Parents Should Not Spank Their Children

Table of Content

Spanking, which is a type of child abuse, has been historically employed as a means of discipline. Corporal punishment, another term for spanking, entails causing physical pain to a child in order to enforce discipline. This can be accomplished by patting the buttocks, employing a belt or paddle, or smacking the hand or mouth.

Straus defines child abuse as a type of violence, which involves intentional actions causing physical pain or harm. While both spanking and violence seek to cause pain, the key difference is that violence leads to injuries. Thus, when parents opt for spanking as a disciplinary method, they are essentially teaching their children violent behavior and promoting the idea that it is permissible to physically hurt others.

This essay could be plagiarized. Get your custom essay
“Dirty Pretty Things” Acts of Desperation: The State of Being Desperate
128 writers

ready to help you now

Get original paper

Without paying upfront

In his article “The 13 Ways Spanking Harms Children,” Michael J. Marshall, PhD, asserts that children who receive physical punishment from their parents are more likely to display aggressive behaviors, including hitting and fighting. Marshall cautions that when parents resort to spanking as a form of discipline, they run the risk of surpassing acceptable boundaries and potentially engaging in child abuse.

Some individuals believe that spanking can be deemed acceptable if certain guidelines are followed by parents. These guidelines involve using only the hand as a form of punishment, restricting the number of swats administered, and ensuring that the child’s clothing remains intact. Nevertheless, it is vital to acknowledge that every child possesses unique characteristics and some may exhibit greater obstinacy than others. As a result, parents dealing with such children might need to apply more force in order to grab their attention and discipline them effectively. Hence, it becomes apparent that merely setting boundaries may not be enough.

No matter the level of force used by a parent when spanking a child, violence is inevitably displayed. Even if parents believe they are not crossing the line into abusive behavior, their children may still imitate their actions and release their frustrations through hitting others. Consequently, when a child hits someone else, the parent is faced with a dilemma. They cannot physically discipline the child for hitting another person and simultaneously educate them about the wrongness of such behavior, since it was the parent who initially taught them how to hit. The notion of condoning physical punishment as a means to correct a child who has hit a friend seems to convey a perplexing and contradictory message” (Flynn 33).

From this incident, it is evident that violence is considered acceptable. This was evident when I disciplined my child by hitting his hand for misbehavior and he retaliated by hitting me back. To teach him about the wrongness of hitting, I hit him again and reminded him not to hit mommy. However, he persisted in striking me, showing that he was confused by this situation.

Personally, I have utilized spanking as a disciplinary method, but it proved ineffective. It is important to recognize that spanking can emotionally impact a child. If a child sees an intimidating person inflicting physical punishment, they may experience feelings of inadequacy.

Spanking can have long-term detrimental effects on a child, resulting in insecurities and a propensity for dishonesty. It has the ability to instill fear and discourage them from admitting their errors. Moreover, spanking can harm their self-esteem and generate feelings of inherent inadequacy. These emotional consequences may endure throughout adulthood.

According to Michael J. Marshall, PhD, children who are frequently physically punished may display certain characteristics such as decreased spontaneity, heightened reservation, and a fear of trying new things due to the possibility of further punishment. As a result, this can hinder their overall development and impact their ability to lead a healthy life. Additionally, they may develop anxiety towards the individual administering the physical punishment and experience internal conflict when someone they care about causes them pain.

Straus (153) states that spanking can result in the child avoiding the person who administers the punishment and weakening the bond between parent and child, leading to decreased compliance with parental requests. Although spanking may seem to solve immediate issues, its effects are temporary. Consequently, exploring alternative methods of discipline could produce more lasting outcomes.

Spanking a child may elicit surprise and immediate focus on the physical discomfort. Nevertheless, the pain inflicted is fleeting, leaving them unaware of the reason behind it due to their sole attention being on the pain. Conversely, if parents opt for disciplinary actions such as revoking privileges or imposing timeouts for misbehavior, children are given a chance to reflect upon their actions. This approach also aids in teaching them about consequences for future misconduct.

According to Elaine M. Gibson’s article “To Spank or Not to Spank,” children may misbehave in order to get attention from their parents, even if it means getting spanked. This is because they believe that receiving negative attention is better than no attention at all. Gibson also elaborates that children deliberately seek their parents’ focus when engaging in behaviors that require discipline.

When a parent opts for time-out as a disciplinary technique, it entails isolating the child and depriving them of attention. This isolation assists the child in comprehending that their behavior is being disregarded, thereby decreasing its likelihood of recurrence. On the contrary, while spanking may offer faster discipline, it is ineffective since its goal is to exert control over the child rather than teaching them self-control.

Teaching children about what they should avoid is crucial for their decision-making skills. Instead of using immediate punishments like spanking, it is more effective to set up lasting repercussions for disciplinary actions. However, some argue that in certain instances where a child’s safety is at risk, such as when they are about to enter the street or touch a hot stove, spanking may be required.

Experts recommend disciplining children by administering a few swats while simultaneously explaining the danger, aiming to instill fear through both the sound of the swat and the parent’s angry voice (Sonna 158). However, parents can achieve the same result without causing pain by removing their child from the dangerous situation and clarifying the potential consequences. This approach allows children to understand why their parents are intervening and avoids any physical discomfort.

Instead of spanking, there exist numerous alternative methods for disciplining a child. One effective approach is to implement time-outs, as they not only impart important rules but also allow children to reflect on their behavior. Although this form of punishment may upset a child, the time spent in time-out serves as an opportunity for them to regain self-control. In this way, children learn that adherence to essential rules is imperative, or else there will be repercussions.

Another effective method involves temporarily depriving them of something they value. When they experience the absence of a once-enjoyed privilege, they will understand the repercussions of their misbehavior. Grounding can be an effective disciplinary measure for older children. By preventing them from engaging in activities they truly enjoy or restricting their freedom for a designated period, valuable lessons can be learned.

Despite experiencing negative emotions, children will learn from the outcomes of their actions and reconsider before behaving poorly. While there are multiple options to choose from, the most successful approach is to offer children abundant positive attention. Due to their strong desire for attention, children will go to great lengths to obtain it, even if it means receiving negative attention. Hence, if parents prioritize providing a child with as much positive attention as they can, the child will be engaged and less inclined to engage in misconduct.

Parents have several alternatives for disciplining their children that are better than spanking. Ultimately, it is the parents’ decision whether or not to use spanking as a disciplinary method. When making this choice, parents should consider the potential long-term effects of their decisions. Personally, I believe that spanking is not an effective way to discipline children.

Parental anger often leads to violence, emotional abuse, and temporary benefits.

Cite this page

Parents Should Not Spank Their Children. (2018, Feb 21). Retrieved from

Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront