a-lifetime tone. Let him know this will not happen again. The tone of voice that will make this clear is within you. It might be harder to find this voice than to find a hand to hit your child with, but when you hit your kid after he runs to the road you give the message that he's being punished because he was caught doing something bad, and that if you weren't there, he would have been fine; when you go down to his level and use your "never again" voice, you have the opportunity to teach him a real lesson, which was, after all, the point here.

3. There is a large gap between the number of people who hit their kids when they run to the road or put their wet fingers in sockets, and the number of people who use these examples as excuses. Most of the people who are ready to hit their kids when they do something dangerous, will hit them when they throw their food off the table, when they talk back, when they refuse to go to sleep at night, and ironically, when they hit other kids. If you're ready to hit, you will hit. And your kid will learn that hitting is what people are supposed to do when they don't get their way.

4. Some people, like a commenter below this article, argue that spanking is a last-resort disciplinary tool found in the parent's tool box. After everything has been tried and failed, thankfully we can dig inside our tool box, and look at that! He adds that "if all has been tried after a time and has not ended in a turn-around in the erring behavior, then spanking should be used." That would somehow make sense if that guy only had to spank his kid once. Obviously, if spanking is that last-resort tool that unlike those other failed tools, has turned around the erring behavior, then there will not be a need to hit the kid again! If this commenter hit his kid more than once, then spanking has failed just as badly as the other disciplinary methods did, and all we have left is an empty justification for pointless violence.

I know I'm more or less just preaching to the choir. People who feel the same as I do about hitting children will agree with me. On the other hand, people who do hit their kids will continue to diminish the physical and emotional pain they inflict by calling it spanking. They will continue to talk about last-resorts, tool-boxes, and electrical sockets. They will continue believing they are right.

Still, there might be a small percentage of parents who spank because that's all they know, but deep down they feel it's wrong. If this post has helped them realize their gut feeling is the one they should follow, then it did its job. 

68 comments:

  1. I am one of six children (five boys) who my Mom raised on her own from the time that I was very young. She had a rough job, to be sure. She "spanked" us. Actually, she often used a belt, but we became adept at shielding most of the blows with a pillow. From what I can tell, none of us suffered any long lasting ill-effects.

    Still, when I became a parent, it was immediately clear to me that I could never even think about striking my child -- for any reason. It just didn't make any sense to me for many of the reasons that you listed in your post. My eldest daughter is now in college and my youngest is entering the 5TH grade. They've always been good children (not perfect, but good) so I've never even resorted to raising my voice. Discipline by voice inflection, over the eyeglass looks, furled brows, and loss of privileges have been the tools in my toolbox, but the most relied upon method of getting their attention has simply been talking with them.

    I've never regretted adopting and sticking to this approach to parenting. That's something that I doubt spankers can honestly say.

    I know that I don't have all of the answers to parenting, so I do not comment here pretending to be some sort of authority. Rather, like you, I hope that a parent who does spank, reads this and takes a moment to reconsider.

    Ray

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  2. Maybe reason number 5. According to Alfie Kohn (http://www.alfiekohn.org/miscellaneous/spoiling.htm), a study published in Pediatrics last May linked spanking with children who later become demanding and easily frustrated. Not what the buzz about how so-called indulgent parenting leads to spoiled children would lead you to expect.

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  3. Totally agree with you here. Well writen! Mrs. LIAYF and I have not, and will never, use violence as a means of discipline.

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  4. I agree with your post. I was smacked as a child, mainly around the ears. Children need to have things explained to them - why they mustn't just run into the road. Parents should be consistent too. Most children will behave because they are afraid of being spanked. The naughty ones just don't care, so there isn't much point

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  5. Wholeheartedly agree. I wrote an article about this on my blog recently, in reaction to a woman in texas who was sentenced to five years probation for spanking her 15 month old. Despite the ease of which you can get the death penalty in Texas, spanking your kid, let alone a 15 month who doesn't even understand why you're spanking him is horrible.

