For as long as long as there have been parents and children there have been the act of spanking children; it’s most commonly used as a method of discipline for unruly children. It is not a practice that is accepted everywhere in the world, in fact in some places spanking kids is prohibited by the law. This is especially the case for many Western countries such as the U.S, Canada, The UK, and other such places.
In these countries, parents may actually be prosecuted, go to jail, and have their children removed from them because it is seen as child abuse by the law. However even though spanking your child is prohibited by the law in many places it is still a common practice and method of discipline and if done within reason the law will often turn a blind eye to it.
Spanking kids as a punishment was something that was not only done by a child’s parents but by other authority figures too. I clearly remember my dad telling me how his teachers used to mercilessly beat them in school if they stepped even just one pinky toe out of line.
Now, this kind of “spanking” crosses the line because one simple smack may be discipline and yes it may do the trick in terms of getting the child to behave and follow orders, but any more than that is just useless, senseless, and brainless violence that is completely unjustified.
We are here to talk about the pros and cons of spanking as well as the benefits of spanking your child, if there are any benefits. This is because there are always 2 sides to every story. Yes, spanking is technically physical violence but there is a fine line between getting a simple smack on the butt or to the back of the head and getting beaten senseless; one of those is discipline and the other is senseless violence.
The Main question here is whether or not it is right for a parent to spank a child within reason to get them to listen to directions and behave appropriately when all else fails. Let’s face it, sometimes a timeout, grounding them, or taking away certain privileges just isn’t enough; a quick right hand never hurt anybody!
Who Spanks their Children and How Common is it?
So, spanking is a lot more common than some people may think and it is still very pervasive in our society today.
The general pattern seems to be that pretty much all children between the ages of 1 and 3 have been spanked at least once; to be clear we are talking about close to 95% of all children.
As well the pattern seems to indicate that North American parents are less likely to spank their children than non-North American parents. This is especially the case for white or Caucasian people who seem to be the most against spanking. One of my favorite comedians Russell Peters sheds some light on this, about how white North American parents seem to be far too lenient with their kids and this includes a refusal to spank their kids.
However growing up in a very European household I can say that is not quite true; I grew up in Canada and have Swiss/German parents, and let me tell you they were definitely not afraid to lay down the law and deliver a quick right hand where it was needed. There does seem to be some truth to the fact that white North American parents are more lenient and refuse to dish out physical punishment and this can be seen by the laws which these countries have enacted, laws which allow the government to take somebody’s children away because of “physical abuse”.
Studies show that ethnic groups (other than Caucasian) are more likely to spank their children than non-ethnic groups, this is especially the case for the African Ethnic group. There also seems to be a correlation between religion and spanking; the more religious and particularly fundamentalist the parents are the more likely they are to spank their children. Furthermore families with lower incomes are also shown to spank more.
To be clear, putting all income, race, ethnicity, and religion aside a whopping 75% of mothers say that spanking kids is appropriate in some circumstances and moreover 65% of mothers say that spanking your children is an acceptable form of regular punishment for many different misbehaviors.
This just goes to show that spanking is indeed quite common but it doesn’t show what the effects of spanking are, whether spanking makes kids behave better, whether or not it’s good or bad, and what the overall effects are in the end so let’s talk about that just a little more.
this is the number one concern that many people have when they consider spanking their children or punishing them in some other physical way. We all know that there is a big difference between respect and fear; if you respect somebody such as your parents then you don’t do something because you know it’s wrong and you know they don’t want you to.
This means that you know what the consequences are and you know exactly why it is wrong to do the thing you are doing.
On the other hand a child that fears his parents will only not do something out of fear of physical harm. In the end this means that the child may not actually know the difference between right and wrong and why they should not be doing something, all they know is if they do it then they’re going to get hurt. In the end this will probably lead to the child misbehaving anyway but just becoming a lot better at hiding it from you so they won’t get spanked.
