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Spank and Get Spanked

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This smacks of controversy: A proposed Massachusetts law attempts to ban spanking.

Massachusetts is on its way to being the first state to make corporal punishment a crime. That means if you spank your child, even in your own home, you could be charged with abuse--unless the punishment was delivered to keep your offspring from danger. Currently, in all 50 states it's perfectly legal to give your own kid a swat when they misbehave.

Click below to see the Mom•Logic debate—dare we say smackdown—on the “To Spank or not to Spank” conundrum with Shaunie O'Neal (Shaquille's soon-to-be ex-wife) comedian Lisa Alvarado, blogger Yvonne and Mom•Logic writer Jackie Morgan MacDougall.

Do you think spanking your own children should be illegal? Tell us.


next: From Barbies to Bankrupt
29 comments so far | Post a comment now
zachsmom November 29, 2007, 12:30 PM

Please excuse my frustration, but I am so sick of the “government” trying to tell people how to raise their kids. I am a high school teacher, and you can so tell the kids that run the homes rather than the parents. A few years ago, I had a student curse me out and attempt to fight me. When her mother arrived, she still had an “I don’t care attitude” the mother said absolutely NOTHING. I’m sitting there dumbfounded. I believe in the Bible, and the Bible says, if you spare the rod, you spoil the child. I would rather spank my child today than to have him grow up thinking that he can do whatever he wants to do with no consequences than “the system” spank him tomorrow. The “government” didn’t create this child and they don’t provide any support to raise this child. Because of all the “laws” that have been created over the past few years, we now see more disrespectful children than ever before. My motto is, I went through pain to bring him into this world and I’ll be damned if the “government” tells I can’t swat him when his misbehaves!!

TristansMommy November 29, 2007, 12:38 PM

I think there is a HUGE difference in punishment and abuse. Spanking doesn’t really hurt the child. It hurts his or her ego more. I grew up being spanked and I think I turned into one hell of a good mom after I had my son even though I wasn’t quite ready. Granted he’s not old enough to be spanked yet, but I have no problem with it when he gets older. I have worked in several public jobs where I’ve seen kids yelling at their parents and one little girl even HIT her mother. The mother told her that she wasn’t going to get the toy she picked out but then gave it to her anyway. Something has to give and if that means spanking, by all means, DO IT!

Michelle  November 29, 2007, 1:10 PM

The idea with the law is that the government wants to be SEEN as doing something to help with hot issues like child abuse. These laws are not helpful. They’re band aids that cover stuff up until it oozes back out. Why don’t we really get people off of drugs and offer them help and support to stay clean? Lets castrate sex offenders so they don’t create more of them. Take children away from abusers for good so they don’t create more of them. Pay our social workers more so they care about their jobs more. Stop throwing babies in prison when what they need is LOVE. Fix the system at the bottom not at the top. Then we won’t need no spanking laws.

Jacqueine Elizondo November 29, 2007, 3:17 PM

This is a real simple, short but sweet comment. From the book of Proverbs of the BIBLE says ” Spare the rod- Spoil the child”.

Jacqueine Elizondo November 29, 2007, 3:29 PM

This is a real simple, short but sweet comment. From the book of Proverbs of the BIBLE says ” Spare the rod- Spoil the child”.

Kristy Sanders November 29, 2007, 4:02 PM

This furiates me. When you raise a hand to a child all they learn is that it is ok to hit. By spanking children we are teaching them that violence is acceptable. We should be teaching children right from wrong without violence. I have seen mothers on public transportation spanking their children so hard I thought the babie’s head might pop off. But to them they just think they are disciplining their child. While I do agree the government should not control how people raise their children, I do think spanking is wrong. Esspecially since there isnt anything out there saying how far is too far.

Vanessa November 29, 2007, 5:04 PM

I am a mother of 3.This topic is very touchy.Its like all of these comments are very true!!Especially the last one!!I have thought about this so many times!And I think about when I was a child and remember spanked,I had a fear of my mom!And I think for a child to fear anyone is wrong!Ive come to believe that talking and punishment as far as taking away their toys.And not alowing them to watch t.v. will help them understand that there are consequences to your actions.But there are so many laws now that you must take cautious reactions to your child that will help them grow and also help you grow!!So for me spanking should not be done!!

