Tuesday, July 3, 2012

If Spanking Were Effective

More and more scientific evidence keeps surfacing that suggests that the physical punishment of children is harmful. Just yesterday, a Canadian study found that being spanked in childhood can lead to mental illness in adult life, such as severe depression, alcoholism, etc. The AAP advises parents not to physically punish their children, as there is no known benefit and there are some very real risks.
However, I have come across so many comments all over the web today in favor of spanking that I just had to write something about it. The opinions expressed by spanking-fans sent chills down my spine, ranging from being fond of a ‘good old spanking’ to attributing every problem in this world to the lack of spanking today. One person actually said that it was all 'the liberals' fault…
Unfortunately, the physical punishment of children is still legal in the US. (It is not in most other Western nations…) Unfortunately, many parents still use physical punishment as their preferred method of discipline, especially here in the southern states. The general consensus seems to be that children will not be able to learn respect and the difference between right and wrong if they are not spanked.
I want to examine this theory a little further. The basic idea is that spanking is necessary for effective learning. A child will not be able to comprehend the message that it is being taught unless there is some sort of physical element involved.
If this were true, then I suggest we abolish all prisons and use physical punishment instead. We could have a wide range of physical punishments, depending on the crime in question. How much money that would save! No more tax payer dollars for prisons! This would free up so much money for other things. All that the criminals need is some physical punishment to teach them that what they have done is wrong. (Except that this has been tried and it doesn’t work. Also, it is against the law.)
I think it would also be important to spank in all day care facilities, schools, and universities, etc. After all, if the best way to learn is through physical punishment, then we should implement said punishment in all places of learning. That would be a wonderful encouragement for children, teens, and adults alike to really take their learning seriously. It would also make the teachers’ jobs a lot easier. (Except that this has also been tried and it doesn’t work. It is mostly against the law- some schools still allow spanking.)
Animals could greatly benefit from learning through physical punishment, as they don’t understand our verbal communication. Trainers everywhere could start spanking their animals and get outstanding results. Imagine what those dolphins at Seaworld could do with just a bit of spanking encouragement! (Alas, this practice has also been tried and found to be ineffective. It is also against the law.)
If employers were able to teach their employees to do the right thing by physically punishing them, imagine how smoothly all businesses would run. Productivity would be at an incredible high and we would see the end of this recession. (Unfortunately, this, too, has been done in the past and hasn’t worked out too well. For some reason, it is against the law.)
So you see, spanking pretty much anyone is against the law. Why? Because that’s not how a civilized society works. Generally speaking, people don’t like to be spanked or physically punished in any way (unless that’s what they’re into, but that’s a whole different story altogether)
I hate to tell you this, but children are human beings, too. And they don’t like being spanked. Ever. It teaches them nothing other than what they already know: that you are bigger and stronger than them and that you can do with them as you like. The only way they will truly learn something is if you take the time to teach it to them in a way that they are able to learn it, which is through patience, understanding, and love.
Our children are such an incredible gift. They are the most amazing, beautiful, innocent beings on this planet. Let’s keep it that way and protect them from all bodily harm.

Please also read Children Are People and Spanking vs. Hitting 


  1. Oh Vivien, thank you so much! I ran out of words yesterday because of the pro-spanking comments to that above mentioned study.
    Unfortunately there are still thousands of children abused in our oh so civilised western world every day.

  2. Some people still believe this is a useful form of parenting. Others can't help themselves. And others don't know any better. Or all three. In any case, I wish folks would just QUIT IT already. Ugh.

  3. I"m on the other end of this. I have been spanked. I spank. I have learned to use spanking as a last resort. So my children don't get spanked that often. I also believe in the death penalty for certain things. So just like everything else, to spank or not to spank isn't a black and white thing. I also don't think that spanking contributed to any issues I have. I believe that has something to do with genetics.

    I also believe that if you do spank out of anger, than you shouldn't be spanking because you have no control over the situation and you are in that case spanking just to prove how big and tough you are.

    1. I agree with Sarah. Everyone treats this s a black and white topic, when really there is A lot of Gray. Yes I was spanked growing up, but, like Sarah, it was a last resort type of thing. I do believe that spanking has its place, but, doesn't work with everyone. Today parents are so scared to punish there kids in anyway because they are afraid that someone will come and take there child because they don't agree with they're way of doing things. I was at work the other day and saw a mother of 3 literally have to fight with her 5-6 year old because he wanted a 20 dollar toy and mom said no. He yelled, and cried and stomped and kicked, and when the mother tried to take the toy he'd run and get it back, Finally she gave it to me, so he tried to climb the counter. When he couldn't get it he broke his mothers grip and ran out the door into the parking lot. Luckily there were no cars coming. She brought him back in to get her things and as soon as he was able he ran out again. SHe finally just held the screaming kicking child had her other 2 kids grab her things and left. Did she spank him, no. Should she have? Some would so no. That was her way of parenting. Her choice. Why can't we all have freedom of choice in how we discipline our children.

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