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  6. I agree 100%. You wrote this in such an awesome way and much more even mannered than when I wrote mine. I cant stand stuff like this and when I wrote about it, i was so pissed. You will get more people thinking about it. I am glad my wife told me about this. I see it as hitting. People try to defend it. There is NO defending spanking, none at all

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  7. Wow. I am so horribly offended by the hateful and mean spirited tone of this post. There are so many inaccuracies and generalizations that I couldn't contain pointing them out in a comment. I wrote a post. It's worth checking out.

    http://www.mamastillwearsgucci.com/2011/06/if-youre-not-doing-it-their-way-youre.html

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  8. Your post is judgmental and myopic at best. After reading it the only person I feel compelled to spank now is your mother.

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  9. Ray, thanks. And thanks for understanding I'm not here to be too preachy. I make terrible mistakes as a parent, but spanking will not be one of them. I do raise my voice to a level that scares me a little too often, and I wish I were better. But it's hard. My 15-months-old girl is at her crying-because-she-can't-speak phase and my 3yo boy is at the I-don't-want-to-go-to-sleep!-I-hate-my-room! phase, so I make mistakes. And while I will never judge a parent who loses his nerve with the insanity of parenting, I have to say that my father's anger only made me more defiant, while one look of disappointment from my mom when she found out I stole some candies from the store was enough to make sure I would never steal anything again for the rest of my life.

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  10. Wolf Pascoe, there was another study that showed kids who were spanked grew up to be more aggressive and didn't do as well in school. I'm a little skeptical when it comes to these researches, but at least the aggressive part makes sense. From the comments I read by parents who spanked, it's clear they think their kids are better behaved than my non-spanked kids. They think "sparing the rod" means I spend my days trying to make my kids love me at any cost. Truth is, I expect a lot from my kids and I have little tolerance for crossing the clear lines we set. Being strict without hitting my kids is possible, which is something these people don't seem to get.

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  11. James, thanks. I'm always surprised at the fact so many otherwise-normal people think it's okay. I'm glad you're not one of them.

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  12. Anji, I know what you mean. Parents who spank get very defensive when "high horse" "elitists" like me talk about spanking, but other than repeating talking points, they simply can't use logic to argue that spanking makes sense. There's a lot of anger at people like me supposedly telling them how they should or should not raise their kids, but nothing about the underlying argument that spanking is pointless.

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  13. Daddy by Default, my neighbors spank their 18 months old kid, saying, "It's in one ear, out the other with him." 18 months old. It's insane.

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  14. This Daddy, thanks, although I probably came out more aggressive than I planned. I couldn't help myself. I even put the post aside for the night to cool off and make it less offensive, but it didn't help--the people who feel judged think they need to attack me and my offensive tone rather than attack any of my points.

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  15. Gucci Mama, I'll be happy to go to your site and answer there.

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  16. Doctor, that joke wasn't funny the first time you told it, on Gucci Mama's site.

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  17. Actually I told it first on your site and it's not a joke. I seriously would like to punch your mother right in her lady place.

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  18. And that's what it comes down to. Spanking mother makes this argument all about politics on her blog (we have MaoBama and Che Barack in one comment! Well done!), and spanking father makes violent sexist comments. Both great ambassadors to the cause.

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  19. I was spanked by my mother and now as an adult I don't like to hug her. The hugging aversion only came after adulthood. She never spanked hard in fact I remember it did not hurt physically or even have a sting to it... its the helplessness and psychological hurt that I remember. I know she loved me and my sisters say I was cuddled with and hugged more than other siblings but yeah I remember the spanking more. Also wanted to add it never deterred me from bad behavior unless my mom was in the room verses if my dad (who never spanked) gave me that "I'm disappointed" look it stung and I never did It again... period...

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  20. You're the one who brought politics into it, sweets, not I. I merely responded to your increasingly ridiculous assertations.

    What you do in your home with your children is your business. All I ask is that you extend me the courtesy. Sadly, I've never met a liberal who can resist the impulse to impress his erroneous views on everyone around him.

    Cute that you dismiss me as "angry mother" on twitter and "spanking mother" here. Please. I spanked my children once. Even your government school education should have been able to teach you one time doesn't make a pattern.

