Spanking & Child Abuse Are Not the Same Thing

That's Criminal 47

A couple in South Carolina has been arrested for abuse of a 7-year-old boy, who was beat repeatedly with a belt and shoes. The victim told police that he was “spanked” on numerous days, and forced to keep soap in his mouth. He had multiple bruises on his shins and rear end. 

The alleged abusers, Amber Tyler, 27, and Coolidge Mike McDaniel, 29, were charged with child cruelty and released Sunday on a $1,000 bond. 

The police report said that the little boy was afraid to go home because he might get “spanked” again for telling.

Let’s be very clear about something before we go any further: This kind of abuse is not, I repeat, NOT spanking. I know that some people would argue that all spanking is abuse, but I can’t think of any sane, responsible adult that would classify blows that leave bruises as spanks.

Parents that choose to spank their children should have rules regarding the use of it as a punishment. First of all, it should be used for discipline only. The child should know why they are being spanked, and if they’re anything like my kids, they’ll know exactly why before even being reminded. 

Spankings should always be followed by love and forgiveness. Isn’t that the point of punishment? To correct bad behavior so we can get back to having fun? My kids aren’t often spanked anymore (they’re growing out of that stage), but they’ve always been back to happy play within minutes. They usually recover from the trauma of it all much more quickly than I do.

The parameters should be decided on with the parenting partner, and made known to the children, before such discipline is used. In our house, the kids get between one and three swats on the rear (depending on the offense), and they get to choose between dad with an open hand or mom with a kitchen spoon. 

Spankings should never, ever, ever leave bruises. Ever. A spanking that leaves a bruise is not a spank. Spanks should be swift and sting, but a quick swat is not the same as a punch, kick, or even slap. That’s abuse, not discipline. 

Shame on anyone that justifies child abuse by labeling it “spanking.”

Do you spank your children? Do you cringe when you hear of violent abuse mislabeled as spanking?

Image via

confessions, discipline, in the news, tantrums, behavior, bullies, family, kid health, moms behind bars, safety


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

Cel7777 Cel7777

Some would say that "spanking" your kid with a kitchen spoon is bordering on abuse. Da fuq?

nbgg8687 nbgg8687

I think if spanking is going to be a form of  punishment, it should always be done when the parent or spanker isn't angry. It should be done in a manner of control. I was rarely EVER spanked, really none of use were. I do spank, but for the most part I use time outs. My son works wonders when he has time outs, my daughter can care less. But a swat on her hiney and its over. Its all in the way that the spanking is approached. Mainly its just important to have consistency. But to lash out on a child... with words or physically is wrong. And I'm sickened it. 

lulou lulou

Way to set you your daughters for tolerating domestic abuse "spankings should always be followed by love and forgiveness"

kelti... kelticmom

So is it ok if a husband corrects his wife with a "quick stinging slap that doesn't leave a bruise, and follows it up with love"? Physically striking anyone, be it a manner of correction or not, will get you an assault charge. Yet we can strike our children and it's ok? I would not classify a spanking as abuse on level with beating a child, yet I find it disturbing that so many are ok with intentionally inflicting physical pain to a small, helpless child as acceptable. Especially when many of those same people would fly off the handle if they saw someone hit a dog with a wooden spoon.

dreamsky dreamsky

So the other day I was reading this article about abuse of the elderly and how disgusting this behavior is. It talked about them getting hit and yelled at. Some people said this behavior was appalling because when your old your like a child helpless and defenseless. So if it's okay to spank a child so as long as you help them understand, can you do the same with the elderly?

gabe05 gabe05

I use spankings solely for my children when they are between the ages of three and five and only for deliberate disobedience. For example, I told my three year old to stay out of the pantry until lunch time.  I came back to find him sticking his hand in the peanut butter jar.  After cleaning him up, I reminded him what I had said and he confirmed that he remembered.  He got three swats (because he is three years old) and a three minute time out.  He came out afterwards to apologize and we moved on.  By the time my kids are five, deliberate disobedience does not occur.

Cel7777 Cel7777

Kelticmom, I agree 100%. Very well said.

nonmember avatar Stephanie

Has anyone stopped to think that perhaps the lack of concern for doing right & not doing wrong in our society today, may be because parents are not disciplining their children? Not teaching them what is correct behaviour and what is not acceptable. Each child will respond differently to different means of discipline. If a time-out works for your child, or sound reasoning works, then no need to spank. Spanking while angry is not acceptable either as the force used is highly likely to be excessive. Children grow out of the spanking age and we educate them then that it is unacceptable for anyone to hit them - this teaches them not to accept or deliver domestic abuse. This is because when the child is older, they can understand sound reasoning and thus, spanking is no longer valid, nor a deterrent. Parenting is not an easy responsibility, but it is necessary to correct a child's behaviour or they are inclined to grow up without a sense of consequence for their actions. Child abuse & the cruelty as described in the article above is NEVER acceptable.

Valerie Metzger

Husbands and wives are equals, parents and children are not. I think that is a silly comparison. As is claim that it is setting kids up to be ok with domestic abuse. When I was a kid my mom only spanked me when it was something REALLY serious (ie:running into the street), and it was one quick, painless swat on my behind to shock me and get her point across effectively. It was ALWAYS followed up with love and reassurance. As in "I love you so much, that is very dangerous and I need you to understand that, that is why I spanked you". Never did it again. And for the record, I dont believe in spanking my kids, I just don't agree with that line of reasoning.

Kristin Armshaw Parde

I understand spanking to a degree and think my three year old might respond to it better than time outs which mean next to nothing. But how on earth do you explain that it is okay for parents to hit but it is not ever okay for children to hit? I have a son and learning to not hit is part of life. He would call us out now on the hypocrisy and would have since around age 2. And the difference between hitting and spanking is just a matter of terminology.

1-10 of 47 comments 12345 Last