Spanking, the Mighty Wooden Spoon

Okay before you run off and join the lynch mob that is inevitably forming against me, I ask that you at least read my entire blog and understand I am not telling you what to do. This is just my opinion. There will be both sides, heck many sides on this topic. So pour some coffee and a grain of salt.

Now with that disclaimer out of the way let’s get on to a very touchy subject, spanking. Should we? Do you? Were you?

I’ll be honest, I do, or rather I did. I was too. Nothing serious. No paddles, no belts, just a swat or two with a bare hand.

As a child growing up I was on the receiving end of a few spankings. If I am being honest I could count them on one hand. Each and every one of them is embedded in my mind with a memory of why I got them. I can look back and say that the spankings were earned. I would be lying if I said other wise and I’d be lying if I said that there was trauma attached to any of those memories. They were tools used to teach me a lesson. I learned my lessons. To this date I have yet to color an entire wall with permanent marker again, or run with scissors in an attempt to stab my older sister. Lessons learned.

When it comes to spanking there are professional views on the topic and there are personal views on it. I have read both sides defending why spanking is detrimental and why spanking, if used appropriately, can be a useful tool. Personal sides are much more diverse, ranging from “Violence doesn’t solve”, to “Kids need a butt whooping every now and then”. Who is right? Is there a right?

Obviously I am not speaking about the extreme cases where children are beaten and clear victims of abuse. We are only talking about paddling on the behind. So please don’t go there. If that were the case I would be writing an entirely different blog. And shame on me for feeling that I have to clarify that. The point of this article is to discuss in a courteous manner on a topic that can bring some heat.

Spanking isn’t a four letter word. Why do we treat it like a ritualistic ceremony that must be kept private and never spoken of amongst others?

Seriously! I feel as if one must draw a secret symbol in the dirt on the ground in order for me to feel safe to udder the word “Spanking” in public. Why? Is it a sin? If you are a bible reader you will be familiar with the verse Proverbs 13:24 that says something about sparing a rod and spoiling a child. Isn’t that like a golden ticket to swat our kid’s behinds? Not a bible reader? What about science where swatting and batting are used by mother animals to teach their young something all the time? Doesn’t that mean it is just our nature? Wouldn’t that be called an instinct?

Now hear me out. I am in no way telling anybody that it is okay to break out your wooden paddle from your husband’s frat boy glory days and go to town on a kid who refuses to eat their vegetables. I just want you to hear another mother who has lived through spankings and who has spanked and know that no costly or lengthy therapy was needed. I am a believer that each and every child along with each and every circumstance is a unique case and should be handled that way. Do I think a couple of the spankings I gave my kids might have been done in a moment of passion and frustration? You better believe I do but hind sight is always 20/20 and from each experience I was able to learn from what occurred and become a better parent.

I don’t know if there is a set plan you can follow in disciplining your kid. I would love to tell you there is if that is truly what you believe. I know I have my rules and my guidelines for my children and I am pretty sure they will not be the same as any other family. With that we also have our ways to punish. Most of the time consequences are discussed among the parents and then handed down to the offender along with an explanation. The punishment must always fit the crime. However, as I type these words I must admit we rarely have to do any harsh punishment in our house. Most of the time offenses are met with a loss of privilege and even that is uncommon. The threat of what will happen is usually enough, but on those rare occasions we make sure to hit them where it hurts and in our home loss of electronics seem to make a bigger impact than a swat to their rear ends. My son says he’d take a spanking over the internet being turned off any day.

The fact is as parents we have to teach our children right from wrong and we will be responsible for actually disciplining them in some form. I cannot say whether you should spank or not, just as you cannot tell another mom how she should raise her kids. I know that no matter what your belief on this subject is, you have chosen it because you want what is best for your child. You and I may not see eye to eye on this but I guarantee we both want our kids to do right and to follow our rules. We just want to be the best mom that we can and teach the best way that we know how.

