© Sarah Lipoff 2011

Last week I wrote a blog post about how I don’t do time out at my house. I shared my post on a website I sometimes frequent and was actually more surprised by the comments than I thought I’d be. Mamas chimed in on how they found time out to be beneficial and why, that they also don’t do time out and have found other disciplinary things that work, and some on how they spank.



I was never spanked as a child. I’m not sure if that causes me to look at spanking differently than someone who was spanked as a child, but spanking is not okay in my world. You can spank in your house if you think it’s the right thing for you and your family. But, wowsa, nobody spanks at my house.

Let’s get down and dirty, shall we? I’m not judging you if you do spank. This is a personal choice for me and it all comes down to my belief that hitting promotes hitting. When a child is spanked, isn’t it the same as hitting? When a child is spanked, isn’t it the same as saying using violence is a way of getting a point across? When a child is spanked, aren’t they shamed instead of nurtured?

Well, I’m no expert. I’m just a parent. But, whenever I put my point out there, I like to back it up. So, here’s Dr. Sears’ view on things: Spanking demonstrates that it’s all right for people to hit people, and especially for big people to hit little people, and stronger people to hit weaker people.

Oh, and the American Academy of Pediatrics – The AAP does not recommend spanking. Other ways to discipline kids effectively include using time outs, modeling appropriate behavior, and helping kids understand the connection between actions and consequences.

I look at my child and I see innocence discovery, exploring, experimenting, pushing buttons, causing a ruckus, excitement, crazy butt-shaking, screaming, movement, and typical child behavior. No matter how out-of-control her conduct ever could be, I would never, ever spank her. Ever.

As I said, I’m not judging you if you spank at your house, but I am asking you to think about it before you spank the next time. Just take a deep breath, look your child in the eye, and think about it. That’s all I’m saying.

So, what do you do at your house? What has influenced your disciplinary decisions? How do you back up your choices when asked about them by others?

*Here’s a link to the thread I started that caused total knock-down-drag-out mama drama with 180+comments. If the site makes you become a member to see the link, it’s not worth it (trust me).

9 thoughts on “Spanking

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Talk it out…..if you’re too stressed to talk it out, go to the neutral corners until you’re ready. Then another day at a good ‘teachable’ moment, talk about what is going on and how to do things the right way, etc. . .

  2. I found your blog via the MLM post and have to say it turned my stomach. I will never understand why adults find it necessary to hit children — and can come up with a million reasons why/when/how it’s okay. If it’s not okay for my husband/boss/friend/coworker/child to hit me to teach a lesson/make a point/discipline/punish me, why on earth would it be okay for me to hit my child?

    • Thanks, Christina. I have been pretty surprised with some of the justifications for spanking on MLM, too. What else has surprised me is how discourteous some are in response to those that are sharing their views on not spanking. I’m feeling this is a discussion that will continue, and continue – but am glad you agree spanking is not the answer.

  3. With my young one, we do time-outs and taking away privileges. With the older one, there’s a whole lot of yelling. And if you knew her you’d understand why! But the only thing that really works with her is grounding her from seeing her boyfriend. Seriously. It’s pathetic.

  4. As long as there are parents, there will be different parenting styles. As you said, whatever works in your respective house with your children. On one hand you say that you are not judging anyone, and on the other you clearly disagree with any form of spanking and urge people who do to reconsider. That sounds like judging to me.

    Parenting issues are no different than matters pertaining to politics and religion. They are very sensitive topics that people feel very strongly about. Their beliefs and opinions are deeply rooted, and no amount of persuasion will change how they feel. Most of us fall into that category.

    As a child, my parents routinely used corporal punishment on me. They were very strict, set boundaries, and I knew my limitations and the consequences of crossing them. I didn’t like it, but those were the rules. I grew up and turned out just fine. I didn’t get into trouble, did well in school, and had no emotional or psychological scars. I did not grow up to become an abusive parent because of it. And I am very close to my parents to this day.

    I have three children who I raised to adulthood. While I did not use corporal punishment to the same degree that my parents did, they got swatted at younger ages until they got older. The limits and consequences that I set for them was vastly different than those set by my parents on me, but my children still knew not to cross the line. I used a variety of disciplinary methods on them. But there were always hugs and “I love yous” mixed in with it. My kids knew they were loved, and they all grew up and turned out just fine, even with the occasional bottom swats. We are all very close today, and none of them became abusive parents because when they were toddlers they got an occasional swat on the bottom.

    One can argue any aspect of how to handle behavior issues with children. Those who don’t believe in spanking because they think it teaches their kids that it’s okay to hit others, but who do believe in ignoring their kids when they misbehave could be said to be teaching their children that what others say or do is unimportant and that you don’t care about them. It’s all in your viewpoint.

    New parents learn as they go. If we were all experts when we had our first child, there would be no arguing over the issue of parenting.

    • Thanks, Matty and Ilana for sharing your spanking stories. This whole spanking thing is such a whopper – and I’ve found those on both sides have really valid points and feelings. As a first time mama, I sure have looked back at moments and thought what the heck was I thinking?! I would totally have dealt with that differently (in hindsight). But, at no point have I ever been to a level with discipline where spanking came to play.

      Matty, you sound like one awesome papa!

  5. I was spanked as a kid. Not often and not hard but it was a pretty standard punishment at my house. I’m not sure how I feel about it to be honest. I’ve read enough about parenting to know that I will not spank my child. But I also know that I am fine, never had any disciplinary problems and am very close with my parents. I guess I am not horrified by spanking but I’m also not going to use it as a disciplinary option.

  6. I don’t usually agree with Dr. Sears’ theories (although his son is pretty good on The Doctors 🙂 but for this issue you’re both spot on. Good for you for having the courage to take a stand in such a public forum.

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