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  21. Hitting, spanking, humiliating...abusing. At the end of the day it's really just a parent having a temper tantrum. The result is generally lack of trust, learning to rely on lying, and a lifetime of maladaptive coping strategies. Children need love, guidance, and the gift of trust.
    Katie Hurley, LCSW
    www.practicalkatie.com

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  22. Good post. I understand and respect your position. I am, however, not ignorant.

    My friends' children, children that are disciplined with time out and "authoritative tones" or redirection are children i will not have to my house for dinner. I will not go out in public with them. I will not let my kids play with them unless i am present. They are fearless to consequences, impolite, feral little angels.

    My two children, which i raise as a single father, are both less than 5 and are no stranger to the random swat on the rear or hand slap. It isnt a daily occurrence. Or even weekly. Its as needed. That means it may happen three times a day or three times a month. Its up to them.

    My kids are exceptionally well behaved. A marked difference from before when i was not employing the stinging swat. They not understand there is a true consequence for breaking the rules, and not merely removal of privileges, time out, and a stern voice. Its all of it. And the pop on the ass is what truly wakes them up and makes them think twice before doing it again.

    In addition to this i provide love, guidance, protection, etc, etc, etc. But i have a jod to do. I have two humans that i must raise to be respectable friends, lovers, and citizens of society. They have to know there are true consequences. And not just a stern talking too.

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  23. Ahhh yes I am Che Barak but you are the one who wants to tell parents how they should discipline their children, and if we disagree with your position you label us as "Spankers" which you clearly use as a pejorative. Now I am trying to think of which political figure was famous for that kind of ad hominem attack in order to make their point and diminish the opposition?? OK...let me think...Oh yeah Mao. Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler...take your pick they were all very adept at your skill set.

    Dude you are not about dialogue you are about labels, and seriously your mother should have had her ovaries removed at birth.

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  24. I know I am new here and this is my first time commenting but you generalize those that don't agree kinda of like the idiots that say if you aren't with America THEN you are for the terrorists.

    I wasn't spanked when I was a child but when I mouthed off, my mom would flick me with her fingernails across my cheek. If that finger went into that "Ok" hand gesture I knew I was to shut the f**k up cause I was out of line. And guess what, I DON"T HIT PEOPLE or go up and smack them if they mouth of to me.

    If I told my child multiple times not to run in the road by using a nice but stern tone and then they do it again, you best know that I am gonna get down and be at eye level with them and spank their behind and tell them not to EVER do that again. People coddle (my sister did it with her daughter and my niece is a terror and doesn't listen EVER) their children and make them happy and try to make everything feel awesome and feel goody, well, that aint the way the world is. the way you are speaking is that every child should be given a trophy for showing up and not winning! i highly disagree with that.

    Also, there is a fine line between a spanking and "violence" as some of the comments above refer to it as. My dad didn't spank me and he didn't hit me. But the emotional and metal "violence" he put me through was FAR worse than an spanking I would have ever received. Just because you're spanked doesn't mean you will grown up and just punch a fucker for no reason. So to say that someone is spanked they are going to go out and pull a Timothy McVeigh is absurd.

    Officer: Why did you hit the nice old lady?

    Punk: Because my mom spanked me.

    Give. Me. A. Break.

    However, there are parents that take it too far and use it as a way of getting frustration out. I couldn't agree with you more that this is wrong.

    But for everything else you said above, I am gonna have to say I disagree with you 100%.

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  25. ~DokterKenny - I respect your right to air your opinion, but why resort to the personal insults about people's mothers? And about inflicting violence on them too? It just nullifies any argument you make - and makes you seem nasty too.

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  26. 2bkate, thanks for the comment. I also don't remember physical pain, but my dad will forever be the person I ran away from as a kid. There were mean kids at school and there were child murderers in our neighborhood, but there was only one person I feared. I still think he loved me and that he simply didn't know better.

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  27. Practical Parenting, thank you. And I completely agree.

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  28. Mike, thank you for the comment, but you are making my point. Unfortunately for parents who spank, there is no way to prove that spanking works. There is a way to prove the coddling creates spoiled brats, but that doesn't mean all kids who are not spanked grow up as spoiled brats. I have my own proof. I demand a lot off my kid (the 3-year-old boy. The 1yo can do whatever she wants), and I get good results, considering the difficult age he's in. I can prove you can get good kids without spanking, but you can't prove spanking is what makes your kids good. I don't know if I make sense. I respect what you say, but spanking can't be proven to be a valuable thing just because your kids behave and non-spanked kids you know don't behave. I know spanked and non-spanked kids who are brats. If that means there's another piece of the equation, then spanking should be taken out.

