Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Incomplete Opinion on Spanking Your Children

I was not spanked as a kid. My older brother was spanked once, it did nothing and so my parents abandoned the idea. Both of my parents were spanked throughout their childhood.

I respect the idea of trying it to see what the results are and then moving forward based on those results. At the same time though, I can't help but think I would be hitting my kids. Now I don't have children and so I might be completely oblivious and maybe I'll have an itching desire to spank them... though that just seems ridiculous to me.

An old roommate of mine was very firm with the idea of spanking. No questions, he is spanking his kids. His argument was that as a parent you need to state the roles of the household very clearly. Parents are boss, kids follow parents rules. While this does make sense I can't help but compare it to dog training. Dogs are pack animals and it is very important that you state your superiority to the dog. The dog is part of your pack and if the dog doesn't feel this then the dog will likely act out.

However... this is a dog. Not a child.

Sidebar... I am by NO MEANS violent with my dog. I love him to death and yes, he gets a smack on the head once in a while when he jumps on the counter but otherwise my dog leads a pretty cushy life. Also, dogs are tough cookies. Yes, there are other methods of disciplining a dog but I genuinely tried many others (formed my opinion based on research!) and giving him a smack is the only one that works. I feel like I'm digging myself into a hole here... bare with me!

In any case, I feel that there are much less-harmful ways of disciplining a child. Taking away favourite items (TV, video games, etc) or giving a time-out or sending them to their room. I do not think that spanking your child is a mature method of discipline.

I think my opinion (at this point in my life) on this comes from a few things:
1. The way my parents disciplined me (no spanking)
2. The fact that I don't have kids yet and thus cannot form a complete opinion.
3. My complete lack of understanding and hatred towards violence.

I admit my opinion is not completely formed and there are holes to my argument but I'm interested in other peoples thoughts on this. Do you have kids and do you spank them? Were you spanked? What led you to the opinion you have on spanking?


  1. Ashley2:20 PM

    Very interesting.
    I too do spank my dog when he is bad, and like you this is the best form of discipline I found that worked. I too do not beat my dog but he does get a swat on the ass with a rolled up newspaper when its needed.
    Like you I wasnt' spanked as a child (I think once when I was very small but I held a pillow over my bum). But am certain that I would spank my children. I'm not certain but I have a hard time believeing in the time out method etc. However like you again I have no kids so I have no idea.
    LIke the blog post though something to think about.

  2. For me the key issue is not whether or not spanking "works". Physical pain can modify behaviour. The question is does physical punishment help build up the sort of person you want your child to be.

    This is the position put forward by Barbara Colroso ( who advocates for parenting to be centered on dignity. Her test for parenting strategies and techiniques is "does this maintain the my child's dignity and my own".

    Beyond this principle, we lead and teach by doing. I feel spanking legitimizes violence outside of a public/personal safety situations. When a parent spanks a child, the parent is giving a powerful lesson on when its acceptable to be violent.

    Great post and good questions. Thanks.