Respect means that the child understand why they shouldn’t do something and they know why they are being punished while fear is just a blind emotion and a child’s rain saying “please don’t hit me”; it just doesn’t make for a good parent-child relationship.
Spanking vs Beating
This is another main concern of people that don’t want to spank their kids and quite honestly it’s a concern for those that do. It’s the line between spanking or a couple good smacks and beating a child into submission by any means possible.
Spanking can and should only be done as a last resort when all other methods of discipline fail and the spank should not be too long, to violent, or too hard; just enough to get the message across. Any more than that and you will be teaching your child to fear you instead of respect you; a simple spanking instills respect while a senseless beating will instill fear, resentment, and hatred.
Parents need to be careful not to cross the line and turn into a professional boxer on their child, yet this is something that unfortunately many parents do not master and just take it too far.
The Size Difference
Many people say that it is wrong to spank your kids simply because they can’t defend themselves on account of being a fraction of the size as their parents.
However this is where the previous point comes it, parents are supposed to spank their children within reason and not exhibit their power and strength by throwing their child around like a professional wrestler.
The problem is that many parents seem to forget just how much bigger they are than their 3 year old child.
Another con to spanking children is that if it is not done properly, as in a controlled form of discipline that is only used in the most dire of circumstances, then it can lead a child to develop violent behavior in the future.
This has to do with that whole saying about “do unto others as you wish them to do unto you”. Well, if your parents spent your whole childhood beating the tar out of you then you will probably end up doing the same to others; remember, crap rolls downhill and what a parent does to a child is likely to be multiplied onto their children.
If spanking is done wrong it can teach a child that they can get what they want by using violent means, it will teach them that they can get their way, their toys, and have their opinions heard through the threat of violent force and this is definitely not something that children should be doing or believing.
A child needs to be taught that violence is only the last possible resort and still then it is often not the right thing to do; if a child is to be spanked then it needs to be explained to them as to why they are being spanked, what the spanking is, and what they did wrong to get spanked.
Spanking can’t be just blind violence, it needs to be rational, controlled, and most of all it needs to be understood.
Stop Them From Doing Something Dangerous
One of the biggest pros of spanking kids seems to be the fact that it will stop them in their tracks from doing something dangerous or dumb. Many parents, even mothers who say that they are against spanking say that they have in fact spanked their children before to stop them from doing something dangerous.
The fact of the matter is that many kids just don’t listen to what parents have to say; they don’t listen to words, threats, groundings, or punishments like taking away their TV privileges. Sometimes it takes a quick right hand or a quick spanking to really get the message across. After all you don’t want your child doing something dangerous, even worse you don’t want them doing it knowing that a simple spanking could have stopped them.
The Shock Factor
The next pro to spanking punishments for children is that they are quite certain not to do that particular thing again and they will stop doing it right away; that’s because of the shock factor! A quick spanking out of nowhere will snap a child back into reality when all else fails. Have you ever been slapped in the face before? If so I’m willing to bet that it stopped you right in your tracks!
The final way in which spanking kids is good is because it does instill a certain level of respect and authority. Simply put, the child knows you are in charge and they know that they aren’t supposed to do a certain thing or else.
Remember though, it needs to be done right; don’t go overboard and make sure to explain why the spanking has happened, once they understand why they’re been spanked then the chances that they will disobey a certain order again are slim to none.
To conclude it seems that spanking has not gone away as a norm of discipline some very hard to discipline children. No, children should not be mercilessly beaten on by their alcoholic parents but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; a quick well placed right hand never hurt anybody!
In my personal and professional opinion I myself have been smacked, spanked, and shaken up a little, both by my mother and my father. They never beat me or hit me for no reason, even back when I was young I knew that if I got a spanking then I probably deserved.
Having my parents use the strong arm technique stopped me from being the little trouble making hell raiser that I was and turned me into the respectable and well behaved young man that I am today; thanks mom!
What are your opinions on spanking? Do you spank your child? Why? Why not? Let us know in the comments below!