    And like I wrote on the post, if you find yourself spanking a few times a day, doesn't that tell you spanking didn't work?

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  29. Doctor, first you say you want to hit my mom and now you get offended because I labeled you? Grow up.

    I don't have any need to engage in a conversation with you, but just in case someone else makes the same wrong assumption you did, I didn't call you Che Barack and I didn't call her MaoBama. I'm actually a Lefty. She used these two instead of writing Obama because her hatred for Obama stops her from writing his name. She hates him because he wants to steal her kids.

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  30. Yep you are lefty..best example there is

    Still want to punish your mom for having you regardless of your judgments.

    For the record if you haven't read Jonathon Swift you might want to start. You could learn something.

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  31. The iHubby, you wrote a long comment so I feel bad about just directing you back to the general points I made in my comment to Mike: you can't prove spanking works. It's not fair that there are two sides of an argument and one side can't be proven, but that's the way it is. Coddled kids, raised by parents whose only concerned is to be loved by their kids may grow up as spoiled brats, but that doesn't mean kids who weren't spanked will grow up spoiled. You put words in my mouth when you say I think kids should get trophies for showing up and be made to smile all the time. I expect a lot from my boy, and he knows that, but that doesn't mean hitting/spanking will ever be a part of my toolbox. Parenting is hard work. I wish I could spank my boy and make him perfect, but I can't. The thing is that no one can.

    You talk about your dad, and I appreciate the honesty. However, I don't think that changes any of what I wrote on the post. I don't think people who spank are evil, but I do think they're making a bad parenting decision. Parents can do terrible things that have nothing to do with spanking/hitting. There are many ways to be a bad parent. I just picked one.

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  32. @BloggerFather

    You are right, i am sorry for putting words in your mouth, however you are saying that all parents that spank are abusers of children and maliciously hitting them and violently tearing them apart by spanking them. in that way you are doing the same thing I was doing.

    As for the proof if you don't do it works and if you do it makes that child grow up to hate the world I think that is bull. I told you about how I was flicked by mom's fingernail on my cheek (a lot cause I had a big mouth as a child) and you knw what, I don't flinch when someone goes to touch my face. My mom also spanked me on a few occassions and it was due to me being WAY out of line and not listening and I still hug her everytime I see her. I don't look at her as someone that abused me, and you know what someone people may look at it that way and I can't say that they are wrong for having those feelings, but I guess I someone that can prove your point wrong. Cause, I was spanked and flicked when i did something wrong and you know what, I didn't do it again.

    I was open about my dad and that you for understanding that. I respect that. but his mental and emtional strain and abuse he put me through for 20 years of my life was way worse than any spanking. Sad thing is, I wish he would have spanked me. It would have been some form of touch or way of him showing he cared by trying to discipline me. But, alas he had his other ways.

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  33. iHubby, you can't say you're sorry for putting words in my mouth and then continue to put words in my mouth. I never said people who spanked were violent abusers. I did call spanking Hitting, which is still what it is. Now, I can't imagine what a flick on the nose consists of, but I really can't imagine it falling into the category of spanking. It's a flick on the nose. I don't know, maybe I don't get it.

    And even if we say you were spanked, you still can't prove this is what worked for you. You can't tell for sure if a non-nose-flickin' childhood would have made you an insolent brat. You just can't say that.

    Now, you're right that spanking will not necessarily make a child into a maladjusted, authority-hating adult. Losing trust in the parents as authority figures can make you do that, and spanking can contribute to that loss, but there are many ways to fail as parents. I'm not saying I won't fail. I'm just saying I won't hit my kids doing it.

