To Spank or not to Spank – That is the Question

By Kira Hess –

Is it right or is it wrong?

At some point in life, a parent has weighed the decision to give the misbehaving child a spanking…  The question is whether giving a spanking is good, or bad? Studies to find the truth are still ongoing. Scientists, doctors, and just everyday people agree to disagree.

According to Dr. Peter Newell, of the organization End Punishment of Children, is that “all people have the right to protection of their physical integrity, and children are people too.”

Meaning children have the right to protect themselves.  However, aren’t children too young to understand right from wrong? Have you ever seen a child driving a car down the road, or paying the bills…yes children are people, but they aren’t old enough to take care of themselves.

There is a difference between spanking and abuse. A tap on the hand or a pat on the butt is completely different than punching, kicking, and leaving the child with broken bones and bruises. There is a limit in punishment, when there isn’t that limit, that is when we see or read about the abuse.

An article in the May issue of Pediatrics stated that when parents give a spanking, it teaches the child to become more physically aggressive as they age. The article  also mentioned that it’s hard to find children who haven’t been spanked.  So couldn’t children who are more aggressive be just that personality type?  “The problem is that we can’t really say from the studies if it is spanking that is causing the behavior, or some other family characteristic that isn’t easily measured,” said Eric Slade, PhD, who was interviewed by CBS news. Other articles on the issue discussed race, gender, along with the differences of well educated parents and the others who aren’t as educated.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, states that it’s never OK to “strike” a child for any reason. They give a list of other options “that work.” If the child misbehaves or doesn’t listen, put them “away for the rest of the day.” How is that right? They do something bad during lunch and you just put them “away for the rest of the day.” Now couldn’t that be teaching parents to neglect their child? Often parents are afraid to even talk about how they punish their children because it’s become one of those horrible acts of “cruel punishment.”

So how are we as a country, as a nation, going to learn the difference in right and wrong on the important issue of spanking, when no one can agree and  when studies can’t show us the answer?

Comments

  1. Andrew says:

    This amongst many topics has had too broad of a net of severity cast over it. Is it ok to spank a child if it warrants it, yes. Does the amount of strength put into said spanking matter? Of course. When an aggressive dog snips at you a rap on the nose does wonders and I believe it is safe to say that *most* children are smarter than dogs. Why put a child through a mental wringer or verbally assault them when a simple tap on the tush is all you need? Believing that physical punishment is the cause of aggression more so than giving them a good talking to or making them go to their room is completely asinine. As a child skinning your knee doesn’t stick with you as much as a mean remark so why should punishment be any different?

    Like everything in life it relies on knowing right from wrong and where the line is. It also doesn’t hurt to know that if the cops get called for you “spanking” your child, you’re overdoing it and you can likely look forward to the same degree of “spanking” from the friendly officers.

  2. Personally, I was physically abused as a child, so you would expect me to be against spanking but it’s not the case. It is one thing to give your child a quick spank or a short tap on the mouth and a completely different action to go any further than that. I believe that every child needs smacked at least once in their life, sounds cruel, but it’s true. As someone who went through abuse, I know the difference. Sometimes, I needed a smack when I talked back or did something I wasn’t supposed to. Anything more than that, however, is unacceptable.

  3. Personally, I beleive it depends on the child and the situation. I was spanked when I was very young, because frankly, I was stubborn and a simple ‘time out’ wouldn’t work. It was never hard, but it stung and it got the point across. It also wasn’t a continuous thing, maybe once every 4 or 5 months. By the time I was 7 or 8 however, I was no longer spanked because there were better punishments available that worked, plus my parents knew that by that age I would start getting aggresive. You need to know your child in order to punish them, but there is a large gray area between spanking as punishment and child abuse, and parents need to stay as far away from it as possible.