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To Spank or Not to Spank?- The Great Debate!

“Don’t be afraid to correct your young ones; a spanking won’t kill them.
A good spanking, in fact, might save them from something worse than death” Proverbs 23:13-14

Let me first say that I firmly believe in corporal punishment.   I grew up “gettin’ my mouth mashed” for back talking, and knowing that if I did something wrong, there would be consequences.  I am thankful for that, because I believe that it has made me into an adult that knows how to act.  I will say however, there are not many times in my recollection that I ever as a child actually acted in a way that warranted a “spanking”.   I can’t remember them, and neither can my parents.

My husband on the other hand, was a different child.  He remembers, as does his mother, many, many times where he would get himself into “situations” that required some, shall we say, firmer attention.  He would be sentenced to his room to wait for his dad, where he would put on multiple pairs of underwear, and await his pending doom.

You may be thinking that boys are different from girls, but I beg to differ.  I see in Astaire, the same mischievousness that her father had, and still has…and I recognize it because it’s something I never had.

See what I mean?

Now clearly this is not something I am going to spank her for, just a few examples of her curiosity that tends to get her into trouble.  She is an amazingly smart little girl, and for the most part she is very well behaved- but she is very curious, and she really likes to test her limits.  Most times when I want to punish her, I have to walk away and laugh first because she is really quite funny.

So what’s the big debate about?

Here I am, a firm believer in punitive discipline- with a toddler who is starting to exercise her will on a regular basis, and I am saying to myself, maybe we should try a different approach…Why?

  • Retaliation Hurts— When she gets a pop on the hand for not listening (usually for deleting my emails) – She grabs my hand and bites my finger.  My reaction the first time this happened was to escalate the situation- but in all fairness, who likes to be bitten? Then I remembered three things: She’s One, She Can’t Talk, and children (especially those that can’t talk)communicate their feelings through their behavior.  Basically, she is hurt and angry because she is being hit, so she’s biting me.  So perhaps the literal “rod” at this age is not the answer.
  • Redirection Works--Typically, being that Astaire is so curious,  I can redirect her attention successfully-if I stay focused- with little effort(or bite marks!).  I found this great article on creating a “Yes Environment” for your kids, and I really think she has some creative ways of explaining how to redirect.   It saves you a lot of breath during the day, and your child a lot of unnecessary frustration.  Now if I can just find a better place for my laptop…..
  • We all need some Time (In)– Astaire and I tried time out once.  Let’s just say it led to a meltdown for the both of us.  Time out is great if the child understands what is going on, and it doesn’t lead to genuine upset.  Astaire was a wreck.  At first it was a tantrum, and then it was full on crying because she was crying….you know the kind.  We’ve all done it.  The kind you can’t stop….your crying so hard that when you stop crying your still crying.  It was awful.  She finally fell asleep on my chest and was still crying even in her sleep.  I felt horrible for the rest of the day.  Time IN is an exciting alternative, and although I haven’t made a “Comfort Corner” yet, we do have our rocker where we nurse, and I think I might just use that since it’s already a place she associates with comfort.  This idea really excites me, because usually by the time she needs a time OUT, I need one too…

I’m not saying that we will never have to resort to spanking, but there are several other options that I want to add to my repertoire as well.   I want it to be a last resort. I wanted to share these resources with you because I know that none of us aspire to be that parent who is dragging her child across Walmart’s parking lot beating their behind, while onlookers gawk in disbelief.


6 responses to “To Spank or Not to Spank?- The Great Debate!

  1. cheryl falank October 25, 2010 at 11:55 am

    This is great! I do enjoy your articles. right now in human developement in psychology we are learning about ways to correct children. I was raised being spanked as the only form of correction but this i do think it might not have been in the best of cases and i could have been corrected another way. My husband was NEVER spanked and was only put on the corner with no toys or time out. I can see that when it comes time to have a wee little one that will have to discuss forms of correction because neither of us know what exactly is the best form for we both turned out great(i think).
    Redirection is great because it gives you a channel into which you can redirect the childs behavior in a positive direction.


  2. Heather October 25, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Spanking your child is one of the harder things for a parent to face…I remember when I was a child my dad would say “this hurts me worse that it does you!” And I understand now. But I will say that after I give my children a reallt good spanking they will be good for the rest of the day. You have to show them that you are not going to give in..and that you are going to stand your ground! Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him. Proverbs 24:15

  3. nannymcp22 October 25, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    growing up i learned that my dad’s and grandad’s leather belt hurts more than the flip flop. maybe that is the reason why i dont do spanking. i do time outs for smaller kids but for my 17 year old— i withdraw a few previledges like her computer or her phone or maybe reduce allowance for a week or ground her or whatever depending on what she did.

  4. Angela October 26, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    I went to a training for my job once on positive discipline… it sounds a lot like “time in”. It basically provides the child with a “break” before things escalate and goes deeper to determine the reason behind the negative behavior. It’s more proactive and less reactive. I’ve told my staff on more than one occasion that “a bored child is a misbehaving child”… most of the time they are just looking for something to do or for attention. Granted, that is not always the case but it typically tends to be. This concept also focuses on encouragement, not praise… there is a difference. I like that you addressed the issue as it made me think about things.

  5. Kendra October 26, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    I think this is great! We have decided not to spank. For Kooper, who we lovingly call “BamBam” because of his natural roughness, responds much better with redirection, or a nice calm talk. I know every child is different, but for him, he is such a physical, active child, that I believe spanking would only encourage him take out his frustrations the same way. We do utilize time outs, which we save for “violent offenses” (hitting, biting, throwing toys) and he does understand the point. So much so that when his dad accidentally stepped on his finger, Kooper sent him to time out! lol

  6. Tayla October 27, 2010 at 5:18 am

    Thank you all so much for your comments! I really appreciate everyone reading and giving their feedback. Now if I can’t just get the person who added into the poll that they would use “reading/writing a blog on alternatives to spanking” as a form of discipline to actually own up to it. LOL. Parenting is something everyone does differently, and every child is different, so I really enjoy hearing your comments and also hearing about your children! Thanks again, and be sure to keep coming back for more!

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