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  34. Very interesting post. In our family, Mom was the spanker, Dad was the "not-spanker." (His idea of disciplining children was to give you that *devastated* look, followed by a sad shake of the head and words along the lines of, "Today, I'm ashamed of you.") We all left home the minute we physically could and never again spoke to the bitch. I have to admit that some of my siblings never did make it right with Dad towards the end, because they blamed, and still blame, him for not ending Mom's "spanking." OTOH, she never saw her children again for the rest of her life. She died without seeing anyone (except me) of them, once they turned 16 and managed to escape. So, I'm not going to take sides on the debate. I just want you spanking moms and dads out there to know that your children will remember, and they might just decide they want nothing to do with you afterwards. Remember that the next time you think about spanking your kids.

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  35. I post this anonymously because I'm not proud that I spank my children. My mother spanked me, my father didn't. He also didn't really give a damn what I did and his idea of disciplining me was to make my mother do it. I love my mother because she gave a damn, and I hated my father for many years because he was an ignorant pos. My wife was also spanked and gives her share of spankings. We are both pretty normal, but we also had many much more destructive, disgusting, abuse perpetrated against us by people who were not our parents. I do not suffer from a distrust for authority and I did not get away from my mother as fast as possible. I actually feel no animosity at all towards her for spanking me, maybe it is just part of rationalizing my spanking as ok. I think telling your children, and making sure that they understand that you love them unconditionally is more important to their long term happiness than the presence or absence of spanking. I'll admit it (albeit anonymously) I hit my kids, and I am neither proud nor guilt filled about that fact.

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  36. Bloggerfather -

    Let me first say that im not attacking you for your view for because you disagree with mine. Ive read some of the comments on this post and the other and they are quite vitriolic and i wonder if an angry teenager wrote them rather than a responsible parent. I've followed you on twitter for some time now and read you blog and enjoy both. Keep it up.

    We are both adults and can respectfully disagree, and that is merely my position here. Im not being argumentative toward you just so you know.

    As far as my kids go, i tried the hands off method at first. Maybe i dont know how, maybe they are too head strong like their old man, maybe a lot of things. But once i got fed up and popped their asses a miraculous thing occurred. Behavior. Improved.

    And you are right, the method you discuss, that you employ, is beneficial and effective for some kids. i was typing on my phone and left a lot of my thoughts out (and ton of errors in). It just doesnt work on mine. I have used both methods and one works and the other doesnt.

    and yes, i know spanked kids that are brats and a non spanked kid that isnt. so it could be just the people i know :)

    Keep the good posts coming. You have a fan here, even when i disagree.

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  37. I was going to make a comment here on how self-rightous and holier than thou your post was, but then I realized you would probably just sit in your ivory tower and make some remark about how you know more than me! I just don't get how you can feel it's okay to pass judgement on ANYONE about ANYTHING, but at least your blog got a lot of attention!

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  38. How many children do you have blogger man? And when were you appointed Mr. I-Know-Everything-There-Is-About-Everyone-And-Their-Children? And why is it that just because you don't believe in something it automatically wrong for everyone else to do it? Not only am I a parent of two beautifully behaved children who do receive a spanking from time to time but I also was spanked as a child. I have no anger towards anyone and actually puts myself before others even in the times when I know I will be "screwed over". I love deeply for those who even hate me and I am constantly doing anonymous good will. Why is it that just because my parents spanked me and were strict with me, you automatically assume that I as well as every other spanked child, has anger and "issues". I personally believe that our environment produces the "issues". That our society deems what "issues" we should have and why. My mother is bi-polar and a drug and alcoholic therefore shouldn't I be? She also beat me with shoes when I was a child. I should be hostile, violent and beat my own children right? My father worked in a bar and was also an alcoholic. Again, shouldn't I be? And he emotionally abused me by telling me how fat I was. I should be anorexic or bulimic and depressed with serious self esteem issues.
    I'm not. I CHOOSE not to be any of these because I know I am better. I CHOOSE not to give in to society's way of thinking because I am better than that. I am loving, compassionate, non-judgemental, caring, kind, funny and bubbly.
    I get tired of people like who who think that your way of thinking is always right no matter what. I get tired of people telling me the right and wrong way of parenting when they have no clue how my children are or what works and doesn't work for them. Spanking doesn't work for you. Fine. But it works for others as long as it doesn't go to the extremes. But don't be hostile and tell others they are wrong according to you. That only shows them that a non-spanker is arrogant, rude and extremely judgmental.