So if you are going to take anything away from this post please don’t let it be that I am a child abuser just continuing a sick cycle. Look at it as an article about a mom who was overcome by her animal instinct and fell back on her deeply rooted religious beliefs to teach her young a point. Or you can take it for what it really was meant to be, an article sharing a small portion of my personal experiences and laying ground for a mature discussion on a hot button topic.

Besides lynch mobs are so last year.


  1. There is no need for spanking when rules are applied in a consistent manner. I have raised three kids, one studying aerospace engineer and working, another one on scholarship in an Honors Program and a GT student still at home. No spanking was needed, not even yelling. Just consistent parenting.

    • I agree with Anonymous. Some children (not to brag, but I feel that I qualify for this description) never get any discipline in the form of CP (corporal punishment) and turn out fine. Although I got a few spankings they were really just 1-2 swats (I know that sound like not even a spanking) and the main factor was the embarrassment. I’ve also known more head strong children who I feel needed CP occasionally. I think that although there are rare cases of definitie abuse; CP, even occasionally, will help tremendously.

  2. I think that hitting a child, is hitting a child. I DON’T remember what I got spanked for, but I remember hiding behind the bed when my mom came back to tell me dinner was ready. I didn’t learn not to do the things I was being spanked for, I learned not to go to my mother if something went wrong. I learned to edge her out of my life from a young age because I was scared of her. Was I ritualistically abused? No. But what separates us from these animals you refer to is the ability to communicate with nuance. We don’t hit because we have no other option, we hit because we’re mad, and it’s easy, and one day people will stop trying to justify it.

    • If you can’t even remember what you got spanked for, it’s DOUBLE lame to say that it was abusive. I think that as an adult you may look back on these spankings and slightly mix your adult emotions with the ones you actually had. At the time, you probably learned not to steal [a cookie], not to tease/bully [call your sister names], and many other important lessons. I think you traumatized the scene in your head after you heard some other idiot talking about it until you convinced yourself that it was spanking that caused this bad reaction. Spanking out of anger is ABUSIVE. It’s totally stupid to claim that all people spank this way. Most parents spank out of a desire to prevent their children from committing theft one day and going to jail for it as an adult. You message is totally untrue and unjust.

  3. In your first paragraph you state that you see the difference between professional views and personal opinions. You also mention the word ‘science’ in defense of spanking. Please allow me to make a few things very explicit because misleading words here can be of fundamental consequences.

    To begin with, there is not a single, not one ‘professional’ in the world who advocates the infliction of physical pain as effective or a legitimate form of punishment. There is no debate there. Smacking (the swatting with a naked hand like you say) is illegal at 29 countries, countries with the lowest percentages of crime and violence. If you hit your child social services will immediately remove them from your care, you will get fined and often go to prison. Scandinavia, Germany, France, among the few countries in which parents think it absolutely inconceivable to inflict physical pain ‘to teach a lesson’.

    You mention ‘science’ and then the animal kingdom. This is a very false liaison. To begin with,science, all science, is unanimous contra corporal punishment. From WHO who warns parents not to touch their children, to independent researchers, especially from neurobiology and neuroscience, this is the one and only issue in which scholars stand in unity. What has smacking been linked to? Violence, autoimmune diseases, alexthimia, anxiety disorders (as a mental health first aider and parent educator can tell you that there is a serious link between mental health and corporal punishment-any type of it), smaller grey mass, and in some cases, cancer? Why? Because the brain of a child who is used to being hit releases elevated amounts of cortisol, in other words, they live in fear of being hurt by their protector. As for the animal example? Here is a scientific fact: animals do not have a neo-cortex. Animals do not have pre-frontal lobes (a pre-frontal lobe develops the first four years of life; a child that gets hit as punishment at that age has their pre-frontal lobe impaired). Animals communicate with bites and scratches because they cannot reason. If a toddler cannot reason, there is no point in hitting them anyway because they will not know why the received the hurt. A child can reason. If you repeatedly tell your child that they shouldn’t do this or that and they keep disobeying, the problem lies within the communication set by you. A child that does not co-operate means to pass a massage. You need to listen instead of avenge.

