Here's the Best Argument Against Spanking We've Heard Yet

mayim bialik argument against spanking

Spanking is always a hot topic in the parenting world. While the science behind the subject indicates hitting kids has virtually no positive effects, parents are still drawn to either side of the aisle based on their own personal reasons and experiences. But a recent video made by actress Mayim Bialik on the topic of spanking may finally put an end to the debate for good.


Mayim Bialik is best known for her roles as Blossom in the hit '90s television show and in the more recent Big Bang Theory. In addition to these accomplishments she also has Ph.D. in neuroscience and is a mother to two sons.

With her lifestyle brand GrokNation, Bialik produces YouTube vlogs with topics that range from divorce to open relationships to being a geek. In one of her most recent videos, she covers the polarizing topic of spanking kids -- and in a little under six minutes she completely shuts down the argument that the only way to raise respectful, well-behaved children is with corporal punishment. 

More from CafeMom: 12 Scientific Facts About Spanking Your Kids

Bialik starts the video by tackling one of the most popular justifications for spanking. "I know that the Bible says 'he who spares the rod [spoils] the child' ... But have you never heard of hyperbole or historical context?" Bialik says. "In biblical times it was also totally a thing to throw stones at a disobedient son. So let's not use the Bible as our parenting guide for the 21st century."

The video continues in the same vein, with Bialik discussing recently released scientific research that argues that spanking has negative effects on children both immediately and over time.

She then delves into the psychological reasons why spanking seems to have successful results. Relying on the concept of the pleasure principal, Bialik discusses the intrinsic nature we have to seek out pleasure and avoid pain. The theory goes that when children are spanked for bad and/or annoying behavior, instead of gaining a full understanding of why their actions are "bad" they are shown -- through spanking -- that performing those particular actions will lead to their being hurt. This doesn't lead to good decision-making in the long run, only fear.

In her video, Bialik expresses understanding for why many parents choose to spank -- after all, we can all relate. The stress that comes with dealing with misbehaving children on top of other things can lead to our grasping for any kind of course correction that seems to work. But Bialik also urges parents to think about the true reasoning behind why they choose to spank their kids in particular instances -- reasons that possibly stem from our own anger and frustration.

"Children need structure and boundaries in order to become productive members of society," Bialik stresses. "And my job is to help make that happen."

More from CafeMom: Hitting Your Kids is the Same as Breastfeeding Them -- According to This Parenting Expert 

She also argues that setting boundaries and being consistent in the enforcement in them is a crucial part of discipline: taking away toys when children are using them to misbehave, refusing to give into whiny pleas, and staying strong in your ability to do what's best and right for your children is always important. But she still won't advocate for spanking. 

Look, we all know how much easier it seems to meet bad behavior with a little whack on the bottom. Unfortunately, what's easier for us as parents doesn't always line up with what's right for our kids. Whether you agree with Bialik or not, it's worth it to consider that spanking may just so happen to be one of those things that needs to change.

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