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  39. Let's just sit around with child rapists and sing kyumbya and "talk" about their bad choices instead of placing them in such a negative place like "jail" After all, talking it out cures EVERYONE! Let's look at th round table that we had with Osama, that went over well once we busted out the stern voice and then hugged it out over some cookies.

    I don't have a problem with people that spank, or people that don't. I do, however, take issue with people using the sales technique of "if it works for me, it can work for you"

    I have children that would never "need" a spanking because their natural anxiety of harm is there and so when you say something is going to hurt, they believe you. I also have children that do not understand pain, empathy, or death. If I say a car running into them is going to hurt, they touch the car and don't believe me. But you bet your last $ when I spank them for disobeying a direct safety comand, they at least know one consequence. I don't care if they fear me spanking them because they walked into the road with out looking. I do care that they will live to a ripe old age and, hopefully, won't die by getting hit by a bus.

    Just because you have 5 or 6 or 20 great children, doesn't mean that what worked works for everyone, it simply means that it worked for those kids.

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  40. Wow. You guys can disagree with this gentleman without the added acrimony. All that does is serve as a reinforcement that parents that spank are quick to anger and lash out.

    Grow up.

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  41. ThePoliticalCat, I know what you mean. I had a longer comment, but I should probably leave it there, because the world doesn't need another pathetic angry fight between my dad and me.

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  42. Anonymous, when I saw the first Anonymous comment I was saying to myself, "Here we go, now the real hate starts." So of course your comment was a pleasant surprise.

    I don't know what to tell you. I definitely don't think you should feel guilt about being the best parent you can be--that's all any of us can do. I don't think spanking works for me or for anyone else, and I don't think parents should spank their children, but that's not the worst thing you can do as a parent. I've met parents (online) who spanked, and they seem like great people and great parents, but every time they mention spanking I get saddened.

    Spanking is already on the decline, and considering so few parents who spank actually do it in public, I think I just might outlive this thing.

    I think that in most situations, spanking is done by good parents who make bad decisions, but it doesn't make them bad parents. I will outlive spanking, but I won't outlive bad parenting.

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  43. Mike, thanks! And thanks for your more recent comment too. I think a lot of the angry commenters came from the Mama Gucci site, which would make them likely to be Tea Party people, which means they're angry by their own definition. They know I was sent here by Obama to test the water before parenthood is being nationalized.

    I actually have a feeling a lot of the people she sent here, who didn't leave an angry comment here or there, disagreed with her way of arguing but simply didn't feel like picking a fight with a blogger they otherwise liked.

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  44. Denny P 3, I don't sit in towers and make judgments. I hire people to do that for me. I will pass to them the memo that said NO ONE should pass judgment on ANYONE else on the INTERNET.

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  45. Anonymous, have you never looked at a parent who--let's take the other side--told his kid, "I'm counting to 10, and if you're not coming out of the store by 10, no TV today!" Only to restart the recount from 20 when the kid didn't care? I look at these parents and I want to scream at them, "You're doing it wrong! You've reached 0, so there should be no more countdowns! Take your kid and go!"

    I have a blog, which means a post like that might come in the future. I won't write it to get blog visits or to get Twitter followers. I'll write it because I'm a parent with a blog and opinions. I make terrible mistakes as a parent, and I'm far from the ideal parent I thought I would be, and if someone calls me out on my parenting decisions, I will get defensive too, but that doesn't mean they won't be right or that they won't have the right to judge me even if they're wrong.

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  46. More recent Anonymous, you lost me at kyumbya.

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  47. I sent no one here; they came on their own to see how ridiculous this is.

    I would appreciate it if you could perhaps bring yourself to stop making shit up. YOU are the one who made this political, not me. I have not mentioned anything about this being an Obama issue or a left vs. right issue nor did I EVER say or imply "Obama wants my babies".

    Don't put words in my mouth. I realize it makes you feel like a big man to belittle me, but you have zero credibility.

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  48. Wow. This is some great drama! Who knew so many spankophiles read dadblogs? I figured anyone who read anything about parenting knew that the jury is pretty in about the uselessness and harm of corporal punishment.

