Do I, Don’t I…(the great debate of spanking)

spanking   I know that you don’t have a “bad seed” (this picture is from the movie “The Bad Seed, just in case you’re too young to be familiar with the movie), but, I wonder if you’ve ever been tempted to spank your child when all the reasoning, time-outs, revocations of privileges hasn’t worked and your child continues doing the same life threatening behavior or at the least harmful behavior.

I personally don’t believe in spanking out of anger, frequently, violently, without setting rules first, and without an explanation and or discussion as to why the spanking may have happened. I will do everything in my power NOT to spank a child, but recently I found myself in a position where, after a 2 hour struggle with a child that I have been babysitting for months, and his harmful behavior continued I gave him a good couple swats to the behind. He didn’t cry, but he melted away. I felt horrible. I tried to talk to him afterwards. I told him he was a good boy but he made choices that weren’t good choices that harmed himself, and his brother, and I asked as to why he would continue making these decisions even though I had removed privileges, put him in time out on a park bench etc. I had utilized all these tactics for the last couple of months, and he still would make the same choices that were detrimental to himself and others. I, of course, told the parent what I had done, and she wasn’t happy (I don’t blame her because I am just the babysitter, and should NEVER have crossed that line no matter what the research states, I apologized to her, and her child).

After this incident I looked into articles on the pros and cons of spanking and believe it or not, there are still no clear cut answers to this. Here’s what I found:


While many pro-spanking parents cling to the effectiveness of the method, a spate of evidence suggests that striking a child often backfires, making him more, not less, unruly. In a 2010 Pediatrics study, 3-year-olds who were spanked more than twice a month were 50 percent more likely to exhibit hostile tendencies by age 5. And the potential downside for a child is severe. In her 2002 review of 88 spanking studies, Dr. Gershoff found that kids who are spanked have a significantly higher risk for aggression, depression, and relationship problems both as children and, later, as adults.

“We’re constantly discovering new risks associated with the act of spanking — like increased anxiety and a number of other mental-health problems — which makes the ‘It worked for me’ argument outdated,” says Catherine Taylor, Ph.D., assistant professor of global community health and behavioral sciences at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, in New Orleans. She points out that in the past kids breathed their parents’ secondary cigarette smoke, rode in cars without seat belts, and lived in homes with lead-based paint. “Research has since shown these things to be unhealthy for children, and spanking is no different,” she says.


However, not everyone agrees with Dr. Taylor’s spanking analysis. One camp of experts argues that an openhanded swat to the buttocks is harmless — and, in fact, can be helpful. Den A. Trumbull, M.D., president of the American College of Pediatricians (which split from the AAP in 2002 over various policy differences) believes spanking is a proven way to reinforce milder disciplinary tactics. He cites a 2005 review of 26 spanking studies published in Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review. The researchers concluded that spanking disobedient 2- to 6-year-olds worked just as well at reforming their behavior as 13 alternative disciplinary approaches (such as giving a time-out, reasoning with a child, and taking away privileges) as long as the parent lovingly and rationally explained the reasons for the action. Only when the corporal punishment was severe (such as striking the face) or when it was the family’s sole discipline method was it deemed harmful compared with other methods.

This article is very informative but I found that experts from all over haven’t reached a conclusion on spanking, however, they do seem to agree that if spanking does happen it should be open handed, on the bum, NEVER THE FACE, and explained to the child as to why in a very loving way. Children shouldn’t feel like they are bad children, they are unloved, and that they are out of control as to when a spanking could happen. It should never be a frequent form of punishment either.