Phara November 29, 2007, 9:25 PM

The governments is so tied up in TOO MANY insignificant issues!!! Back in my grandma’s age of raising kids, they threw ANYTHING they had in hand, in my day, I got spanked with belts and switches, (and I love my mom, never had ANY issues in school or with the law, no anger issues, and I was NEVER a fighter!), and now a days there are time outs and “swats”! WHAT??? I agree and follow the bible…spare the rod, spoil the child!…Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old, THEY WILL NOT depart from it! He is NOT a lier. He knows what kids need to hopefully become well rounded adults. I am pregnant, and PLEASE believe…she will be spanked if she misbehaves. I think there are times that warrent a talking to, a time out, and a spanking! These abusers have distorted what spanking is for! The government needs to keep focused on health care, the failing economy, and allow GOOD, LOVING parents to train up their child THE RIGHT WAY!

A Mom in Mass November 29, 2007, 11:38 PM

I am a mother of two teens. One who just “grew out” of one heck of a long “phase”. Just last night we were sitting on the bed talking about “kids these days” and I was waxing philosophical about how kids have too much power, too much privilege and not enough fear of authority.

I see kids in my affluent and educated town talking to their parents with trucker mouths. Teens who do whatever they want.

After a little while of talking about this he said, “Mom, you and your generation of parents screwed up. You needed to hit us when we were younger. We needed to get the message about who was in charge.”

Needless to say I was stunned into silence. Here was a teenager advocating that I should have swatted him when he got out of line. He was expressing that not only did he want that kind of discipline, but that so did other kids, and they NEEDED it.

As a culture, as a culture of mothers, we need to have a backlash and take back our parental rights to discipline. Kids KNOW they can claim abuse if a parent, a community member or a teacher so much as looks at them the wrong way, much less actually puts a hand on them.

Likening spanking to wife beating is so off the mark. For one thing, that is one adult hitting another. Those two people are supposed to be, more or less, equals. One is not in charge of disciplining the other…hello? And if you are of the mind that spanking isn’t natural to parenting, take a look at most animal species. Even animals discipline their young. Being annoying to your parent gets you a swat, a bite, or a brush off. Continuing to be annoying is met with harsher swats or bites. It doesn’t turn into abuse, because the offspring gets the message.

There are also other forms of physical discipline that are frowned upon and in some states illegal, like grabbing your child by the arm and dragging them out of a store when they are having a fit.

I don’t think spanking should be used liberally, but kids need to know that there are limits, and they do NOT yet possess the mind or the control to know when enough is ENOUGH. Time outs don’t work for every child. My parents spanked me twice in my entire childhood but I always KNEW that they had every RIGHT to if I got too far out of line.

Let’s face it. Look around you. Kids have gotten downright obnoxious and parents are being led around by the nose. Teachers are fed up and burned out. When are we going to recognize that we’ve screwed up with the whole child-centric society we’ve created for ourselves?

A friend recently told me about a teacher from Africa who came here to the states. He was hired by a high school to teach science. He quit after the first day. He said the kids were just too out of control and he was disgusted at how disrespectful of their elders and their education they were.

Spanking is not an act of violence, nor does it teach that it is ok to “hit” in general. Children who end up thinking it’s ok to hit when they are mad are likely getting hit LIBERALLY. The RIGHT to spank doesn’t mean you use it every time. In fact, most kids get the message pretty quickly and stop pushing the limits all the time.

To wrap it up, I was a Mom who was never going to spank, and I didn’t. Now I and all the other like minded parents I know are pulling their hair out while the entire country plays out a grand scale reproduction of Lord of the Flies. Is it really being loving to our children when we let them become obnoxious and undisciplined?

kristina January 3, 2008, 2:51 PM

Yes, a spanking can stop a behavior,” he says, but so can imposing consequences or problem-solving or negotiation, and they don’t carry much baggage and actually benefit a child’s development. Spanking, for instance, typically works out of fear: “I won’t pull the cat’s tail because I’ll get spanked,” not, “I won’t pull the cat’s tail because it’s wrong to hurt animals.”
“The more a child is spanked, the less well-developed the conscience, because a child is less likely to internalize why the behavior is wrong,” Straus says. Not only that, but corporal punishment also gives children less opportunity and experience with nonviolent problem solving, such as negotiation. -from

