There are many different beliefs on the right way to rear your children. Some people are very opinionated on the subject and feel it is their duty to instill upon others the correct way to go about the 18 or longer year process. Others tend to keep to themselves and feel everyone else is entitled to raise their children as they wish. “Within the wide range of way to raise your child lie many subjects of continued debate, such as, whether or not to breastfeed, when to introduce solid foods, whether or not to spank, how to potty train, public vs. private vs. home-schooling, etc.”(King) When it comes to raising a child, one hot debate that rages all across the globe and to this day centers on whether or not spanking your child is effective or harmful as a disciplinary tactic. You’ll find that this subject has been argued fiercely from both sides, with no real give or take from either. Experts have been found to take on both points of view and countless studies have been conducted to try and come to a definitive answer.
“The American Academy of Pediatricians say that spanking might actually do more harm than good”(King), meaning that the spanking will not correct the problems that the child has, but only make them worse. In some countries around the globe, such as Norway and Sweden, elected officials have made it totally illegal for parents to spank their child. Since this happened Oakland, California has established an official “No Spanking Zone.” This proposes a question, is spanking a good form of discipline?
With the information that I gathered it seems like from what the doctors say it certainly appears not to be, and I think most parents tend to agree with them that spanking is not an acceptable form of discipline anymore. But according to the Critique of Anti-Spanking Study, found in Assertive Discipline, “experts do not all agree that spanking is harmful and some believe that mild spanking is a useful form of discipline” (Canter). Also, the same study said “72% of people surveyed still find it acceptable to punish a child by spanking them” (Canter). “The idea behind parental discipline is to create self discipline within your child. That means the kid has to learn something- the difference from right to wrong – that will guide him or her throughout life. So what do kids learn from being spanked? The hitting itself doesn’t teach them anything” (McGraw). McGraw goes on to talk about how hitting for the most part stops misbehavior at that point in time. It gets the child’s attention because of the fear and the shock. Usually the child turns around and repeats the same behavior. While reading this, a question that came to my mind was if spanking only works for the time being is it really worth doing? There are very different conclusions that have been formulated so I really do think that it all just comes down to form of opinion.
Most opinions still lean toward spanking being a form of abuse and that spanking a child is totally unacceptable because striking a young child will not actually teach them to be good. Spanking also hurts children mentally and spanking a child is no different from hitting some one else. The majority of parents that hit their kids are at the point of frustration and anger where they feel that spanking is the last thing left for them to do. First, I found out that many think that striking a child will not teach them to be good; it actually makes them change the way that they look at things. In fact, “The American Academy of Pediatricians says “spanking [children] may have some potentially long term effects such as increasing the misbehavior, aggression, violent or criminal behavior, impaired learning, depression, and in worst case suicide”. When reading this I found that the items cited here were very alarming and they express the concern that spanking is more than just a punishment.
As said before, many say that spanking “is the least effective way to discipline” a child for two reasons: both reasons teach the child nothing about the difference between right and wrong. In the Early Childhood Professionals’ Recommendations For Spanking Young Children” they go on to say that the first fact is that spanking confuses the child. “How can they tell what [the spanking] means?” (James) The reason that spanking confuses them is simply this; “Parents are the example of the difference between right and wrong” (James). Basically all spanking is doing is telling the child is that every time somebody does something wrong they should be smacked for the mistake they made.
Secondly, I found that many think spanking simply installs a sense of “fear and resentment” towards the parent. The only result that comes from making a child fear the parent is just reverse what is trying to be accomplished; discipline. On top of fearing the parent, the child will also lose respect for their parent and make the relationship between parent and child become very weak. “Discipline will not work if parents do not have a good relationship with their child” says Dr. Mark Wolraich (Canter). I found that this quote highlights how spanking a child will weaken the respect that is needed between child and parent. In turn, the child does not know that he/she did anything wrong because the child has no respect for the parent any more.
Thirdly, people think that hitting a child also hurts them mentally. “Children that are spanked not only lose respect for their parents but they also lose respect in themselves. They start to believe that they are bad kids and they may also think that their parents do not like them. But not only are these children troubled at home by being spanked, they are also troubled at school: There is some evidence from a British study that [children] may be less able to learn because physical punishment reduces a child’s I.Q.” (Burnett). People believe that this is one good example of how spanking is the wrong type of discipline because it show how the learning process is effected. The only thing that spanking helps children learn is that it is acceptable for them to use violence as a cure for any problem. Parents do not even know that they are mentally injuring their child as shown here: “although most parents who spank have good intentions, they may actually cause harm by training their child” (Burnett)
When conducting my research I found that there was a lot more information and scholarly articles regarding people who are against disciplinary spanking and the banning of it than there were for it. I tried to look at it from both sides, but I did take my own personal experience into consideration when deciding which I agreed with most. Although, I have an idea of what I agree with, there are arguments for both that seemed reasonable. I was never spanked as a child so I have never experienced that and can’t relate to some of the supposed “side effects” that spanking can cause. I look forward to conducting more research and hopefully finding more information about pro-disciplinary spanking. If I can do that, then maybe it will persuade me to think otherwise.
Canter, Lynn. “When to Spank.” U.S. News & World Report. 13 Apr 1998: 52+. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 10 Apr 2013.
King, Nigel, Trevor Butt, and Lorraine Green. “Spanking And The Corporal Punishment Of Children: The Sexual Story.” International Journal Of Children’s Rights 11.2 (2003): 199-217. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Apr. 2013.
Burnett, Alice. “Against Spanking.” Tikkun 15.2 (2000): 17. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Apr. 2013.
Ogilvie, Jessica Pauline. “How Kids Feel the Swats of Spanking.” Los Angeles Times. 26 Dec 2011: E.1. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 10 Apr 2013.
JAMES, MICHELE, and JASON BROUWER. “Early Childhood Professionals’ Recommendations For Spanking Young Children.” Journal Of Child & Adolescent Trauma 1.4 (2008): 341-348. Academic Search Complete. Web.
10 Apr. 2013.
McGraw, Robert E. “Should There Be A Law Banning Spanking Of Children?.”
U.S. News Digital Weekly 3.36 (2011): 17. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Apr. 2013.