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  49. I view spanking as I do leashes on children: admission by parents that they are incapable of parenting. If someone is incapable of disciplining their child without hitting them, then it is THEIR problem, and they need to analyze why they are so ineffective. I do not hit my wife, my friends, clients, neighbors, students, colleagues...I reserve physical violence for dangerous people who would harm me if I didn't act violently. It is inconceivable that I would use violence against someone smaller than me. It is even more inconceivable that I would use violence against someone who I'm trying to TEACH how to be a human being.

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  50. Well...I can't really weigh in on the spanking thing. I never spanked my gal, not even once. My boy got one spanking (when he ran into the road) but my hand was fighting itself even to give it so that it came out more as a love pat that he didn't even feel through the diaper and his jeans. But I have to say that there have been times during my gal's teenagerhood when I honestly, honestly wondered if it might have been better if I *had* spanked her. Or grounded her more. Or something. I doubt it would have been better, but sometimes I do wonder.

    In any case, I went over to stick up for you on the indignant/gucci mama blog. I can't say for certain that spanking is or isn't right or wrong 100% of the time, but vicious & mocking I know you're not!

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  51. I used to be spanked by my parents whenever I did something wrong...I did not appreciated a lot at that time, but I really do know!

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  52. Beta Dad, between Gucci Mama and that Kenneth Flask character who wants to beat up my mom, the parents who spank got some sad representation here. I don't believe they are, in general, crazy and violent like these two, but they are wrong. The jury is in, though, and hopefully they will find out about it sooner or later.

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  53. Rob, spanking is ignorant and it's an example of lazy parenting. I don't mean ignorant as in Michael-Jackson-on-South-Park-ignorant. They simply don't stop to think why spanking at least can't be proven to work better than not spanking. And when I say lazy, I admit, like I said, to be a lazier parent than I hoped I'd be. I'm not taking the time to teach the older kid, and the younger one is pretty much on her own, because she's a second child... But no matter how badly I do as a parent, I will not hit my kids or teach them that violent, whether with a belt or with a gentle pat, is a solution.

    My dad spanked me. Not too much, but enough for me to know a mistake would get me spanked. But then when some guy punched him during a road rage incident and my dad didn't get back at him--well that showed me what was really going on. I was little, so he could hit me. He was a big man when it came to small people.

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  54. Jill, thanks for standing up for me, but I really don't see her as a logical person worthy of debate. The fact that her post was about how I personally attacked HER even though she only spanked her kids once, is enough to show she's an insane egomaniac (if that whole MaoBama and His Activist Judges bit didn't give you enough of a hint).

    Your daughter is great, but she's a teenager. I don't have a teenager, so all I know is what I remember from being one: teenagers are tough. They test the limits of society, and especially of those closest to them. If they want to do something and you say No, and they do it anyway, and they get positive results, it's proof you're always wrong. If you let them do something and the result is negative, it's your fault. There are a lot of opportunities for them to get you and blame you, and all you can say is, "It's just a phase..." -- But looking back at what you could have done is probably not helping. Like I wrote on the post, if spanking were that miracle solution to all behavioral problems, then parents wouldn't have had to do it more than once. And if it's not better than other stuff parents have in that "toolbox," then there's no point in hitting kids. Good luck!

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  55. "if spanking were that miracle solution to all behavioral problems, then parents wouldn't have had to do it more than once. And if it's not better than other stuff parents have in that "toolbox," then there's no point in hitting kids."

    Yeah, that is a good point. And my gal at fifteen was SO much easier than fourteen. A lot of it was bitterness about moving out the suburbs. But MAN! The way she would talk at 14! And even some at 15. I would think, "I NEVER EVER EVER would have talked to my parents in that tone of voice!" Because I was scared. Because I got spanked.

    While I'm being talked back to or sassed by a child who depends on me and all and all has things pretty darn good, spanking can look a little appealing in retrospect. But I'm glad I didn't do it. I screwed up a-plenty, but I'm glad spanking wasn't in my repertoire.

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  56. I have to agree with your points here. As for me, spanking is okay as long as your child realize what he/she did and that he/she must not do it again. You have to explain everything to them so that they won't have some sort of grudges.