The consequences of spanking

By BARBARA F. MELTZ

kristina January 3, 2008, 2:53 PM

Yes, a spanking can stop a behavior,” he says, but so can imposing consequences or problem-solving or negotiation, and they don’t carry much baggage and actually benefit a child’s development. Spanking, for instance, typically works out of fear: “I won’t pull the cat’s tail because I’ll get spanked,” not, “I won’t pull the cat’s tail because it’s wrong to hurt animals.”
“The more a child is spanked, the less well-developed the conscience, because a child is less likely to internalize why the behavior is wrong,” Straus says. Not only that, but corporal punishment also gives children less opportunity and experience with nonviolent problem solving, such as negotiation. -from

The consequences of spanking

By BARBARA F. MELTZ

kyle March 7, 2008, 9:27 AM

my parents have the right when I do wrong to spank me. I never fight them when they do. They have me pull down ny pants and underpants and then I place my bare butt over dad or mom lap and they hand spank my butt. How many hits? Depends on how bad I’ve been. My butt usually turns red after a few slaps and continues to hurt until the spanking over, when done I have one hurting red butt that deserved to be spanked when I was naugty. I love my parents and for them to spank me is showing love…even if I can’t sitdown for an hour or so. They allow me to cool off, rub my spanked butt before I redress to help me cope with the pain to learny my lesson so next time maybe I won’t have to be spanked.

Kyle March 7, 2008, 9:29 AM

I am l2 yrs. old and I love my parents to spank me bare bottom when i misbehave. It hurts for awhile, but my butt deserved to be punishmented.

Aine June 22, 2008, 1:30 AM

In Sweden it’s illegal to “slap or spank” any minor child.

Anyone care to Google the rates of Sweden’s prison population?

I guarentee you, even factoring in the difference in population, it’s still disturbingly lower than America’s.

Apparently, not hitting, slapping, spanking, or “whupping” you child does not ensure their future criminal careers!

Put the EFFORT into parenting: Please try to find some other way to communicate your expectations, other than VIOLENCE. I know that’s EASIEST: But try to forget we’re Americans for a moment please and attempt to SIGHT the road less-traveled.

sofia July 1, 2008, 11:17 AM

i think spanking is wrong because although it teaches them that you mean business, it also means that your kids are afraid of you and do you really think that that is a great realationship to have with your kids? For some kids spanking will help them realize that you mean business but for some kids it mean that they will rebel more and your house will become more of a battlefeild than a place for you to raise your kids! SO PLEASE TALK TO YOUR KIDS THAN HIT THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shannon November 13, 2008, 7:20 AM

I think that a spanking should be done right and not hurt to much but enough to make the bottom red and stink for a while. I remember one time when I was late for supper I thought my mum or dad would not notice me sneak in to the house and get my dinner out of the fridge but they heard me and my dad told me to go to my room and wait there. I said to him that I was sorry that I was late and he said to late for that now get upstairs!!! I marched up to my room and a few minutes went by and my dad came in and said to me,”what time are you supost to come home for dinner”? I said in a low voice 6:00pm and he said right but were you and I said no. He said for that I must be punished so he told me to pull my pants and panties down and I said I promice taht I will not be late just ground me but he then YELLED TAKE YOUR PANT AND PANTIES DOWN NOW so I did and he but me across is knee and spanked me 25 time with a belt.

Anonymous February 23, 2009, 8:55 PM

The Bible doesn’t say that, Jesus gave an example of gentleness towards children, and there is lots of research showing that spanking does more harm than good. If you are brave enough to question the assumptions you grew up with, then try googling things like “harmful effects of spanking”, “stop hitting” etc. You will find that there is more scientific research and biblical proof against spanking than for it.

D.J. April 24, 2009, 5:29 PM

Contrary to the first line of this article, Massachusetts rejected this pernicious piece of family-wrecking nonsense.

Spanking is a fundamental right of parents. It is not something the legislature has any business infringing.

ernest December 27, 2009, 9:33 AM

The Bible leaves no doubt that spanking is a vital necessity. A son or daughter left to themselves become terrorists, like the Nigerian terrorist who at 22 years of age trie to blow up a plane! Taxpayers would not be paying for his 20 years of detention, had he been spanked by his father at every indication of defiance to authority!

K. knight February 19, 2010, 9:27 PM

Like everything our government does,it doesn’t work. Our government is tring to be the parents, and the government. Stay out of the home.It can’t govern so it tries to be the parents. It can’t do that either. It says you can’t spank a child,so in twenty years they can spend twenty thousand dollars to keep that now adult in prision.


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