Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The ONLY right way to spank? My way!

Inspired by Heather over at My Life, I have decided to re post a pro-spanking comment i received on my Childhood Memories post. I hear this type of thing a lot. People express outrage at how "abused" i was, and then launch into enumerating what they think is the "right way" to spank. News Flash people: my parents thought they were doing it right too. Sure, maybe they got a little out of hand sometimes, but it wasn't the exception that was the problem, it was the rule. Even if my parents had never once hit me, just making bend over their knee would have been too much.
Here is the anonymous comment and my response:

"Anonymous said...
I am so sorry that you guys have had to live through the horrific beatings. Those parents were abusive!!!
I'm not against spanking, but I'm against beating. My parents spanked us, but it was, at the most, 5 swats. It lasted about 5-10 seconds and then it was over.
I cannot comprehend spanking someone for any longer than 5-10 seconds...that's abuse and if I EVER saw a parent do that, I would turn them in!"
"Enigma said...
Anonymous, who decides what type of spanking is abusive? Is it you? Is it me? Is a spanking okay as long as it only lasts 10 seconds? Or is it 20? Should a parent use their hand? or an impartial object like a spoon? Or a switch? Maybe a pvc pipe? Is 5 swats okay but 6 swats is abusive? should you force your child to bend over your knee? or do you just swat at them when they run past? My parents are wonderful loving people who tried to do everything right. They said the same things you're saying now. That they're apposed to beating, im sure they would have turned somebody in for beating children in way they thought was inappropriate. In my opinion there is NO right way to spank. Even the mildest of spankings can lead to lasting emotional, mental and sexual repercussions. You may be one of the lucky ones who is not permanently damaged, but another kid who was just "swatted" for 5-10 seconds might end up with self esteem issues, warped sexuality, self destructive tendencies, or low self worth. Any kind of hitting is dangerous to a child and your relationship with that child. Are you really willing to risk that based solely on what YOU think is acceptable?"

Do you think there's a "right way" to spank? If so, how do you know? Can you be SURE? If not, what would YOU say to someone who thinks they know the "right way" to spank?


  1. My parents were like yours - they said there was a right way to spank and a wrong way and they were doing it the right way. Like this commenter says, it never lasted more than five or ten seconds. Except that spanking didn't do for me what my parents thought it would. It taught me that might makes right and obedience trumps understanding. I can remember the rage and shame I felt like it was yesterday. For more, see http://lovejoyfeminism.blogspot.com/2011/07/fruit-of-spanking-rage-and-shame.html.

    I think it is helpful to rephrase this issue: I don't believe in hitting children. See, that's all spanking is - hitting. I don't think it's okay for adults to hit anyone, not each other, not children, not dogs. When rephrased this way the issue becomes obvious.

  2. I love Libby Anne's take - it is never OK to hit another human being (big or small) or animal or anything.

  3. Thank you so much for this! Reposting. :)

  4. You made a very good point with all the questions - who does decide what way is the "right way" to spank. I spanked my first 7 kids because I was taught by my church that it was "God's way" but by child 8 my senses finally kicked in and what I notice is that any bit of "physicalness" if I am scolding my child...if I grab her arm or do anything physical to her it "hurts her" heart. She gets crushed if I do anything remotely physical. That is the truth of what is the right way to spank - not at all is the right way!

  5. When I was growing up I was occasionally spanked - one swat per offense - not up to 5 times. You know what? The idea of a child being hit 5 times sounds like a beating to me. We define what we think is ok by what we've experienced and/or seen a lot of - not necessarily by an objective standard.
    One day, I read (on a forum) about the reaction of a gently disciplined child to seeing his first spanking: "That woman hit her boy! You're supposed to *love* your boy, not hit him!" - as distraught as I am at the thought of a multiple-swat beating with a belt or switch... and I realised that *any* violence against a child - physical or verbal - one slap on the hand, a word yelled in anger, an insult - it's *all* abuse.
    I'm still learning not to do those things, but my goal is to reflect the Father's unconditional love to my kids, instead of hurting their bodies and hearts.

  6. 10 seconds sounds like a lot to me. If you absolutely must spank the child (which I believe is not really necessary 9 times out of ten) one swat per offense is sufficient.

    Mostly I am undecided on the issue. I don't personally like the idea of spanking, but at the same time I don't want to go so far as to say that ALL spanking is abuse.

    I do, however, see where you're coming from. Who decides the "right" way to do it?

    I think the focus of discipline should be more on what is going to help the child learn, and should relate as closely as possible to the offense.

  7. You know, this reminds me of a conversation I have many years ago. The other person argued that there's no difference between a man hitting a woman and a woman hitting a man. I pointed out that that wrongly assumes all hits are created equal. The average man could probably inflict a wound causing permanent brain damage, while the average woman would be capable of less. The effects have to be compared.

    I think that applies to spankings as well. Some kids' bodies are more delicate than others', and each has a different pain threshold. Spankings can lead to different physical, emotional, and psychological outcomes. Saying that there's only one right way for any parent to punish a kids is like saying there's only one right way for any person to make love to someone else.