    You say we need to discipline our kids. Children are now amorphous masses to be moulded by strictness or pain. You teach nothing by hitting. It’s punishment, it’s vengenace. It’s not education or guidance. A child that tries to hurt their children feels threatened (ancient survival instinct). Instead of spanking and verifying their worst fears, find a way to reassure them. It works. The child understand they are loved unconditionally and the root of the behaviour – not the behaviour itself- has been targetted. Pen marks on the carpet? Really? You would hurt a toddler that wrote on your carpet? Where were you then? Was it an older child? Then surely they did it to get to you. Instead of trying to show who’s the boss, why don’t you try and reestablish all the lost communication?

    Alice Miller, Gestalt giant, has devoted her life in this field. She spoke about parents who were disrespected so badly as children, that their priority now is to assume authority rather than to be patient, loving, and guiding. By hitting your child you don’t discipline them. You violate their trust. And people who say ‘we turned out fine’- well, did not. Society is not at its best, is it. Older practices of parenting have failed us miserably.

    You say everybody has their right to discipline their children as they think appropriate. I tell you that there are countries civilised enough in this world that think corporal punishment unthinkable. Personally, I cannot even imagine raising my hand to cause pain. My husband would never hit me to ‘educate’ me. Am I perfect, because I am an adult? No. What’s my excuse? They are tiny. They only learn. You can find a million other ways to teach them right from wrong, primarly by setting an example yourself. The example you give them now, that the strongest wins, is wrong.

    And yes, it is abuse. Hence, illegal.


    • All right, so spanking is illegal in many countries now. Why is the world just as wicked, if not worse, than it was before. All sorts of unthinkable things are happening all around us. If caring parents would discipline their children with spankings, there might not be such abuse. Talk about setting an example–a lot of non-spanked parents are alcoholics or take drugs. They don’t even care enough to discipline their kids, who grow up to follow their example and do evil stuff as well! Although spanking (very rarely) can be abusive, it could really benefit quite a few people I know!

    • This is in response to what was stated above about ALL experts being against spanking: Not ALL experts are always against spanking if done appropriately. There are even a few who say many studies against it are flawed. Just saying…..

  4. I spank, not afraid to admit that. Spankings every day? No usually. Do I do so out of frustration? Sometimes. But my son knows that when that happens he messed up big time. Whether it was hitting for the millionth time or playing with scissors, he knows that when he gets a spanking that he is in big trouble. But he also knows that I. LOVE. HIM. I tell him everyday a billion times and give countless hugs and kisses. He tells me when he’s sad and picks flowers for me. He trusts me to catch him when he jumps off the couch. He knows that he is loved and a spanking is not going to take that from him. So I’m sorry to the professionals that have spent countless hours researching, but you’re not swaying me on how I will discipline my child. My husband and I both grew up with spankings and we are productive members of society, with no records, and have wonderful friends and families. This is what is right for our family and we stick by it.

  5. I prefer more gentle punishment’s like timeouts and taking things away. I’m not opposed to a swat or 2. My wife is much more pro spanking than I am. We have a 3 year old son. I have volunteered in his preschool class and there is an absolute brat. He has melt down tantrums just about every time I’m there. I have had thoughts that this kid could use the rod of correction.

  6. Can you honestly imagine Jesus hitting a child? “Let the children come to me,” “Love is the greatest commandment” and countless acts of healing are pretty powerful examples for not hitting children as a form of discipline. I’ll pray for the anger I hear in this blog post and hope you’ll focus on Jesus more as you continue to read the Bible. And I assure all new parents that lots of consistent love and compassion with firm nonviolent and non-physical disciplinary tactics make for loving, joyful, kind-hearted, hard-working, and productive kids, teens, and adults.

    • Read Proverbs 3:12. Then read Revelation 14:11. God wants us to raise our children to know His Word and keep it. If you don’t raise your child to follow God and because of it he goes astray it would be better that a millstone was thrown around your neck and you were thrown into the sea (Matthew 18:6).