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  57. Spanking is definitely unnecessary. That itself says it all. You don't need to hurt anyone just to tell them that they did something wrong. A simple explanation can say it all.

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  58. Spanking would not make a wrong doing of our kids right so why bother? It's better if we just explain things to them.

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  59. It's easy to see that spanking doesn't make any sense at all. The "pro" you have listed can easily tell anyone who plans to spank their children that they are not doing anything good.

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  60. You know why I don't spank my kids? Because I'm only tempted to do it out of anger. And acting on anger only turns into trouble and abuse. I saw the other end of that when I was a child, and when I had kids I was determined I wasn't going to follow the route I saw growing up.
    So we use other means of discipline in my house. And even though they are young, my kids are turning out to be some of the coolest, smartest people I've ever met.

    Thanks for the great article and blog. I just stumbled across it and will be following you in the future.


    - And I'm the Dad (http://andimthedad.com)

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  61. And I'm the Dad, thanks! And welcome.

    I have to believe parents who say they are completely calm and collected when they spank are telling the truth, but for some reason it doesn't make it feel any better to me. Maybe it's even worse. At least if you hit your kid out of anger you express a human reaction to a stressful situation, rather than a calculated violent gesture.

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  62. Agreed.

    I come from a family of conservative Christians. Some of them have quoted the Bible to me: "Spare the rod, spoil the child." (from Proverbs 13:24) Apparently, if I'm not physically applying a hard rod of some kind to my children's buttocks as discipline, I am damning them to a life of wild, undisciplined living. Never mind that the same particular word is most often translated as "tribe" -- e.g. "authority". Furthermore, the people I know who were spanked as kids did not turn out any better than those who weren't. You can imagine that I just don't agree with these people.

    I'll get off my soapbox now. I could be here all day. :-)

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  63. I think whether you spank your kids or not, what matters is if the reason for spanking/ lesson is learned by the child.

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  64. This posting and all the comments along with it has made me realize one thing, there is no correct parenting approach. Whether it is spanking or time out or taking away privileges, the wanted outcome is making the child listen. As a parent of four, I have spanked a few and have not spanked a few and there has been no difference either way. I know I'm a small test portion but in my opinion, you do what you need to do as a parent. What works for one will not work for another.

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  65. Oldskoolstyle, I understand what you're saying. I wish my 3yo boy listened more, especially when it comes to dangerous stuff (although I wouldn't mind him listening more in general). There are great moments and terrible moments with him, but no matter how I deal with it, there's a place I won't go. There have been some comments here suggesting I said a kid will grow up maladjusted if he's spanked. I don't believe that at all. But as long as I believe spanking is hitting, and as long as I can't say, "I hit my kids," then I know this will never be a part of what some people call the toolbox of parenting.

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  66. This is a ridiculous generalization. I was spanked as a child, as was my brother, my husband, and ALL of my friends. NONE of us have ever committed violent crimes against others just because things don't go our way, and I have the BEST relationship with my parents. Those people I know who were NOT spanked, have behavioral problems, entitlement attitudes, lack accountability for their actions, are more disrespectful towards others, and are generally lazier and less productive members of society. I have two degrees, speak three languages, have traveled all over the world, and always treat other people with respect because if spanking taught me one thing it is that there are consequences for bad actions. Violence does not necessarily beget violence so spanking does not equal aggressive children. Beatings equal aggressive or emotionally unstable children. There is a difference between a whack on the tush to get a kid to know you mean business and a flat out, closed-fist beating. You act as if children being fearful of their parents is a bad thing, and that is EXACTLY the problem with children today. Children are no longer afraid of their parents or the consequences that come from their poor behavior so they act however they want. People wonder why we see an increasing number of violent acts in school and it's because no one is teaching these children respect or fear of negative consequences. Parents are in charge, and children need to understand that, and if words or tone of voice do not work, a little physical discipline goes a long way.

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  67. All you bring are theories that conveniently justify spanking. You start by telling me I'm using a ridiculous generalization, then continue to tell me kids who aren't spanked are lazy, disrespectful brats who are actually the reason for school violence. Kids who weren't spanked end up as the violent members of society. That's what you're saying. Well, thanks for putting me in my place for using ridiculous generalizations.

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