He who spares the rod . . .

. . . hates his child. Didn’t know that was in the Bible, did you? And now a new study suggests that children who are spanked as youngsters go on to be happier and more successful. I’m sure even now a phalanx of Ivy League psychologists with one medicated child a piece are lining up to abuse this notion.

The problem with spanking is that too many people confuse it with beating, and unfortunately a good many of those so confused are the ones holding the rods. Any study of spanking must distinguish between legitimate spanking and beatings. Spanking is a steady set of whacks to the behind which do not leave marks, which are administered by someone in control of his emotions, and which are the clear, predictable, and consistent consequence for bad behavior. The child understands that his actions have led to this consequence, understands that his parent loves him, and feels forgiven afterward. Administered this way, in a loving home with consistent discipline, spankings should become more and more rare as the child matures.

People who hit their children other places than the rear-end, or who strike them out of anger, or who correct them inconsistently, so that the connection between bad behavior and its consequence are unclear, are only harming them. I suspect much of the academic work on spankings doesn’t sort all this out.


  1. sgtboz

    Thank you so much for putting that into words. I do spank – although extremely sparingly, only when it is clearly needed and with the same mindset as you’ve indicated. But for those who see it as abuse, my thought is that they’ve never seen it in a loving context. It sounds awful in their minds and I don’t blame them, I suppose, since again they’ve never known it to be done properly.

    All of us who spank our children hopefully know it only as one element of a much larger plan of love, discipline and training. Personally speaking, I’ve seldom spanked my child seriously other than times when the lesson I was teaching had to do with their own safety. In other words, I REALLY needed to make a point (i.e. playing in the street, wandering down by the pond unsupervised, etc.).

  2. PDeverit

    Child buttock-battering vs. DISCIPLINE:

    Child buttock-battering for the purpose of gaining compliance is nothing more than an inherited bad habit.

    Its a good idea for people to take a look at what they are doing, and learn how to DISCIPLINE instead of hit.

    I think the reason why television shows like “Supernanny” and “Dr. Phil” are so popular is because that is precisely what many (not all) people are trying to do.

    There are several reasons why child bottom-slapping isn’t a good idea. Here are some good, quick reads recommended by professionals:

    Plain Talk About Spanking
    by Jordan Riak,

    The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children
    by Tom Johnson,

    by Lesli Taylor M.D. and Adah Maurer Ph.D.

    Most compelling of all reasons to abandon this worst of all bad habits is the fact that buttock-battering can be unintentional sexual abuse for some children. There is an abundance of educational resources, testimony, documentation, etc available on the subject that can easily be found by doing a little research with the recommended reads-visit http://www.nospank.net.

    Just a handful of those helping to raise awareness of why child bottom-slapping isn’t a good idea:

    American Academy of Pediatrics,
    American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,
    Center For Effective Discipline,
    PsycHealth Ltd Behavioral Health Professionals,
    Churches’ Network For Non-Violence,
    Nobel Peace Prize recipient Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
    Parenting In Jesus’ Footsteps,
    Global Initiative To End All Corporal Punishment of Children,
    United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    In 26 countries, child corporal punishment is prohibited by law (with more in process). In fact, the US was the only UN member that did not ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  3. PDeverit

    The vast majority of professionals agree that child buttock-battering isn’t healthy. A marginal few (mostly religious fundamentalists) think that child bottom-slapping is good. They use the same selective literalist interpretation of the Bible as was used to justify “witch”-burning, depraved torture methods for those accused of sin and heresy, slavery, racism, wife-beating, oppression of women and a host of other social ills.

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