      • I have thought of this verse from the Bible often. When my parents hit me, I always asked god why they would hurt me if they loved me. Slaps across the face for talking back, spankings for typical childhood silliness, all of it convinced me that there was no god. Why would god let his children be hurt the way my parents hurt me. So my parents hitting me in a manner pretty standard in the early 80s drove me away from god. Should my parents not tie a millstone around their neck and cast themselves into the sea rather than have turned me away from god? I am now raising a child with humanist beliefs and she will unlikely ever be indoctrinated into the cult of religion.

    • Jesus never had a child of his own to know what it’s like. He would have been like the gay uncle that a spanked child goes to afterward for comfort.

  7. What said was awesome. Each spanking I received as a child had a purpose whether it was for throwing a fit, messing my pants, because I was too embarrassed to ask someone to help on the toilet, then when when finished take me off and wipe my butt. For these as well as a foul mouth an egg turner or wooden spoon would be used on my bare ass. Each well earned.

    • What a horrible childhood you had, Bill Zalot, to think that embarrassment is worth being punished for. How about teaching a child lovingly that there is nothing to be embarrassed about? Why would a child be punished for an accident? Did you think when you finished going potty you might have been AFRAID to ask for help? Why did you have a foul mouth or throw fits? Probably because the adults around you did. Your adults were hypocrites, short-tempered, irrational and not loving. And you think that you deserved abuse. That’s what abused children and spouses do. And the minute you grew up, you probably started abusing others because they deserve abuse. You think you’re fine. You’re not.

  8. As a child that was spanked for bad behavior I was terrified. All the things spoked about the future affects of that kind of abuse has been established in me. It has taken YEARS and YEARS of work to adjust inner self to find peace within me. Drug abuse, alcoholic, ADD, mental illness, poor grades, violence toward myselff and others to get what i want, stealing, horrible self esteem, I have Hashimotos-auto immune disease. It so easy for someone to just say it doesnt affect children and you havent seen that future child yet. I hope you don’t and I feel so mad at all the excuses for hitting a child. It means you don’t have the skills to parent your child. Of course the child will want your love and keep going to you to please you because they dont want to be rejected. Having some love is better than no love. If you don’t see it now it will manifest in other ways. I struggle today with parenting. Fortunately I dont have the urge to hit my child but I use bullying tactics which can still be awful. I hate myself when I do it. I mean I have struggled for years… to find the soft side when they do something that doesnt fit my agenda. LIke they are doing something wrong to me.( which he isnt) When he wants love after doing something wrong I feel so shut off. It’s not till afterward – the bullying tactic that I will feel love. I am not the birth mother and she teaches my how to parent without the use of harsh words… WHICH I am so grateful for her patience. Thats what I needed as a child not the wooden spoon. If your mad… go hit a wall, a pillow not a child. Denial is so blind. I’ve been sober 30 years now and happy found people who loved without hitting me to show me this is wrong because I’d probably be a psychopath.

  9. Yes sometimes I do spank, I say it again sometimes. Sometimes means once or twice a year. Why, I love my two children so very much a boy 9yo and daughter 11yo. I don’t allow enybody to touch my two children. I will protect them both with my life if nescessary. They are lovely children. Only when they do something dangerious and that happens only one or two times a year then I spank. Before I do that I have a very long talk with the one who get punished, I explain what was wrong and talk about whats going to happens. Of course the child start crying. I let the child crying and hold her or him close to me and hug her or him. When the crying is almost done we both go to the parents bedroom. We have a short talk and ask if she or he is ready for what going to happens. Only if the child say yes, then I continue, Im going to sit and take pants and underwear down and carefully I take to child over my lap. Both don’t ever get more then 10 times. Like I said only once or twice a year. I really hate to spank my children and don’t like people who spank their children for every little thing. Let children play and yes they are naughty sometimes times but it are children and we all most love them.

  10. I was spanked growing up and it did me no harm at all. I knew I messed up. Actually, when my parents thought I was too old to spank, it was the attitued from them for days that may have done anything bad to me. At least with a spanking I was told what I did, out came mom’s wooden spoon, it was done, it was over, I knew I messed up we moved on with our lives and I didn’t do what I did again. After a while a simple “do you want the paddle?” was all I needed to hear to turn me around.


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