Your Opinion on Corporal Punishment?

Updated on June 03, 2015
J.K. asks from Los Angeles, CA
12 answers

I'm not really for it, especially because my daughter's only 2.5 years old. Studies also show that positive reinforcement works better than positive punishment (positive reinforcement is more effective in the long run). Plus, she mimics everything I do so I'm afraid that physical punishment will only teach her violence and she'll be violent in school. And I'm also afraid of potential psychological effects.

My husband is for it and thinks we should use it.

Just want to know what other parents think about this and why.

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So What Happened?

Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to give me your opinion despite it being a controversial topic. I wanted to know what you all thought of corporal punishment and I got the responses I wanted -- the reasons you were for/against corporal punishment. Although I indicated in my question that I tended to be against it, I don't think that I was judgmental in my tone. I simply said that I'm sort of against it for the reasons I stated (my fear that she'll end up a certain way although I realize not everyone who is spanked will end up violent because I was spanked, but I'm not violent) and my husband is for it and that I wanted to know the reasons for and against for the purpose of better educating myself on this subject. I was also hoping you would bring up issues that come with corporal punishment that I hadn't thought of and things we need to be mindful of, which most of you did. So again, thank you. I wasn't trying to take an online poll to use against my husband nor did I call it abuse as one of you suggested.

We've had a tough few weeks in terms of our toddler acting out. Not sure whether she's acting out for a reason (like being a new big sister) or if she's just going through a normal toddler phase. Her being rude to my mom was just one thing out of many. Had a discussion with my husband about how best to deal with her behavior and the subject of corporal punishment came up. After reading your responses, we had a long and productive discussion on the topic, and we were able to reach an agreement. But please don't let this SWH stop you from giving your opinion!

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answers from Wichita Falls on

I was spanked. Neither me nor any of my sibling are violent. My husband was spanked, neither he nor any of his siblings are violent. Most of my friends were spanked. NONE OF US are violent, into drugs or alcohol, or have had legal, emotional, or mental problems. In fact, we are all healthy, college educated, well adjusted adults.

But here's the difference, spanking was not the go to punishment. Nor did it follow us beyond elementary school. It was used where other punishments would not be effective and there was always a warning involved. It was not used to inflict pain (although it was uncomfortable) and no 'weapons' were used. It was to meant to make us aware that we had crossed a line that should not be crossed again. The few times it was used it was effective. but had it been used more, it would not have continued to be so.

9 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

If you have to hit your kid to get them to listen to you then you aren't doing a very good job as a parent.
That's my opinion.

17 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We don't hit our children.

I have two boys. My thought process was that soon enough they will be bigger and stronger then me. If that is my only means of discipline I'm in trouble, as would be their future wives and children.

When consequences keep the child safe, allow learning and allow growth (instead of instilling shame and power/control) they also allow the child to respect the adults word, authority, and build trust.I never wanted my children to fear me because I am bigger and stronger ( just wiser, hopefully, LOL).

ETA: well said Mamazita!

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Fayetteville on

We don't hit. In life hitting is never okay. You can't hit a stranger, you can't hit a police officer, you can't hit someone else's child, a husband can't hit a wife, etc...doing so is why would it be okay to hit your own child.

There are many other ways to discipline that are just as or more effective!

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

No, I don't like it. I just think it's over the top and as someone who was beaten (although I know you probably don't mean to say you'd hit your child until they bruise or bleed) I just don't like the idea of someone placing a hand on another .. Did the beatings I receive make me straighten up and behave.. not really, because the truth was I never did anything wrong enough to be beaten.. that said.. unless a person is being attacked and needs to defend themselves, hitting is hitting is hitting... Think about this.. IF you or your husband or anyone reaches a point where they feel they must HIT someone, while they might justify that act, how does the person justify the idea that they are so over the line they actually brought physical harm to someone.. That is what seems really strange to me..

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Some kids need to be spanked. I have 4 kids and one was spanked because it worked on her.

Also, there are plenty of studies that believe spanking can be a healthy form of discipline. I don't see anything wrong with kids being "afraid" of authority. She won't be taught violence and be violent in school. You have to talk to her and let her know why she's being spanked. And spanking should not happen past a certain age. Spankings typically should only happen a few times during childhood. Obviously spanking shouldn't be the first form of discipline too.

I love the comments from people with one "perfect" kid. I had an only child at one point and she wasn't spanked, so understand that each kid is unique.

Sit down with your husband and come to an agreement. Also keep in mind that I don't think a chidl should be spanked if: they are tired, hungry, missed nap time, or anything else that could be overwhelming to their psych.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I am not one to eliminate a parenting tool from my parenting kit.

After our son got a little older, spanking did not work. He would laugh and say "that didn't hurt". So I found his "currency" what really mattered to him most. At one point, he had nothing in his room but his mattress. =)

My daughter on the other hand, spanking had the desired affect. Her behavior improved and she didn't do that infraction anymore. Now, I think I only "spanked" her a couple of times. Giving her the "mom look" generally worked wonders. Grounding and taking the phone away worked pretty darn good as well.=)

Both kids are pretty darn terrific and very productive members of society.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

We spanked. Gasp! Mainly my older daughter who I think needed it. Happened maybe 5 times total. No more. She is not violent or poorly behaved now or anything bad. She's great, well behaved, happy in school, and a model student. My youngest is super obedient and careful and caring by nature. I gave her a mild swat once and kind of regretted it given her personality and then never again. After we spanked our oldest a few times, all we usually had to do was threaten. My husband and I fall in the camp of we were spanked (way more often and way worse) and turned out fine. At a certain age, there's no reasoning sometimes and I personally think it just puts a bit of fear of authority in some kids' heads who need it. So I think it depends on the kid whether or not it's ok and how often it's used.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My mother spanked us and it did nothing to teach us to improve our behavior and broke a few wooden spoons. We have not spanked my DD, nor did the sks get spanked and I think that other methods of discipline (vs punishment - IMO, discipline teaches, punishment just punishes) have worked fine. At just 2 years old, consider a book along the lines of 1, 2, 3 magic.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Hitting teaches hitting, not how to compromise and negotiate conflict. Research shows increased aggression in children who have been spanked.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

If you are referring to was in my parenting box of tools. I didn't need it very often. When I did it was for a major (the thing you did might have killed you) indecent.

My kids are too old now 10 and 8 for spanking to be relevant. They now get natural consequences for their actions.

You were disrespectful to a teacher at school. You write a heartfelt apology letter and deliver it in person with a verbal apology. You are caught making a mess at school and have to sit out of after school club. I will go with you during that time and you will spend it cleaning the school.

At 2.5 years old...I believe a proper spanking (not out of anger, not meant to injure, and followed with an understanding of what the child did wrong, an apology from the child then hugs and love that mom loves you too much to allow you to behave that way). In certain situations will not permanently harm a child.

My parents spanked me occasionally out of love and a desire for me to be a better person.

But you can guide a child and disciple them without spanking them. Whatever makes you the most comfortable as a mother/parent.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

As a parent who spanked one of her children, lightly tapping her as a toddler, I am appalled by all the responses of being hit with spoons, belts and hard spankings. It upsets me deeply. I'm sorry that happened to you. I wish you all great lives. Bless you.

1 mom found this helpful
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